In Part 1 of this 3 Part series, you learned that your innate Super Power is your INTENTIONAL THINKING.
It’s your thoughts, those sentences in your mind, you choose to think about any given circumstance.
Now let’s take a peek into your that brain of yours to better understand our evolutionary programming. It guides all the default, auto-pilot thinking that goes on in there on any given day.
Here’s some useful information about your beautiful, brilliant brain.
Your brain’s number one job is to keep you alive.
Your primitive brain is always scanning the environment for threats that could hurt or kill you.
“Better safe than sorry” is a fitting motto for your brain.
Good job, brain. Thanks for keeping us safe so we can perpetuate our species and raise our children.
In order to keep us alive, our brains come equipped with a negativity bias.
It is designed to pay closer attention to negative stimuli than positive ones. We more easily recall the details of fights with our husbands than the romantic dinners by candlelight.
Because your primitive brain is also in control of much of your unconscious, unintentional daily thinking, much of that daily thinking skews toward the negative.
You can think of these unintentional thoughts as your auto-pilot or default thinking.
Habitual default thinking offers the path of least resistance.
Since your brain is also designed to conserve energy, it prefers to follow the path of least resistance.
It loves habits. it’s especially appreciative of habitual thinking.
Habits and habitual, tried and true thinking are far easier on the brain than having to slow down and critically evaluate everything that’s happening to you moment by moment.
This would utterly exhaust your brain. And the intense overwhelm you’d feel would communicate that discomfort loud and clear.
Since habits help the brain conserve energy, allowing you to perform many activities on auto-pilot, it’s free to scan the environment for new threats or dangers.
When habits take over, your analytical, decision-making prefrontal cortex burns less energy.
How many times have you been driving, listening to music, talking on the phone or to a passenger, and you have no memory how you arrived at your destination?
You were driving on auto-pilot. But, if a car suddenly pulled out in front of you, your primitive brain would alert you to potential danger and you’d slam on your brakes.
Out of habit, you probably find yourself thinking the same old “go-to” thoughts over and over.
Your brain is operating in default thinking mode.
These thoughts are unintentional, unplanned and most, often, you’ve not critically evaluated them for their usefulness.
They just seem to bubble up like an underground spring. You think them without even consciously realizing it.
Unfortunately, many of those “go-to” thoughts are often negative, self-critical, and harshly judgemental of others.
Those types of thoughts create feelings of unworthiness, embarrassment, frustration, resentment, and anger.
Become aware of your habitual, default thinking by writing a Thought Download (TD).
A Thought Download is a stream of consciousness series of sentences that you write down, without judgement or editing to capture your current thinking.
This visualization can help prepare you to start writing:
- Imagine your brain as an attic room.
- It’s filled to the brim with all kinds of treasures and junk you keep stored up there.
- Once you open the door, you shine your flashlight high and low, into every nook and cranny.
- Then, in no particular order, you begin to notice and catalogue whatever you see that captures your attention.
- Now imagine that all the treasures and junk you’ve stored in the attic are your thoughts.
- Now you are ready to identify your thoughts.
Try your own Thought Download (TD).
- Grab a notebook or a piece of paper and a pen. (I keep all my TDs in a notebook saved just for this purpose.)
- You might want to set a timer for 5 minutes, 10 minutes or more — whatever works for you, to jump start the process.
- If it’s helpful, you can use a visualization like I just described above to prime your brain before you begin to write.
- Ask yourself this simple question as you scan your attic/brain: What’s on my mind right now?
- Write down your thoughts as your stream of consciousness carries you in its flow.
- There’s no right or wrong way to do this.
- Just let those sentences in your mind tumble out as you capture them on paper.
- You’re not looking for any rhyme or reason yet, just capture your current thinking.
Separate the circumstances from your thoughts.
Now, using what you’ve learned about the difference between a circumstance and a thought, identify the factual. neutral circumstances. Underline them. Highlight them. In some way, differentiate them from your thoughts.
Notice that most of what you’ve written are thoughts, not circumstances.
Notice that when you think certain thoughts, they generate certain feelings. This awareness is key to understanding how to manage your emotional life.
Your thoughts create your feelings which drive your behavior.
Once you recognize that your thoughts create your feelings, you can begin to see the relationship between your thoughts, your feelings, your behavior and the results you are experiencing in your life.
You can develop the ability to modify, change, shift, amplify, or delete any thoughts you choose to generate the feelings you want to feel on purpose.
This is how you learn to manage your emotional life.
This is how you engage your Super Power of INTENTIONAL THINKING.
Did you take a peek at your unintentional, default thinking?
Do you like the default thoughts you see inside that brain of yours?
Did your Thought Download reveal thoughts you want to keep, challenge or change?
Stay tuned for Part 3 to learn how to challenge or change those thoughts.
Can’t wait? Ready to start creating intentional thoughts right now?
I’ve got you.
Contact me right here to get started.