So often in life we’re running on auto-pilot just going about our days and weeks without actually being actively and consciously engaged with what we’re doing. Since we are creatures of habit, we become accustomed to a routine and a way of living that, whether it’s healthy or unhealthy, becomes comfortable and hard to change. Just like driving a car and brushing our teeth, we go through the motions with these mundane tasks and kind of drift off into thought and aren’t engaged with the moment. It’s a way for our brains to conserve both energy and willpower and save them for things that may need our focused attention.
It’s pretty scary when you don’t remember your perfectly sober drive home or if you took your vitamins this morning (anyone else been there?!) How many times have you switched your mind off from conversations, connection and the world around you and scrolled through your phone or social media? Or, perhaps, instead of being “in the moment”, you’ve ruminated on something in the past or have become preoccupied planning what you’re doing later in the day or worrying about tomorrow’s schedule?
We’ve all let our unconscious mind wander and take over. The thing is that a lot of times we don’t realize when we’re doing it or perhaps think about what we are thinking about. Being emotionally aware of what our minds and brains are focusing on, I believe, is really important to living a life with intention and purpose. Think of it like a heightened sense of awareness and the ability to get out of your head and consciously take note of what you’re thinking about and focusing on. So often, we get stuck in our heads replaying the same story or narrative or we analyze something so much from every angle that we get so caught up in our thoughts and don’t even realize or notice we’re caught up in the first place.
Becoming aware of your thoughts in real-time isn’t anything new. Practicing mindfulness is the ability to focus your attention directly on something without wandering off and then bringing your attention back to it if your mind does go off on a tangent. Mindfulness is associated with enhanced self-awareness, positive well-being and cognitive control (regulation of our thinking processes). It’s about being aware, attentive and present with our thoughts and emotions.
Thinking about what you’re thinking about, I believe, allows you to make better decisions and to design your life the way you want to live it because you do have control over your mind. Getting to the point where you’re aware of your thoughts and can switch them on or off or between different mental states that you can recognize and you’re aware of (being present, learning from the past and planning for the future) takes practice.
Like riding a bike, with practice you can master it. We often spend our lives around other people or so “busy” that we don’t take a moment for “me time” where we are still in our thoughts. I challenge you to become more aware of the thoughts going through your head and to focus more on the present moment. Be engaged in the moment whatever it may be and start thinking about what you’re thinking about!
I’d love to get your thoughts on this and what you think about becoming more aware of your thoughts! Let me know in the comments below!
Love + Sweat,