Thoughts + Emotions + Perspective = Your Life Experience [Part 1]
You may have noticed that the same kinds of thoughts repeat themselves in your mind. If not, it's time to do some self-checking in or possibly seek some guidance. Understanding your thoughts is a paramount in how you live your life. But, that's a sidetrack...
If you sit in silence and become mindful of your thoughts, it will only take a few minutes before you notice your mind reviewing the same ideas, the same worries, the same problems on a loop. That’s because we get into habits of thought. And, that can be some pretty dangerously stressful stuff if we're not self-aware.
Thoughts create emotions, our emotions shape our perspective and our perspective is how we experience our life. Literally that simple. Getting into negative habits of thought can flood our bodies with difficult emotions like stress, worry and frustration.
Say you’ve been struggling to keep your cool, connect or support someone in your life. You’ve had a few arguments, disagreements, or misunderstands which have led to feelings of frustration and stress.
Now, if you wake up in the morning and begin to think worried thoughts about your day, and imagine what might go wrong again today with this person your body begins to actually create the emotions of stress and frustration as though what you’re imagining were really happening (even when it's actually not).
Now that your body is oh so unconsciously flooded with stress hormones, it tells your brain to look for signs of danger. Your mind is now expecting the day to go badly and it puts you on high alert, at the ready to defend yourself. With this perspective, you surely act differently towards this person. You’re expecting them to act a certain way and therefore putting up a wall to defend yourself emotionally.
Have you ever watched America’s Funniest Home Videos where a dad gets hit directly in the balls by his kid that’s trying to hit a piñata? Don’t you physically feel pain as you watch that poor Dad? That’s because us humans have something called mirror neurons which allow us to feel what other people are feeling. It’s these neurons that allow us to read a room. They allow us to notice when someone is mad at us and get ready to defend ourselves and they get us to smile back at someone that smiles at us in the hallway, mirroring their kindness.
When you expect a person to act negatively, they can sense it - it’s a natural human superpower. And so they do. They sense your defensiveness and become defensive too. And now the loop is complete.
You might be thinking, okay, I get it. Get on with it. But, just one more time: thoughts create our emotions, our emotions create our perspective and our perspective creates the way we experience our life.
If I think negative thoughts, I feel negative emotions. Then, I perceive the negative in my surroundings (rather than noticing the positive) and I therefore have a negative experience. Legit. It's the science of our brain.
We fulfill the prophecies of our thoughts and create the experience we expected to have.
We have a lot of power over our experience, but it takes a conscious effort to train our brain and make a habit of using our thoughts to create good experiences.
Next month I would love to get into how we can shift this habit. But, the first step is for us to be self-aware. If we are not aware of the types of thoughts we’re thinking and how they’re limiting us, we really have no place to start.
So, get curious, Seekers. What negative or limiting thoughts are on repeat in your mind?
We can’t change what we don’t see. So, let’s start there. Let's begin to see.
You got this.
Wishing you a self-aware, happy, healthy and fun-loving November.