For years, my mind and I have a complicated relationship. I struggled with self-critical thoughts and I whole-heartedly believed everything my mind told me, even when it was unkind and untrue. As a teenager, I started feeling curious about my mind. Was there truth to the thoughts I told myself? Did everyone feel as anxious as me? If so, why were they coping better than I was? As an adult, this curiosity encouraged me to learn more about the mind — including the mistakes it can easily make.
Fast forward to now and recently driving down the motorway, when I began wondering why my brain goes on autopilot when my car is in cruise control. You see even with the work I do; my mind still occasionally falls into moments of thinking these thoughts……
· I’m confused
· I don’t know how / what
· It’s too hard for me
· I’m sure others can but I can’t
· This isn’t working
· It’s not easy
· I need this to work right now
· I have to do it perfectly / or right
· They don’t understand me
· I never wanted to do XYZ
These thoughts then create feelings and the important question is then, how do these thoughts make me feel when I think them?
· Not good
· Not courageous
· Not creative and resourceful
· Not capable
· Not good enough
· And if I think about these thoughts long enough, they could easily create a loop that leads to “I’m useless, what’s the point, it won’t work for me…”
And if you do think these thoughts really well, they often end in “why bother…?”, “what’s the point…?” Resulting in you giving up even before you have truly started! How are you depressing yourself…? See above. How are you creating those anxious sensations…? See above.
We all have thoughts every day about thousands of things. We barely even think about our own thoughts. We just accept them as true.
It is time to take control!! And that’s where you come in……stand guard at the gates of your own mind.
As a mammal we are hard wired to survive. For millions of years we’ve used as little energy as possible to ensure our survival by resisting change and avoiding anything new.
The brain uses a lot of energy. Creating change forces our brains to think differently, and taking the necessary steps to improve our mental or physical wellbeing also uses energy. So yes, it can be a natural response to go into conserve-energy-mode e.g. “it’s too hard… let’s go back in the cave and pull the woolly mammoth fleece back over our heads……” Of course, you can stay exactly where you are, you do not have to come out of your comfort zone. Although one thing is certain, by staying still this is not where the magic happens…!
Remember: just because your autopilot-brain thinks thoughts, this does not mean they are true…! Yes, those thoughts pretend to be reasonable and true but they are not.
Nor does it mean you have to keep those thoughts. Declutter and throw them out. YOU get to choose which ones you keep and make space for new ones! What new thoughts will you think of to keep you moving forward?
If you want help with making goals or would like to change the direction you’re traveling in, please get in contact.