I woke up today and quickly found myself with a number of things bombarding my thoughts. Things where I’m waiting on others to get back to me, communication difficulties, tasks I need to get on to, family to organize and an early start to my day with vacation swimming lessons.
As I sat beside the pool an hour later I realised my stress levels were putting me into the anxious zone and that I needed to check in on my rambling thoughts and get some order happening in my brain.
That “check in” on my thoughts is important because if we don’t train ourselves to control our thought life we can end up thinking toxic thoughts which leads to negative, toxic emotions. These then can hinder our ability to think clearly, make decisions, understand and learn. Plus toxic unhindered thoughts can lead to anxiety and illness.
Today as I sat quietly watching our son swim I chose to be mindful and to take control of my thought life instead of allowing my mind to be assaulted. I sat back and captured my thoughts one by one. I did that by grabbing a piece of paper and pen that was in my bag and writing down all my concerns and what I was thinking about. I chose to become aware of what I was thinking, feeling and focusing on details. I wrote my thoughts down so I could examine them, gain some prospective and reshape thoughts where necessary to shift from being problem, fear focused to solving issues and finding answers to my concerns.
I prayed and sought God and with his help took my chaotic thoughts, reshaped them and built some new healthy ones instead. My day suddenly got clearer, my anxiety levels dropped and I knew what I was to do with the rest of my day.
Dr Caroline Leaf in her book, “Think, Learn Succeed” says, “a controlled thinking mindset helps us to intentionally shift our focus. It allows us to determine our own performance, rather than getting stuck replaying negative experiences in our heads….if we do not capture thoughts and monitor incoming information, it is hard to change toxic and chaotic thoughts, which will steal our mental peace and ability to build useful memories and learn.
As you go through this week, don’t wait for your thoughts, emotions and day to start overwhelming you. Take the time to regularly “check in” on what you are thinking about. Capture your thoughts, examine, reshape and replace your thoughts with constructive ones if need be; make a plan to move forward and then choose to go and have a productive week.
“When we choose to truly tune in to the now – to see, feel, listen, move, taste, and inhale the present, using all our senses to soak up the minute beauty of the moment – we enhance our thinking and thereby enhance our ability to learn and succeed in life.” (Dr Carolyn Leaf)
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor 10:4-5 NKJV)
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” ( 2 Tim 1:7)
Prayer: Lord thank you for each new day and for my ability to achieve and succeed in it. Please help me to be awareness of my thoughts and to capture and change any toxic thoughts and mindsets I may have. I thank you that today I can do all things because you give me strength. In Jesus name Amen