We often talk about Time-Management, but what about Thought-Management?
The art of bringing proper attention to the way we manage our thoughts, particularly in preparation for current, and coming uncertainties.
There is a great saying, “Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.” While reactions are usually perceived as physical actions, a reaction is also how one thinks, a.k.a. the ‘Internal Conversations’ which are essential for our well-being.
Did you know our thoughts also affect the way our senses work? Food can taste much better when our minds are clear; everything is connected.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could really get a hold of our thoughts?
Good news – It is possible!
But in order to achieve that, we need to combine techniques, tailor them to our personal preferences & evolve them over time.
So how can we manage our thoughts properly to help our minds thrive?
The first step is realizing that you do have control over your own thoughts.
1. Realizing thoughts are manageable - it is up to us
You can choose to focus on counting your blessings, or to focus on things which upset you… as long as you’re realizing that it is a personal decision.
As the pilot of your mind, you can lead the way to the desired destination. Do not let negative thoughts hijack your plane - decide that your happiness and your clarity of mind are not subject to politics, news, or any other concerns. Do not subject your happiness to different situations; do not wait for other people to do this or that. Instead - decide to initiate your own happiness.
Avoidance of concentrating on concerns isn’t a matter of not caring, it is a matter of doing what is within our control. Aspiring to maintain an optimistic mind, praying for the good & sending good energy to the world - is a more helpful attitude.
As we have been spending more time away from relatives, friends, and colleagues, with fewer gatherings and celebrations (while the horizon has yet to clear) - There is this deep need for the realization that freedom & joy can be generated INSIDE our minds.
Now that we’re all aligned that WE have the power of choosing the content in our minds – we can take it to the next step.
2. Perfectionism is out - Happiness is in
At a young age, my mom taught me that “There is no perfection.”
As a very aware kid, that took away a lot of the pressure in my mind :) I would still always do my very best, but my internal conversation was friendlier.
Instead of striving for perfection, embrace a healthier approach of focusing on feeling good; and realize that happiness is a collection of joyful moments, simple yet significant.
Ask yourself what makes you happy - what is inside your treasure chest of happiness? List out the activities that bring you joy, and apply them often in your routine, allowing yourself to enjoy life often – not only on holidays or vacations.
Which of the following items do you find joyful?
- Quality time playing games with your family
- Meditating in nature
- Taking your time playing with your pet
- Dancing to your favorite music
- Watching inspiring animated movies (an excellent cleanse!)
- Chilling to relaxing music while drinking refreshing coconut water
- Spending time on the beach staring at the movement of the waves
- Sipping your favorite tea while closing your eyes to enhance the flavor
- Working out or practicing Yoga
- Making a refreshing smoothie for you & your loved ones.
Make adjustments to the above 10 ideas and create your personal ‘Feel Good’ list!
Will you choose to wait around for blissful moments, or to initiate them?
Enrich your daily rituals; recharge yourself by INITIATING your ‘Moments of Bliss’, as they can make you feel joy more often. And remember to be fully aware while experiencing these moments.
*Notice there is a significant difference between guilty-pleasures and moments of true bliss.
Admittedly, some of our daily rituals involve screen time, and even more so since social distancing has become a routine. Social media doesn’t truly replace the human need of socializing, but we do happen to spend more time on these digital platforms. We need to be careful with that, as it often wastes our time, and worse than that, it might lead to negative thoughts and feelings. We shall keep aspiring to reduce the time spent on social media, and simultaneously aspire to increase the quality of it’s content.
Check who you have been spending time following - Does the content make you feel good when viewing their posts or stories? Do they inspire you? If so, great! Keep following them. But, if not, you may want to unfollow, and instead choose content better suited for you.
Focus on 'feel good' content. For example, a new podcast I enjoy listening to on Spotify is: ‘The Flexible Neurotic’ by Dr. Sarah Milken, which is easy to listen to, down to earth content, great questions by the host and wonderful guests. Doesn’t that make sense to follow?
3. Proactive Writing – The Opposite of Denial
Aspiring to fill our minds with good thoughts is not about sweeping the bad thoughts under the rug… So what can we do about those thoughts which are bothering us?
Are you organizing your time with a daily/weekly/monthly planner? If so - Excellent! Do you also have a notebook to organize your thoughts in? If you do, good for you, this is an excellent habit to have! If you don’t - what is your technique? Is it working? Do you see results?
There is great power in having ‘go-to’ notebooks. If you haven’t yet started writing – you are missing out. It is not too late, and it pays off. Your brain will thank you!
There is a stronger meaning to writing than just recording notes. When done right, one can go through a significant and even revolutionary process during or as a result of the act of writing. Shedding light and bringing certain realizations above the surface.
In practical terms, writing is very helpful to organizing your thoughts on 3 different levels:
The 1st list: is a fundamental list of getting things done. When there are a lot of open tasks, it might feel like a cloud hovering over your head. By writing the points down to achieve clarity, we create room for the brain to move forward and process new information, instead of just holding on to repeating thoughts. Addressing points in writing truly helps to open the mind to solutions, and allows the mind to move forward.
The 2nd list: is about coping with and addressing issues. When you identify a 'loop'; or certain uncomfortable thought or thoughts that keep repeating themselves - break that loop by writing it down in a designated notebook, in order to address the issue (Paper works like magic, while notes on modern devices would likely lead to distractions).
Think about this this way - when the mind is overwhelmed it is similar to storing all the thoughts behind our eyes. While the simple act of writing it down; brings all the points in front of the eyes - in both a metaphorical and literal way. And you can then deal with the items one by one.
