Updated: Apr 25, 2021
When it comes to personal development, we can make some positive changes by adjusting external factors in terms of life or work situations that are causing unhappiness. However, the most effective and life changing work comes from understanding and adjusting our internal programs. So much has been written on the power of our thoughts and how changes in our thinking can create a better life. Becoming aware of our thoughts, helps us decipher those thoughts and beliefs that are perhaps not serving us in enjoying life. Once we become fully aware in the present moment and distance ourselves from the inner critic or negative "thoughts", "problems" or "beliefs" about ourselves and others it helps us allow and be peaceful with the present moment exactly as it is. This makes us happier within ourselves and improves our performance and personal and work relationships.
To get there, involves cultivating the self awareness required to get to know yourself very deeply.
It helps us understand how very often it is not what life presents to us but how we think about it that causes us to suffer. The tendency to react in fear may be based on beliefs borne out of past trauma which can perpetuate negative thinking and feeling loops that keep us stuck. We sometimes experience these patterns in ourselves, in others and we see it play out in business, politics and society as a whole.
Here are some tried and trusted strategies to help you get out of that thinking/feeling cycle, to uncover some of your patterns and to make some healthy changes that will benefit you in all areas of your life.
Bring in Awareness - If you are caught in a cycle of difficult thoughts and feelings, start by bringing in some awareness to help create some space for change. Mindfulness is an excellent practice for supporting this. Rather than your awareness being fully focused in the thinking mind, you take your awareness out of the mind to observe it directly. Focus on your breath to watch your thoughts and check in to your body and mind as an observer of what is going on. You become the objective observing presence of your experience rather than being caught up in the thinking/feeling loop. There are many guided meditations on YouTube or use an app like Head Space if you like.
Notice your thought patterns - Once you bring in some awareness and are objectively viewing yourself non judgmentally from that perspective, you may notice some thought patterns or behavioural tendencies that you recognize aren't serving you.
Remember to bring in loving kindness to yourself as you recognize these and congratulate yourself that through your practice of awareness you are noticing thoughts or patterns you are mindful of changing.
Flip It- As you build awareness you may notice a thought pattern that doesn't serve you that you would like to change. The thing about our thoughts or thought patterns is to not take them or ourselves too seriously. A thought is not necessarily a truth and when you realize that it's liberating, because you can choose a new thought. So if you notice a thought like "I'm totally behind on everything, I'm going to fail" flip it to a more empowering one "I'm doing my very best and I'm getting better every day".
You might notice that you have recurring negative or dis-empowering thought patterns "nothing ever works out f
or me for example" or "I'm not good enough" that make you feel crappy. Well if you had faulty programming on your PC, wouldn't you change it. So every time you notice one of those thoughts, start dismissing it by saying "Ctrl, Alt Delete or Cancel" and just smile at yourself for dismissing that dis-empowering thought and not giving it any of your energy.
Byron Katie has created 4 simple questions that are also very effective for helping you managing your thoughts. If you have a thought that elicits a particularly strong emotional response within you, using these 4 questions may alter your view and hence allow you to drop the thought.
Is it true?
Can you absolutely know that it’s true?
How do you react when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without the thought?
Create new Beliefs
Persistent thoughts create beliefs and these beliefs create your reality. So to change your reality you need to work on new beliefs. First of all, identify those beliefs that no longer serve you and replace them with beliefs more aligned to your vision and success. A belief change has to occur in the subconscious mind and it take 21 days for a new belief to become embedded.
Create a mantra for the new belief you want to have, for example "I am a fantastic Doctor, I am skilled and calm and my patients are delighted with the care I bring them" & recite this in your mind when you wake, before you go to sleep or as you go into meditation.
Practice - Self awareness and change is a life long process. We are always learning more about ourselves and the world. A morning & night time practice is helpful if even for 10 minutes to check in with yourself. In the morning, you could set your alarm earlier than normal and start a meditation practice. If you're a beginner, start slow with 5 or 10 minutes guided meditations.
Good luck and if you need some support or guidance, please contact me.