Whether in life or in business, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with all the tasks and to-dos. There will always be something vying for headspace which is why it’s so important to learn to manage our thoughts.
Sometimes when my hubby looks deep in thought, I’ll ask him that age-old question every woman asks her man: “So, what are you thinking about?” Often, to my surprise, he’ll respond with one word that generally leaves me puzzled.
You’ve probably already guessed it, and we could say it in unison.
Is that even possible to think nothing? So...you’re not thinking about an-y-thing??!
As a woman, that can be hard for me to wrap my head around because we’re usually always thinking about something. Right, ladies? It can range from what’s for dinner, to a business project, or what class assignment to help the kids with, or what to do over the weekend. We ponder heavier things like finances, health, etc. The mind reels. We. Are. Always. Thinking!
Some experts estimate that the average person thinks 50,000 thoughts per day. Other experts give a higher number: 60,000 - 70,000 thoughts per day. So, how do we handle the barrage? How do we keep from drowning in the sea of contemplation? The key, in my opinion, is thought management. How are we managing the 6-inches between our ears?
Though we can’t keep the thoughts from coming, we can take charge of the ones that ultimately impact our mindset. So much is determined by our mindset. Allow me to rephrase. So much is PREdetermined by our mindset.
The word mindset is defined as “a fixed mental attitude or disposition that predetermines a person's responses to and interpretations of situations.”
FIXED. DISPOSITION. PREDETERMINES. The whole definition is good, but the word that stands out to me the most in this description is “predetermines”.
Are we (especially, with the heavier matters) analyzing, reanalyzing, and then overanalyzing? The things we choose to think on will establish our outcomes...in advance. In other words, what we think about, we bring about?
So this begs the question again: What are you thinking about? What are you fixing your mind on? Are you thinking about how your business can positively impact others or are you thinking you’ll be run out of town as an imposter? Are you stressing about all of the things you have on your plate, or are you committed to do what you can and leave the rest for the next workday?
Yes, it’s responsible to handle the items that need our attention, but we shouldn’t give in to every thought that crosses our mind. When working on a project, we can have our plan laid out but if things go left, let’s learn to process responsibly.
Here are a few simple ways to manage your thoughts effectively:
Work on controlling what you can. Again, though we can’t keep the thoughts from coming, we can manage what we do with those thoughts. We cannot control other people and we can’t always control our circumstances, but we can control how we respond. We can decide to sit and stew or we can look for ways to change our responses - the areas that we can control.
Take a moment to regroup. Don’t respond too quickly. Take a few seconds or a few minutes depending on the severity of the issue at hand, and breathe. Think things through. We do not have to respond immediately. We can take a moment to sort out our thoughts and give ourselves time to process a given situation. This often leads to better responses and fewer apologies.
Don’t major on the minors. Not everything is a big deal. Learning how to differentiate between the big deals and the not-so-big deals will save a lot of time and energy. When you feel tempted to rehearse the situation, ask yourself is it worth the energy? Most things aren’t. Let’s learn to save the energy for the days and times that we’ll really need it.
Learn to Laugh A LOT. This isn’t to say, internalize your emotions and walk around not being real, but it is true that a merry heart is good like a medicine. Learning to laugh while enjoying life can dramatically improve our mental health. If it’s good for my soul, I’m here for it.
As always, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s an exercise that will help us manage the six inches between our ears. And like most exercises, we get better with time.
Share your ideas in writing. Reveal your emotions to a friend. Confide the complex issues with a mentor or a consultant. Whatever the outlet, find one. Then take it a step further...Let’s fix our minds on good thoughts. Thoughts of victory and not defeat. Thoughts of hope and not despair. Thoughts of plenty and abundance and not lack. Thoughts that empower us rather than those that disempower. I’m not trivializing the rough patches we face, but remember our thoughts determine our actions. Our actions determine our behaviors and our behaviors determine the quality of our lives.
“So keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising him always.” ~ Philippians 4:8 TPT
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