Ep 37: Choosing Your Thoughts

Not all of our thoughts deserve our attention or energy. Some can safely be dismissed without further examination. But we often allow unworthy or unhelpful thoughts to take up a lot of real estate in our brains–and this can negatively impact how we feel, what we do, and ultimately what we accomplish.  In this episode, we talk about why it’s so important to choose which thoughts you give your energy to.

Takeaways

  1. With all the thousands of thoughts going through your head, we are bound to have some that stick in our craw and that is OK. 
  2. Thoughts on their own are harmless. It is what we choose to do with them that creates negative feelings and emotions. 
  3. When we feel strong emotions like regret or shame over our thoughts we give those thoughts more energy and power over us. 
  4. Managing our thoughts takes time (like most meaningful change) but taking that time can free our mental energy to make progress on our goals instead of just thinking about them. 

Lab Experiment

(download a copy)

Next time you notice that a thought is causing you stress or discomfort, write that thought down. 

Step 1: Ask yourself: Is this thought verifiably true? (If you said it in public, would everyone agree that it is true?

Step 2: Ask yourself: Do I have anything to gain from continuing to entertain this thought? Is continuing to think about this going to make me feel better or help me make a better decision? 

Step 3: If you decide that a thought does not deserve your energy, make a conscious decision to put it down. Use whatever imagery works best for you: pick up the remote control and change the channel, pluck it out of your mental garden and throw it in the compost, pick up the cosmic scissors and cut the string, or make up your own. But whatever image you choose, take a moment to really act it out in your imagination. 

Step 4: Decide what you want to think about instead and spend some time cultivating that thought.