“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” – William Shakespeare
Have you ever noticed how tense and uptight you feel when you are caught up in your own thinking? Thinking has a snowball effect. The more you think about the specifics of whatever you’re thinking about, the worse you feel. You have one thought that leads to another, which leads to another and then another, and pretty soon your thoughts are spiraling out of control and you become incredibly irritated and agitated with everything and everyone around you.
For example, you might be driving to work and remember that you forgot to get milk when you went grocery shopping yesterday so you need to stop by the store on the way home to pick some up. Then, you start thinking about everything else that you have to do that evening. From there you start creating a list of everything that needs to be fixed or repaired around the house. Pretty soon, you find yourself thinking, “I can’t believe how much there is to do. I will never get it done. I’m so disorganized. Why can’t I be as organized as other people are? Before you know it, your feeling anxious and overwhelmed and you haven’t even begun your day.
It’s impossible to feel relaxed and happy if your head is full of concerns and “to do” lists. We are always ‘on’; always talking to ourselves. We have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s one thought per second while we are awake. Ninety percent of the thoughts we have today are the same thoughts we had yesterday and the day before, and the day before that. Even more alarming is the factthat as much as seventy-seven percent of those thoughts will be negative thoughts.
This is scary when you stop to realize that the human brain is very much like a mental computer and every thought we have is literally being recorded, chemically and electrically, in neural pathways in our brains. Many of us will think thoughts about ourselves, in other words, say things to ourselves, that we would never say to another person because it would make the other person feel bad. Yet, we say these things to ourselves over and over and over again, without realizing that we are literally programming our brains for negativity.