9. But what exactly ARE thoughts cause they drive me MAD sometimes?!
Thoughts are THINGS, and as bizarre as that sounds, they really are THINGS!!
Thoughts are electrochemical reactions and create energy and activity in waves, so thinking creates electricity! How mad is THAT?!
Ok, buckle up, and here goes!
Thoughts create physical proteins, and proteins build brain structure resulting in the mass of our brains (and our brain's grey matter) producing pathways through which electricity travels.
Thoughts also create chemical releases in the brain; e.g. imagine you're walking through the jungle minding your own business, and you hear a ROARRRR; well, you're not going to hang around, are you?! The reason why you leg it is that your brain has listened to the roar, which has triggered the thought; 'Oh shit, we must run away if we want to survive,' which in turn causes a chemical release in your brain, in this case, 'adrenaline' which gets you sprinting off like a successful rocket launch!
Fascinating fact; 80% of the thoughts you have today you had yesterday!! Not entirely sure how I feel about that, but more importantly, WHY is this the case?!
Well, thinking patterns are actual structures in the brain. Those proteins we mentioned earlier create grey matter, and electrical signals can travel along it. Repetitive thoughts (yes, those thoughts on a loop that drive you mad, those thoughts!) reinforce this structure, making it easier for electricity to travel over it and easier to be used again and again in the future. The more you think the thought, the easier it becomes to think it again in the future...can you see where I am going with this now?! This is how default thinking patterns occur and what keeps us stuck up to our neck in unwanted habits and situations.
A habit is the ultimate thought path, finely tuned and strengthened each time you head back down it... ah, now this is starting to make sense!
When you are trying to do something new, and you think positively about it, positive emotions will occur, pop that positive thought and action on repeat, and that winning combo will start building more physical structure in the brain. It creates new pathways that allow you to think the same thought as you thought yesterday, and if it's a positive one, then tomorrow's thought will be positive too, and so the new pathway gets built. If, on the other hand, you approach this something new with a negative set of thoughts, then you can appreciate now just how hard it would be to stick to it or find any positive change remotely accessible.
ok, so let's use me as an example; when I was trying to break up with smoking after 35 years of love, I had two ways to proceed;
The first was to look at loads of photos of blackened lungs, read horrific stories of other smokers demises and listen to my daughter saying I stank to fuel the following thoughts;
I can DO THIS
I am so lucky to be alive
I want to start looking after and respecting my body
My daughter will be proud of me
The second was to hold my packet of smokes in my hand like my life depended on it and think;
I cannot stop because I LOVE smoking
I don't smoke THAT much; I should be ok
I can't have a good time without my smokes
Smoking is part of my identity
I stopped smoking, but which set of thoughts do you think I went with?!
Basically, what I am saying to you is that YOU are in total control of what you think, feel and do, which is damned FANTASTIC news! So, if you have a habit you want to kick, part of my coaching involves hunting for the negative thoughts stopping you from moving forward, turning them around and creating new, much more comfortable fitting, healthy ones!
Knowing this is nothing short of a miracle, I tell you!!