Every day, our brains give us between 60,000 and 80,000 individual thoughts. It sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?
But does it still sound like a lot if I tell you that most of them (up to 90% of them!) are repeats of the thoughts we had yesterday? And that those thoughts were mostly a repeat of the thoughts we had the day before that? And so on and so on.
Probably not. Once you realize that “individual thoughts” isn’t the same as “new thoughts,” that number looks a lot smaller. We all do it. Our brains are wired for replay. We replay what we said, did, thought, AND what we plan to say, do, and think.
Of course, some of that is hard to avoid. We have routines we follow and roles we play. These include tasks that you repeatedly do. Even when you think you aren’t thinking about them – your brain is!
But what about the rest of the time? When your time is less structured, and your thoughts have a chance to run free? What do you think about then?
You can train your brain to have more new, non-repetitive thoughts. And you’ve probably seen plenty of advice on how to do this – sit quietly, clear your mind, home in on one key thing, etc.
It’s a lot easier said than done. Most people find it difficult to completely clear their minds, even when they’re really trying. There’s just so much mental noise, it’s hard to completely stop thinking with all of the information that comes into our space on a constant basis.
Even when you’re not sitting quietly, you can still pay attention to what’s around you. I call it “come back to your senses”. Really tune in. What do you see? What are you hearing? Savor that sip of coffee for a moment or take in a big whiff of the robust aroma. You can even simply roll your pen in your hand and notice how it feels. Try looking outside your window and see how many birds you can find or listen to the heat kick in on these cold winter days. This is presence.
This holiday season I encourage you to Be Present! Presence helps you quiet your brain and tune into the moment. It helps you stop your brain from telling you what to do. You are now telling it what to focus on.
And that’s just the beginning. Are negative thoughts sneaking in? Make them stop! How can you do that?
1. Acknowledge them. Notice what you are thinking about to begin with.
2. Then simply send them away. Say “I’m not thinking about this right now”
3. Tell yourself what you want to think about instead.
You can also write them down – every negative thought coming into your head. Write it down, then write its counterpart. Are you nervous about an upcoming event? Write down the best possible outcome. Stressing over something you said? Write down how you’d like to say it next time. Is work making you anxious? Write down something you can pay attention to that brings you joy.
I know I’m making this sound easy. It does take practice. For more information on how our thoughts stop us from being present refer to my May 2022 blog: https://www.kalsowcoach.com/post/watch-your-language
When you are ready to practice presence, contact me to learn more about the seven-week Positive Intelligence study that explains how our brains work and what you can do to reduce your repetitive thoughts and live in the present! Schedule a free clarity session here: