The 1 thing you could learn right now that would be handy for the rest of your life is: You’re not your thoughts. It’s commonplace to accept your ideas as real, because you encounter them and conclude that they have to be true. For instance, if a friend does not return your telephone call, you might entertain negative thoughts and assume that they do not care about you.
This may lead to spiralling ideas and toxic emotions. When the individual does return your call, you will without doubt give them a piece of your mind and remind them you deserve respect. But let’s back up for a minute and examine this situation further. You created a psychological interpretation of a situation you knew little about and connected significance to it. Despite the fact that there could be several possible reasons why your friend did not call, you jumped to the wrong conclusion.
You focussed on the negative aspects, rather than considering different reasons for their lack of communication. We do it often, though the other person may have an unblemished track-record of returning calls. We assume the worst situation and take action, believing we had been abused. So, why are we so inclined to negativity in these circumstances? Is it an evolutionary mechanism or is negativity wired into our DNA? Garret Kramer at The Path of No Resistance: Why Overcoming is Simpler than You Think.
They think negativity is part of our genetic constitution, designed to help us identify impending threat within the environment. It’s a biological mechanism to protect us, yet it is not as relevant in contemporary society than it did when our ancestors roamed the savannah. Your mind employs negativity as a kind of feedback to guard you from impending danger, otherwise called a Negativity Bias.
However, in the situation described earlier, you’re convinced your friend didn’t care for you and you’re ready to face them because your feelings were hurt. Negativity isn’t necessarily bad, I’d argue. It’s something we have to take into consideration in our everyday lives, but we should not perceive it as detrimental. When I say you’re not your thoughts, I’m implying your experience of your ideas will not define you as an individual.
Thoughts are projections occurring in mind to which you assign significance. How do we know this for sure? We could survey a hundred people and ask them how they’re likely to respond in a similar situation. Some may stretch the truth, but most will provide an accurate reaction.
- Some will say it does not bother them that their friend did not return their call.
- Others will answer that it does bothers them.
- Another group are impartial.
- The last group haven’t given it much consideration to take offence.
Master Orgyen Chowang in Our Pristine Mind: A Practical Guide to Unconditional Happiness. Your ideas are influenced by many different factors, including: your past conditioning, the use of anxiety in your life, your level of consciousness, your overall outlook on life, whether you are a pessimist or an optimist, and your state of health.
Those who suffer from poor health due to inadequate nutrition, lack of exercise and sleep, are biologically prone to negativity. I realise that this is a huge declaration. However, without turning this into a ten thousand word article citing scientific and medical literature, the health of your microbiome affects your psychological and emotional well-being to a large extent. Your thoughts and feelings are influenced by: the foods you eat, how much you sleep and if you exercise.
These factors impact the gut-brain axis, which regulates the immune system and your interactions with others. How can we know for sure that food affects your ideas? Whilst I realise that this is observational evidence, think about how you feel when you suffer with: constipation, diarrhoea, food poisoning, parasites or bacterial infections, gut disease, intoxication and hunger?
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These factors affect your mood, which in turn affects your ideas. So the axiom ‘You are what you eat’ rings true in this situation. Thoughts passing through your mind aren’t who you are, they’re projections in mind. They’re predisposed by factors within and outside your control. Thoughts can be likened to a radio that receives AM and FM frequencies and transmits them via radio waves. You’re the receiver of ideas. Thinking is the process of electrical impulses within the brain which produces thoughts.
Depending upon your past conditioning, genetic constitution and epigenetics, you might be more prone to negative ideas than you realise. Nevertheless, this does not mean you’re a negative person. It simply meansyour bandwidth is more likely to negativity because your biological environment is conducive to it. I should state that I am referring to someone who’s constantly in a negative condition, not one who sometimes thinks negatively.
It also needs to be said, negative ideas are helpful if we take the time to analyze them. There’s usually an underlying mechanism as to why they prevail. If we would like to change our bandwidth away from negativity, we must first attend our surroundings. For instance, engaging in self-exploration helps us understand the nature of negative ideas. Underlying negativity is a dysfunctional belief system embraced earlier in life that includes not being secure. Your body is an integrated organism that is based on various branches of your physiology to operate.
They communicate with each other and relay data through the central nervous system and elements of the brain. So, even eating something as straightforward as chocolate can affect your thoughts and send a cascade of impulses throughout your body. Candace Pert’s work with opiate receptors, as the cellular binding site for endorphins in the brain, revealed that our bodies are a giant system of communication channels.
This is empowering for many reasons, least of that it means we can affect our ideas by being mindful of these and our surroundings. The age old debate of Nature vs Nurture now indicates we ought to Nurture Nature. I hope you now appreciate you’re not your ideas but the receiver of ideas. Your surroundings, the past and present has an influence on your ideas more than you realise. Whilst we are wired for negativity, you shouldn’t feel helpless due to this. However, if you appreciate your disposition towards negativity, you are most likely to handle it better through mindfulness.