We think 60,000 thoughts a day
They generally follow one another in a familiar pattern, run as an undercurrent every waking moment, follow us into sleep and influence our dreams. We may occasionally be aware of what we’re thinking but most of the time our thoughts effortlessly chug along all on their own.
Realistically, it would be impossible to live a normal life while attempting to count and track thousands of thoughts. Apart from researchers, who would want to? But it can be transforming to become aware of how we are thinking at least some of the time.
Our thoughts are influenced by previous thoughts and what is happening around us – a song, tone of voice, facial expression, or movie can instantly change a track of thought as well as feelings. We may suddenly feel sad, nostalgic, romantic, fearful or angry.
My grandfather smoked a soft, rich aromatic tobacco in his pipe. Sometimes I will think of him, wonder what brought him to mind and notice the familiar smell of tobacco that someone is smoking nearby.
Releasing past stress and trauma is crucial to our wellbeing.
Research shows that childhood trauma can show up as cancer in middle age. This may be because the undercurrent of memory influences thoughts and emotions that impact our physiology – all happening at a subconscious level.
Is your past influencing your present and future health and happiness?
Here is a quick check:
- Breathe gently and easily and feel relaxed and calm.
- Look at old photos or remember one highlight or low moment in your past.
- For a few moments or minutes, with your present day knowledge, understanding and growth, imagine you are back in that situation again.
- How do you feel? (calm, upset, happy, in or out of control … )
- If you do not feel like an understanding observer, what do you need to do to feel that way? (find ways to understand yourself or someone else, forgive yourself or someone else; learn new coping skills; or … ) Then take some suitable healing action.
- If you are feeling compassionate and understanding, congratulate yourself for having healed and grown from that experience.
- Then, in due course, choose another memory to check.
To be rendered harmless, negative memories/feelings need to become neutral over time.
Cruelty or unkindness can be recognized as unacceptable, but no longer felt within your emotions/body/mind.
Seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed.
Healing the past is not self-indulgent, it is essential – and it can take time.
With awareness we can check and adjust our thoughts and feelings, neutralize the negative effects of past stress and trauma, and maximize our understanding, wellbeing and happiness.