In the world we live in, it seems that almost everyone and every device we open offers us an opinion or thought about the world we live in. Most of these thoughts are not worth the energy that created them.
Why is this important?
Everyone has a mind that is full of thoughts. Some minds have kinder thoughts than other minds and thus are not tortured as often with sadness, anger, or anxiety. This is good fortune.
But many minds, particularly in these times, are filled with thoughts of fear, frustration, anger, and second-guessing just about everything that happens.
Regardless, there will be an abundance of thoughts and options, coming from others and also generated by your own mind. We almost always give attention to these, without discretion. My goal today is to offer two criteria for adding clarity about whether a thought/opinion is worth another one of your thoughts.
Two Criteria to Live By
1. Does This Thought /Opinion Serve You?
And by that, I mean does it make you feel good? Does it help you to do better things to support and uplift the values you care about? Does it inspire you? Does it help you to be kinder, more loving, and more productive in the world?
Whether the thought comes from your mind, or the mind of others, it’s useful to determine whether the thought you are listening to serves you.
This is not about whether your brain or someone else’s mind is interested in the thought or opinion. Often, our minds LOVE the drama and sense of offering more thoughts or opinions. Either we are on board, or we can resist. But the energy of anger or resistance is very addictive. This is easy to see when we look around and observe.
So, the bottom line is this. Do you really feel better after being interested in thought or opinion? Are you smiling inside? Are you inspired? Do you feel lighter and more prepared to serve…regardless of your cause? Do you treat others with more kindness, compassion, and ease?
If so, stay interested in the thought. If not, and most thoughts do NOT make us feel better, then abandon your interest in them. This is freedom.
2. Is The Focus of the Thought/Opinion Within Your Sphere of Influence?
In other words, can you do anything about it? Is there some action you can take today to change this? Is there some way you can do something, based upon spending your precious life energy on this thought or opinion?
If not, I suggest you again abandon interest.
On the other hand (and this is key), if you can do something that supports your values AND you feel good doing it, then maybe that thought or opinion is worth your life energy.
Your time is your life. So, where you end up investing your time…well, that will be your life story. We want to carefully consider where we invest our time because that investment will accumulate to represent our life.
The kicker is this: When we think about, discuss, read, and ruminate on others’ thoughts or opinions, most of these are out of our sphere of influence. Ultimately, in many cases, the same is true for our own repeated thoughts.
In other words, we often can’t do a thing about it. Other than giving more thought (i.e., attention and energy). Thus, this increases our anxiety, fear, and sense of having no control in life.
The more we focus on an idea, a thought, an opinion…and we have no control over what is in that thought…the more we will suffer! In these crazy COVID times, we must understand this if we are to keep our peace of mind.
What Do We Do Instead?
First, we look deeply and carefully at our minds’ content and the content we input into our minds.
See where thoughts and opinions are upsetting, and begin the remarkable journey to develop disinterest in any thought that doesn’t serve you. If an idea or opinion brings your stress, then walk away from it. Or walk away from that person expressing it. Or, in the case of your phone, put it down. Regardless, walk away from any thought that doesn’t serve you or make you happy.
Then, choose carefully what you put into your mind. Better input will create a better outlook. Guaranteed. So, select the information that inspires, makes you laugh, and opens your heart to the good stuff in life.
Finally, be clear about what you can and cannot control.
The more of your life energy, thoughts, and attention are devoted to events or circumstances outside your control…the more you will suffer.
Thus, focus only on what is within your influence to change and start there. For example, as I have written before, children are just not controllable. (Same is true for partners, wives, and husbands!) Rather than trying to control them, focus on better control of yourself, your thoughts, and where you invest your energy. Life can change quickly once we feel more in control BECAUSE we are focused upon what we can control.
But Dr. Cale, I Can’t Seem To Control My Own Thoughts And Reactions!
As you might imagine, I hear this quite a bit. Many of you grew up with anxious parents or have experienced trauma, chronic stress, or unfortunate accidents that have caused brain changes. Or there may be a variety of other factors that cause our brains to run in ways that do not serve us. And these are often entrenched deeply in the neural pathways that are chronic and hard to change.
Do not dismay! There is hope for permanent, lasting changes that can change thought patterns.
How is this done? Not medication, of course, as this comes with questionable results and long-term side effects. And, unfortunately, therapy is long, often arduous, and the results are spotty.
Yet, there is one technology that has consistently shown positive results: Neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback (which is brain wave biofeedback) has been around for decades. And without side effects, you can get lasting results. Even better, the research continues to show increasingly positive findings over the years due to changes in technology, as well as improvements in treatment protocols.
Or you can call my offices and set up a time to speak. You can reach my assistant at 518-383-0600 and ask to have a complimentary consult with Dr. Cale. I will be happy to chat with you about your options.