In a world obsessed with equality, diversity, inclusion, embracing our differences, it is important to remember that one thing does not deserve a level playing field and should not be treated with the same level of equaling. Our thoughts. Our thoughts stream through our conscious mind like our own curated instagram or twitter feed, subtly influencing our behaviour, our reactions, our decisions. But how often do you tune into your own thoughts?
I’ve journalled since I was 8, obsessed with keeping a dream journal and in my early 20s after reading the secret, I obsessed with keeping a gratitude journal. The beauty of this is that as someone who is wired for obsession, overthinking, anxiousness and worry, I have been able to tune in (and tune out) to thoughts that do not serve me.
I remember seeing a book cover on Mum and Dad’s rather prolific book shelves: “You can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought” and I was seriously annoyed by the title. I was 19 and I had just gotten over 4 months of being bed ridden with glandular fever. I was depressed (a common side effect post glandular fever) and generally a bit over being sick and so very tired! My brain was completely littered with negativity. The mere thought of not having the luxury of one negative thought was too overwhelming. Imagine looking at a rubbish tip and being told that no rubbish is allowed! Where do you even start? It was only when I realised that my depression was taking over that I sought help. Seeing a trained psychologist is one of the single most wonderful things that a human can do. Just saying things out loud can change how you feel about them. Sometimes something rattling around in your head can take on a life of its own, when you tell someone else, they can help you gain perspective and also understand the source of the idea or thought (as well as the possible impacts the thoughts are having on you and your life!).
I only saw the psychologist 3 times. It was enough perspective to spark my inspiration and give me some ideas to heal myself. I went back to journalling and started to use different colours to categorise my thoughts. Pink for healthy, helpful, kind, have more of these, these are good type thoughts! Black for hmmmmm this is interesting – where did that come from? Are these even mine? Have I been influenced? Is this something I need to investigate further? and red for thoughts that were garbage, ridiculous, mean, negative, unhelpful, dirty (delete, delete, delete). Over the next 10 years, I continued this practice. I got better at it, after a while I didn’t need the paper anymore. I still wrote things down, especially if I was feeling stressed and needed to readjust my perception on a particular topic. It has helped me create my dream life.
My guess is that you have probably not thought about your thoughts like this before. You probably don’t even think you have a dirty mind… but if you think about anything unkind, unfair, unreasonable, unfounded, unlikely, unwanted even once a week, then you could probably do with a little spring clean!
We know that what we focus on is what we create. There are billions of things/pieces of information, light, colour and sound in every single moment, what we focus on is shaped by how we think, what we think about, what we obsess about is what we become. For me, I have learnt the art of activating and priming my Reticular Activator System (RAS) for good (learn about the RAS here) – by priming my RAS, I am consciously choosing my reality, I am choosing what my brain focusses on.
The benefit of taking time to shape my conscious mind is that I have a whole heap of capacity for other thoughts. Ideas, Problem Solving, Being present in the moment. Back in the day when my brain was flooded with negativity and garbage, it was like I was following 1,000,000 accounts on instagram, I couldn’t keep up, I wasn’t paying attention to the stuff that mattered! Trying to find the stuff that mattered was totally time consuming! By unfollowing my negative thoughts, I cleaned up the feed, it gave me time to think about and focus on what mattered.
So do you want to clean your dirty mind?
- Buy a journal, some coloured pens
- Write down your dream life – where do you live? What do you do every day? Who do you spend time with? What are you wearing? How do you feel? What do you look like? Get really detailed, this is your dream reality.
- Set aside some time each day to tune in to what you thought about that day (night time is good)
- Now highlight the thoughts, categorise into categories that make sense to you, it could be things like: GOOD THOUGHTS, RANDOM THOUGHTS, OBSESSIVE THOUGHTS, NASTY THOUGHTS, DIRTY THOUGHTS (lol, not those kind, you can keep those to yourself). It is important to
- Ok, now take a pen and circle the thoughts that are aligned to your dream life.
- Ask yourself about the thoughts that aren’t aligned to your dream life, where are they stemming from (is there some sort of childhood drama you need to shed some new perspective on? some sort of traumatic experience you haven’t resolved?), this can be when seeing a professional psychologist can be super helpful. You could take your list of not so nice thoughts along and get them to help you troubleshoot where they are coming from. Or, if you’re confident to self troubleshoot, then give that a go and try your best to catch yourself in the moment next time you have thoughts like that and ask yourself “is this helpful? is this really true? does this serve my dream life?”
Enjoy the clean up, life is a whole lot more wondrous when you unfollow the negativity and fill your brain with wonderful thoughts.