16 Jul Pillar of the Mind
Did you know that you have over 60,000 thoughts every day? 98% of your daily thoughts are the same as yesterday and nearly 80% of these thoughts are NEGATIVE!!!! When you dig deeper you will find that just 6 of these negative thoughts are like a bad TV show playing over and over again. These thoughts are crowding out your daily experiences of joy and happiness and taking a toll on your health.
While genetics and life situations contribute to your mental health, the way you choose to think about the events will dictate the level of stress and anxiety it creates in your mind. (Peter Kinderman, Institute of Psychology). And guess what, these negative experiences make a bigger impact, create more electrical activity in your brain than the positive experiences.
Researchers have discovered that by thinking new and different thoughts, you can shrink the negative neural pathways and open up positive routes (Richard Davidson, University of Wisconsin). The brain waves in the amygdala of happy people have been shown to be different from those of unhappy people. (James Harat, Ph.D.)
Dr. Martin Seligman, from the University of Pennsylvania, did research that showed when you are confronted with negative thoughts and situations, you can counter it by thinking of an equally true thought about the same situation that makes you happy.
All this negativity leads to chronic stress, elevated blood pressure, irritable bowel disease, stomach ulcers, poor sleep, increased weight, and sexual dysfunction. (American Academy of Family Physicians). Dr. Daniel Amen coined the acronym, ANT, automatic negative thoughts, to describe these thoughts.
To counteract these negative thoughts and their effects, researchers have instituted mindfulness practices to fight back. By questioning the validity of each thought, Shian-Ling Keng noticed an increase in well-being, a decrease in psychological symptoms and improved behavior. In other words, each of us has the ability to learn ways to erase some of the often illogical thoughts and replace them. Mindfulness practices have been shown to reduce ANTs (Rivo, P.,2013).
While no single method can rid you of 40,000 negative thought or replace the 6 recurring negative thoughts, self-awareness provides a tool to take back control of your thoughts.