Yesterday I was outside clearing the driveway and removing huge amounts of ice that was covering our cars after a pretty major ice storm. My son thought it looked fun so he decided to join me and play on the frozen surface while I finished what I was working on.
As he was slipping and sliding all over the ice covered yard, my parental instincts kicked in and I reminded him to be careful not to fall backwards to hit his head.
This immediately brought up a memory that I had probably forgotten about for over 20 years. When I was maybe 12 years old, I was at an after school home day care program. I was about to sit down at my care giver’s table for a snack with the other kids. The son of the care giver was a bit of a loose canon and for fun, he decided to pull the big wooden chair back as I attempt to sit down.
In most scenarios the person would just slip to the floor without too much damage and be a little embarrassed. In my case, this awesome guy didn’t pull the chair far enough so as I slipped to the floor, I smashed the back of my skull on the hard wooden chair. I had a huge lump on my head and it took everything in my power not to cry in front of all of the other kids.
Right after reliving that experience, I started thinking about another time when my younger son fell off a stool and hit his head.
Eventually I decided I needed to change my thoughts so I started thinking about some other stuff I was planning for work.
But this little example reminded of how quickly our thoughts can work either FOR or against us. And usually, one type of dominant thought is related to another.
So if you are trying to have a positive and productive day but someone cuts you off in traffic and you allow it to make you angry, you could be setting yourself up to get a LOT more angry moving forward. As you dwell on the anger you have towards bad drivers, you start thinking about accidents you have been in in the past. You may start thinking about other times where you were given the short end of the stick in a bad deal with someone.
Before you know it, you are completely locked into negativity and your entire day could be ruined.
The good news is that our thoughts can also form connections like these examples, but in a positive direction instead.
Last year, I remember watching a youtube video about “monitoring your thoughts”. The speaker suggested an exercise to buy a notebook and start writing down all of your thoughts that make you feel uplifted, positive, happy and so on.
The idea is that you spend time every morning doing this “positive emotion thoughts” exercise to condition yourself to get in the habit of thinking more about the things you want in your life and what you intend to create. While doing so, there is less room and less time to dwell on the negative, disempowering thoughts or worrying about all of the things that could potentially go wrong or stop you from achieving your goals.
I did this exercise for over a month and it has always stuck with me. I often revisit the pages of notes I made about all of the things that made me feel happy, positive, powerful and confident.
Let this little message remind you how powerfully connected our thoughts are. All you need to do is work on focusing on thoughts of what you WANT in your life and more positive thoughts will naturally be drawn to you.
It doesn’t mean you aren’t going to get frustrated and experience negativity, it just means you stay aware of this power you have to change and use it to your advantage as often as you possibly can!