Every healthy human being has this internal stream or train of thoughts and feelings that might range from happiness, achievement, hope, down the range of other ones like being self-conscious, fearful and doubtful.
The mind that we have is one of evolution’s greatest gift to us in a sense that we can use our brains to do the hard work to anticipate, solve problems and create problems for it. The only difficulties lie when sometimes this function of the brain gets overboard and flows into all the other areas of our lives, even when we are supposed to be taking a break. Have you ever experienced lying down on the bed and your brain is ruminating about events that will happen five years from now? Please tell me it’s not just me.
One thing that makes people fail is because they believe the contents of the internal mind chatter and think of it as facts for themselves or how they view the events in their life and the world in general, and we do all know that not all the contents of that internal chatter is helpful and healthy.
When we put too much attention into this inner stream of thought, what happens is we are depleting our cognitive resources that could have been used for more purposeful ways such as setting goals and the systems to achieve it.
Here are some of the ways or strategies that we could use to break free from our internal chatter:
1. Recognize the Patterns:
When we think we sometimes think of it as random thoughts just popping in and out of our heads, a fleeting train of ideas that we have no control over, and that is totally fine and normal. One thing that we could do about it is to notice the repetitive themes, stories or mental scripts that we tell ourselves. In this way we can identify the unhealthy patterns of thoughts that affect our lives. It all starts with awareness. For example, if most of the thoughts that occupy your mind are re-runs of the past or pondering about what you could have done better back over and over again might mean that you are feeling stuck in the past, which gravely affects your ability to fully enjoy the present and change for the better in the future.
2. Label your thoughts and emotions:
Once we become aware of the unhealthy internal chatter that fills up our brain, we can then break the cycle and we can do this by putting labels on our emotions and thoughts. At this point, make sure you are not judging things as good or bad since we have a tendency to cling to the good and make the bad go away, instantly. Try to identify the emotion or thought as helpful or unhelpful for you. If it makes you feel good and functioning then that would totally be helpful and if it paralyzes you, then duh! It’s not.
3. Accept and let it flow:
Learn how to practice detachment from the thoughts that flow in your mind, because it is only by doing so that you can actually reflect and tear each thought to bits and pieces to understand its core value for you. Practicing detachment also helps us to critically see the thought pattern and not believe it as “facts” that affects how we view ourselves, the world and the life experiences that we have.
4. Act on your values:
You have to be intentional with how you are living your life. Think of the values that you think are worthwhile for you to live a happy and fulfilling life. Personally for me, I was able to develop habits that cultivate values such as patience, hard work, stability and discipline. These values are the ones I stand by even on the days when I feel like I feel lost or don’t have anything to offer the world.
We have to make time for self-reflection even if actually hate doing it since it’s the most useful tool that we can use to consider and analyze the beliefs and values that we have with the ultimate goal of learning for ourselves, and integrating that learning in how we live our lives and deal with others. Reflection works because it gives our brain an opportunity to take a break amid the continuous train of thoughts, and to untangle the knots by sorting both the observations and experiences, thereby creating meaning. Meaning is learning, remember that!
A side note to sum it all up, your brain is doing it’s best to help you navigate this chaotic world and you have to give yourself a pat on the back for it. There will always be good and bad days, but once you are able to find your middle ground by employing these strategies, you can always go back to it and stand firm on your feet. I hope this one helped in improving your life even a little bit. Until you read from me again!