Studies have shown that some people would prefer electric shocks to being left alone with their thoughts.
However it just goes to show the challenge we face in dealing with our thoughts every minute of every day.
I’ve also read that experts estimate the mind has between 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2.500 – 3,000 thoughts per hour.
An incredible amount and enough to literally drive people insane.
No wonder so many of us struggle with anxiety, being alone and not having things to distract us. It’s quite scary and really sad to be honest.
The inability to handle the overwhelming amount of thoughts rushing through our head is one of the main reasons why people are being diagnosed with depression at record rates.
One thing I have realised though is the majority of the thoughts that run through our head are absolutely useless. They are random and literally have no meaning at all.
We do have the ability to filter down our thoughts however a lot of us simply don’t know how to or just lack the effort required to try.
It’s important to note that our everyday thoughts have a huge say in shaping our lives and dictate how we see the world.
It then comes down to our ability or inability for that matter to recognise what our thoughts are doing and how we can utilise them in better ways.
Thoughts will come in. It’s inevitable. Why and how depends on a number of factors but our job isn’t to stop them. Our job is to deal with them appropriately and in a way that best serves us.
This is where meditation can have a big impact.
Our thoughts are filtered into 3 categories.
Positive thoughts – Ones that bring contentment, satisfaction and pleasure.
Negative thoughts – Ones that bring panic, anger, sadness and anxiousness.
And useless thoughts – You know those random ones that pop in? The fucked up ones where you’re so grateful that no one can read your mind.
If you’re still unsure what I mean about the random ones perhaps check your google search history. Might give you an insight as to how your brain works.
Back to mediation.
I can honestly say this tool has helped me enormously in dealing with my own thoughts and therefore my mood and perspective on life.
As I mentioned before I’m not immune to negative and useless thoughts. Trust me I have plenty of them! I could even argue I have more than most. My mind is on overdrive constantly.
However through mediation I now have the ability to filter them and more importantly decide which ones I focus on and which ones I let go.
This is the power of the mind. We have the ability to focus on any thought that enters and make a decision as to what we do with it.
I generally meditate for 20 minutes at night before I go to sleep.
I sit beside my bed on the floor in an upright position after a shower so I’m relaxed.
Eyes closed my phone is on silent and out of reach. There’s no music or tv on in the background. Nothing.
Once my mind realises there’s dead silence, it then goes to work. Flooding my head with thoughts arising from either the day just gone or what lies ahead in days to come.
I let it all happen and stay conscious of whether I want to engage in the thoughts or not.
Like I said, some are negative, some are positive and some are useless.
I then go to work on consciously not letting my thoughts turn into other thoughts that take me away from the present moment. Especially the useless and negative ones.
When they come in (and trust me they come in thick and fast) I picture them floating by on a raft in a river.
The thought comes in one side of my brain and I let it pass through to the other side slowly down the stream.
It’s my choice whether I want to jump on the raft when a thought comes into my head. If it’s a negative one and I sense it I let it go and stay conscious of not letting myself get caught up in it and jumping on.
This is how I meditate.
I have no music, no one guiding me through an app as I believe that itself is a distraction from my own thoughts.
Essentially it defeats the whole purpose of being with myself and dealing with it in the first place.
If I’m gonna do it I wanna do it properly.
After about 6 or 7 minutes the thoughts tend to be less frequent and I can feel my pent up anxiousness start to disappear. My body feels a lot more relaxed and my mind starts to get a bit more clear.
By the time 20 minutes is up I’ve let go of a lot of useless and negative thoughts that would have otherwise taken up too much unnecessary head space and I now have the ability to get a good nights sleep.
I must point out though that this isn’t always the case. Some nights it takes longer for thoughts to clear and others they don’t clear at all there’s so much going on.
It’s always a work in progress and the point is I’m training my mind to become more efficient at filtering my thoughts.
This is the key and this is why I keep persisting with it.
Its an extremely rewarding exercise to take part in so I encourage you to give it a go if it’s not a part of your daily routine.
Like anything worthwhile though it’s not easy. It takes time and it takes a lot of practice.
Just as you need to keep training your body and condition it to see improvement, the same can be said with your mind. It requires a lot of patience and work but the rewards are well worth it.
It’s been proven that meditating can reduce stress and anxiety, improve focus and attention and therefore decision making, promote a better overall mood of happiness and contentment, instill patience and compassion and helps improve sleep.
There’s no one I know that wouldn’t benefit from all of that.
‘’If you have a body, we can help you’’
Infinite Fitness Peninsula