The 3rd list: thanks to Rhonda Byrne, The Law of Attraction is no longer a Secret ;) Imagination is indeed a powerful tool, and you can make it work for you, and not against you. Have a vision for your future-self, create your vision board with both pictures & text, connect to your dreams, and remember it is a process, which means it takes time. Be patient; yet make progress each and every day toward your fulfillment.
Embrace writing habits, use bullet points and write freely: thoughts, feelings, options, wishes - write while connecting to both your common sense & your intuition.
Although writing things down sounds easy, you would be surprised how many people avoid it. Showing up to the notebook is actually braver than it seems.
Would you choose to Clutter the Mind, or strive for Clarity?
Cluttering the mind is similar to littering a space. Instead of piling up – choose to treat the mind with love & respect, in order to maximize your potential.
4. The Trick of Choice – at Any Given Moment
Did you know that at any given moment you can only have a single thought in your mind?
We can bounce between thoughts at high speeds (perhaps not far off the speed of light), but it is a single thought at a time. Therefore, we can replace a fear-based thought with a gratitude-based thought - Directing the mind to focus on optimistic thoughts, choosing faith over worry, appreciation over negativity.
Direct your thoughts with awareness.
Do not think too much about yesterday, or about tomorrow - focus on today, because the benefit of ‘being in the moment’ is high, and it CAN be achieved.
Now, I am not saying don’t think about your future, in fact it is a Big Yes to plan your future, but the mindset better have a Now-Driven attitude – as the wonderful saying goes: What you plant now you will harvest later.
The beauty in meditation is not necessarily to empty our minds, but to focus on gratitude. While increasing awareness to body-mind connection, as we breathe deeply and mindfully. That is indeed an excellent technique for replacing thoughts, and leading the thoughts to a desired destination. Similar is the act of praying, which is also a good way to replace bad thoughts with a good ones.
Navigating away from negative thoughts and toward positive thoughts is excellent! But how about taking it further by also enhancing the good thoughts?
Dive into the good moments
Can you remember a few precious times when you realized, in the moment, how amazing that moment truly was, and the feeling of appreciation washed over?
Try to practice this awareness more often and notice how it feels (also notice if your eyes are getting shiny...).
‘Hold that thought!’ it comes in for half a second and it’s gone, but guess what – we can actually extend this wonderful feeling!
It is known that candid smiles have a positive impact on our moods. Seeing others smile at us, as well as sensing our own smile; this physical action triggers a positive reaction in our brains. But did you know that a smile can also save a moment in your memory if you choose to?
How to pause & record a moment
Breathing in deeply from the nose + simultaneously opening a candid-smile, and then similar to pressing save on our computer, you can operate your own magnificent motherboard, to burn that moment into your memory!
5. A Touch of Natural Supplements
Disclaimer: all of the information brought in this blog contains opinions and not facts. When consuming any supplements always take caution, check the recommended dose, and consult your doctor. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Reliance on any information provided on the blog is solely at your own risk.
Always keep educating yourself to know all the options, especially when it comes to health and nutritional knowledge.
Maintaining a healthy diet is an essential habit to have. We often also support our bodies with essential vitamins (B, C, D, etc), and in addition to immune system support, health stores also offer natural supplements which support the mind.
Are you familiar with the benefits of Magnesium? In addition to the physical benefits of Magnesium, it is also calming and relaxing.
Did you hear about Adaptogen herbs? Adaptogens help the body to manage stress. These include rosemary, ginseng, aloe vera, reishi mushrooms, ashwagandha, and more.
There’s nothing wrong with adding natural supplements to a healthy diet to support our bodies & minds! When taken with caution, these can help clear the mind from unwanted thoughts, and focus on what is important.
In conclusion, do not let others dictate your chapters - create your own story!
When things go well, or when we are extremely busy, we often allow our thoughts to run on auto pilot, but during certain days we truly need to drive our thoughts with full awareness, to avoid from sinking into unwanted areas.
You Are Where Your Thoughts Are.
The content inside our minds is a choice – we have a choice to take personal accountability for our thoughts and well-being.
When we are properly charged we can do things much better. Keep charging yourself one day at a time, good food, good rest, etc. Keep conversations kind with people around you, as well as inside of your mind.
We all read on Social Media that people often blame 2020, and ‘can’t wait’ for 2021 to start... but in fact, no one promised that 2021 would be easier or better… and this is why it is important to do the internal work.
Combining these 5 methods in our routine will help to manage our thoughts & aspire to Clarity.
I navigate the traffic jam of my own thoughts, and it always leads to gratitude in the present moment. Because life is happening ‘now’, if we practice controlling the things we can control, and embrace an inner decision to initiate happiness - we would benefit better. Those who focus on the now = won.
Anxiety is a human quality, which is usually invisible to the eye, but each and every person has a certain level of it. How are the people you care about doing and feeling? Are they doing well with managing their thoughts? If you think they would benefit from this post - share these uplifting tips for managing thoughts with the people you care about.
Good luck! We all need it!
write it down on a nice note.
(fill in the blank)
with figuring out the right way."
Say it once or twice each day; you can also connect it with a daily ritual,
such as when washing your face :)
I really enjoyed this piece, some lovely reminders. I am working on a new project, instead of simply journalling, I am documenting my life. If nothing else I hope that it gives my daughter some more insight into my family and my childhood. It am finding it to be a very interesting journey :)