If you have ever tried to meditate, you have probably experienced the difficulty of controlling, or even slowing down, your thoughts. Your mind races like a wild monkey, gathering ideas here and memories there, all the while leaving a nagging sense that you should be able to direct your thoughts, but can’t.
While it may be difficult to control your actual thoughts, you can have complete control over the tone and tenor of your thoughts.
Consider this: Do you generally think kind, affirming, uplifting and expansive thoughts? Or do your thoughts tend to be of a more negative, critical and contractive nature? I would like to suggest that we are happier when we think positive thoughts, and less happy when we think negative thoughts.
And what is the easiest way to flip the switch from negative to positive thinking?
This can be answered in three words: Breathe in beauty.
Let me explain.
When our thoughts are spiraling down a path of negativity, they will continue in this direction because it is the path of least resistance. Months or years of pessimistic thinking create grooves in the neural pathways of the brain. The result: the more frequently a thought pattern is repeated, the more likely it is to be repeated in the future.
Breaking this unwanted pattern requires an active shift of focus. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to think of something beautiful.
For example, think of a dramatic golden sunset. Or imagine the sound of your child’s merry giggle. Or remember the feeling of delight when you lost yourself in creating art or solving an equation or playing a song on a musical instrument.
Do you feel better?
The point here is that you can’t think negative thoughts and beautiful thoughts at the same time. Nope, it can’t be done.
So, begin to retrain your brain. Breathe in beauty. The next time you catch yourself with a negative or worrisome thought, try one of the following:
- Look at something beautiful
- Smell something wonderful
- Listen to something inspiring
- Recall something delightful
Close your eyes. Take a slow, deep inhalation, and breathe in that beauty.
Repeat. As needed. Allow this way of thinking to become your new normal — your new neural path of least resistance. And see if you don’t feel happier, and perhaps even calmer, than you did before.