Our thoughts are powerful. There is much to learn from how we think, new thoughts we create and old ones so familiar to us we are no longer aware they exist. Our ability to impact our thinking brings hope to where we want to grow and go in life. There are a few things to understand about our thoughts before we can know how best to harness the power they have over us.
Our thoughts greatly influence how we feel. Often times we don’t even notice what we are thinking until we pay attention to how we are feeling. What we think and feel is often based on the experience we just came from. There are social cues all around us, positive and negative, threatening the energy we keep. I call the negative cues, energy suckers. These challenging scenarios or people we come in contact with can take the wind out of our sail in a matter of seconds. Can you think of a time when you were feeling optimistic, on top of the world, until you connected with someone in the midst of a negativity storm? Positive or negative, emotions are contagious. We can’t control how other people show-up. We can’t control the unexpected that comes our way. So, how do we respond? What we can do is condition ourselves to be better prepared by creating our own social cues, before the storm hits. Proactive, automatic mental habits and triggers to protect us.
Creating transition space between where we are and where we are going is a great start in taking control before we are exposed to social influence around us. For example, create 5 or 10 minutes between what you are doing now and what is up next. This is a great opportunity to shed any residue of thought and emotion from where you just came from in order to reset and create new intention for how you want to show-up in the next space. Do you remember the Etch A Sketch? It’s a cool mechanical drawing toy I remember from my childhood. When you wanted to erase the sketch and start over, all you had to do was shake it and you had a clean slate. This is how I imagine transitions. A quick shake to reset and ready myself for what’s ahead.
First, quickly download any residual emotion you’re feeling from the space you just left. Sometimes this means taking notes I’ll return to at a later time, sometimes it’s taking a timeout to walk around the block to acknowledge the emotion coming up and consciously letting it go for now. Next, anchor in the present moment. Slow your breathing down, feel your feet on the ground, whatever brings you into awareness of your physical being, rest there for a moment. When we are mindful of our physical presence, it takes us out of our head and back into the present moment. Now you are ready to set intention for what’s next by starting to think about who you are going to show-up for, who you want to be and how you want them to feel. Maybe it’s a few words or mantra you consistently say to yourself. For example, before every transition I say out loud to myself–give energy, be present and inspire growth. This cue tells me I’m ready to move forward, I’m ready to show-up and serve.
Understanding the influence and impact of our thinking gives us perspective and confidence to weather whatever comes our way. We are in charge of our energy, thoughts and feelings. We are in charge of how well we show-up for other people.