If you want to see changes in your life, you have to change your thoughts.
A great way to do this is to add a mantra to your routine. Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips and set a mantra reminder on your Remind App(this is available on iPhones, you could probably set this on a calendar app, if you don’t have an iPhone) to go off as many times as you like. The purpose of this practice is to become more aware of your thoughts so they don’t do what they normally do and shift into autopilot mode.
Most of us go through our day with our mind on autopilot. Once our mind hits autopilot, we lose our awareness and the destructive, negative thoughts and beliefs sneak up on us. When that happens, we are back to the old limiting thoughts and habits that we are trying so hard to break.
Pick a mantra that you like. My personal mantra is “Mind your thoughts”. I have my reminder app set to go off every 2 hours upon wakening up until bedtime. You can set it to as many times as you feel you need it.
When I first started this mantra practice, we were on a family vacation with our teenaged daughter and our twenty something son. As most parents know, kids speak their mind and express their opinions and ours were no different. Normally, I would take whatever criticisms or strong opinions personally and become defensive or say the wrong things. Since I started the mantra practice of “mind your thoughts”, I discovered that there were less confrontations. I would catch myself before I would respond and repeat silently my mantra “mind your thoughts”. What I found was at times, it just wasn’t worth a response, and other times, if I did respond, I responded in a calm, nonjudgemental way.
In other words, by minding my thoughts, it made me stop and assess not only my thoughts but also my emotions. I discovered that many times I was reading into things and allowing myself to take things personally. When one takes things personally, we attach emotions to our thoughts and that is when we end up saying the wrong things, or misinterpreting what was said.
Once you start your mantra practice, you will notice a shift in your attitude. You might notice you are calmer and worrying less. You’ll notice that you are better at listening because you are slower to respond and might choose not to respond at all. You will find yourself generally more relaxed, even at work, which will make you more productive and confident.
Here are some examples of how you might want to apply the “mind your thoughts” mantra, remember as you do this to also be aware of your emotions
- Upon awakening – catch those negative morning thoughts before they set in and you start off your day on the wrong foot and in a bad mood.
- Getting dressed – stop the self-loathing criticism- replace it with words of love and appreciation
- The commute – this is a great time to work on minding your thoughts. Fire up an inspirational audio book, or podcast or, put on some upbeat music to put you in the right state of mind and to keep you from getting stressed out about the traffic or some jerk cutting you off…
- In the classroom – if you are a student, pay attention to your thoughts as you attend your lectures, review your material, prepare for an exam, or take an exam
- At work – anytime a negative thought comes into your head about your job, your coworker, your boss, yourself…mind your thoughts.
- On vacation – see above
- Family time – even though they are family and we love them, some family members seem to be better at pushing our buttons than others
- Running errands – what are we thinking as we do our errands and encounter people along the way
- Exercise- when your hitting your wall, smile, even if it isn’t genuine, your workout won’t feel as bad
So give it a try. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. Remember as you mind your thoughts, pay attention to your emotions. Strong emotions attached to thoughts often become beliefs, even if they aren’t true.