Our brains produce up to a staggering 50,000 thoughts per day (National Science Foundation). 95% of those thoughts are habitual and repeated on an almost daily basis.
If you’re a naturally skeptical or negative person whose mind is filled with worry and anxiety, it’s inevitable this storm of gloomy, negative thoughts is going to have a frightening impact on your mental health and wellbeing.
Especially since our thoughts govern our actions –
“All that we are is a result of all that we have thought.” Buddha
One very important way to look after our mental health, is to take a regular mental inventory of our thoughts to assess what we’re creating in our lives. How much time is spent worrying or complaining? Criticising ourself and others? How much time appreciating the things we do have instead of noticing everything we don’t? Looking at our lives with wonder and gratitude?
If what we experience now is a result of our past thoughts, then we’re creating our future with every new thought. If our thoughts are positive and encouraging, then we’re more likely to act in an uplifting and constructive way.
It takes effort and commitment, but we can break the negative thought patterns and build new neural pathways (neuroplasticity).
The first step is to be aware of our mind’s landscape and assess what’s going on. Then we can try to find creative and effective ways to break the bad habits and repetitive cycles. Remind ourselves of good times and people, replace worry with gratitude and acceptance, and slowly try to break the cycle. Increasing the likelihood of positive feelings tomorrow.
Further reading –
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom