Here's What Would Happen if You Were Aware of Your Thoughts on a Daily Basis

While sitting in my sunroom this morning sipping tea, I remembered a very interesting dream. Here in the states, the police have a mechanism for checking how fast people drive in busy neighborhoods by using something called a radar speed sign - a sign that flashes your speed as you drive by. 

In my dream, I was driving down a neighborhood street when I came upon one of these signs. However, as I drove toward it, the sign didn't flash my speed, it flashed my thoughts - the actual thoughts I was thinking in that very moment (anxious thoughts about being late for an appointment). I was so amazed by what I saw I turned around to drive by again. Sure enough, as I pulled up, the sign flashed my actual thoughts: "I can't believe what I'm seeing."  

When I woke from the dream I laid in bed thinking about what life would be like if each of us had a flashing "thought meter" on our street. Just imagine. Each day, as you traveled to and from work or from doing errands, you'd be able to catch a glimpse of what you're thinking. What thoughts would you see on most days? Would they be positive, life-enhancing thoughts or worrisome ones that steal your energy?  

If you find yourself in the latter category, don't be alarmed. The truth is most of us live with a majority of less-than-desirable thoughts running around in our heads. Rather than beat yourself up, better to slow down and focus on getting a better reading on the meter.  

Over the years I've learned that awareness in and of itself can provoke positive change. That's because the moment I notice that I have a negative thought, I'm reminded to shift my mind to something more positive. And then the fun begins. When I focus my mind on something good, it creates good feelings, and those good feelings inspire me to make better choices. Better choices in turn, give me a better life that creates even better thoughts and feelings.  

The same is true for you. Let's imagine that you're worried about paying your bills. When you turn your thought meter on, you notice that your mind is filled with all kinds of frightening images about what's going to happen because of how little money you have. Every time you leave your house, you see scary thoughts appear on the neighborhood meter. 

But, if you make a choice to shift these thoughts to something like "I have the power within me to improve my financial health," and you keep returning to this thought, it will automatically make you feel empowered to change your circumstances. This feeling of being empowered - a life-affirming feeling - will lead you to find actions you can take right now to improve your financial situation. Then, once you identify an action and take it, you not only change the course of your life, you reinforce your positive thoughts and the cycle starts all over again.  

So, the first step toward success is to turn on your thought meter. To that end, check out this week's Take Action Challenge for three ways to do just that.  

Take Action Challenge   

Ready to monitor your thoughts? Here are three things you can do to create your own thought meter: 

  1. Set an alarm on your computer or wristwatch for every 30 minutes and, when it goes off, notice your thoughts. 
  2. Purchase colored stickers to place around your home and office. Then, each time you see one, stop and take note of your thoughts. 
  3. Download an app like TellMeLater or Intention Reminder and create reminder posts throughout the day every day. When one pops up, stop and monitor your thoughts.  

Once you become aware of any negative thoughts, choose one area that feels most overwhelming and develop a simple phrase that will start to counteract these unhelpful thinking patterns. Start with just one area of your life and keep shifting your thoughts. You'll be amazed by what happens!  

I guarantee you that the cat in this video is thinking good thoughts. Watch it here. Thanks, Ania! 



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Cheryl Richardson

Cheryl Richardson is the author of The New York Times bestselling books, Take Time for Your Life, Life Makeovers, Stand Up for Your Life, The Unmistakable Touch of Grace and her new book The Art of Extreme Self Care. She was the first president of the International Coach Federation and holds one of their first Master Certified Coach credentials.

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