Sort your thoughts by taking care of your mind

IF YOU have read any of our posts before, you may know that we refer to the conscious and unconscious parts of the brain. Put simply, the conscious part comprises about 5-10% and the unconscious 90-95%.

Both parts work together although they have different roles. That's all well and good except that the conscious part thinks it's in control and it's not.

The conscious looks after mental processes. An example would be allowing us to recognise when we're hungry and getting something to eat and offers rational, logical thoughts and decision making.

The unconscious part essentially runs and preserves the body, stores and organises memories and gives rise to perception, skills, behaviour, instincts, habits and reactions that we are not consciously aware of. It also interprets the world symbolically rather than literally and doesn't process negatives directly. So, read the following sentence and notice what happens:

Don't think of an orange elephant.

Did you think of an orange elephant?

So with that as an example, consider how many times a day you say something negative to yourself or talk about what you don't want. Many of us have very negative conversations with ourselves, saying things that we wouldn't dream of saying out loud or to others but our unconscious processes the negatives and interprets what we are saying to be what we want. "I (don't) want to fail the exam", "I (mustn't) sleep through my alarm", "I (don't) want to be unfit and overweight".

Picture the unconscious as a fertile garden that will nourish whatever is planted there. Sow and feed toxic plants and they will flourish. Sow and feed a flower and the flower will bloom. A negative thought or statement is like a toxic plant, a positive thought or statement resembles a flower. With regular nourishment and lack of control, toxic plants will quickly grow strong and choke the most beautiful of gardens and it takes a focused approach to re-establish the garden again.

If you are aware that you have a tendency for negative thoughts and if it feels as though you are not where you want to be in your life, it's worth taking time to check your external and internal conversations, become aware of the impact and consider how you can reframe. And that's as simple as changing the negative part of the thought or conversation to a positive.

What are you planting?

Rowena Hardy is a facilitator, performance coach and partner of Minds Aligned:

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