Have you ever stopped to think about the number of thoughts you think a day? I mean, my mind is constantly going so the number has got to be high, right? So, I do what we all do when we have a question these days, I asked Google. A brief search revealed that apparently we think about 50,000-70,000 thoughts a day. Wow. That. Is. A. Big. Number. Now I cannot verify this with a scientific study and the social researcher in me is annoyed by that…. but we can all agree on this, we think A LOT! Which means! I guess that could be a good thing or bad thing depending on what we say to ourselves. Do we stop and consider the message, tone, and implication of our thoughts? Are our thoughts helping or hurting us? How accurate are our thoughts?
Here’s something I have observed as a therapist. Most of our thoughts are opinions and not facts.
This may not seem earth-shattering news to you but stick with me. Opinions are not facts…they are debatable…there is always another opposing opinion. The problem comes when we:
- Treat these opinion statements as facts
- Incorporate them into our identity.
We might think, “I am unsafe in an airplane”. Now that is an opinion thought. Other people can tell me how safe airplanes are. Yet, I am going to listen to my opinion thought because I’m treating it as fact and it is reinforced by a strong fear emotion. Viewing this opinion thought as a fact keeps me from flying and limits my freedom to travel.
Now imagine if most of our 50,000 thoughts are opinion thoughts that we treat as fact. Seriously, consider this…consider each strong emotion….is there an opinion thought behind it?
How often do our own thoughts mislead and deceive us, leaving us overwhelmed? Perhaps part of “taking our thoughts captive” is this recognition of opinion thoughts and their influence over our emotions and perspective.Perhaps part of “taking our thoughts captive” is this recognition of opinion thoughts. Click To Tweet
PAUSE: Consider pressing the pause button when you feel a strong emotion. Stop. Take a few slow deep breaths. Invite God into the moment. Observe the world with your 5 senses.
ZOOM OUT: Zoom out to consider if there it is an opinion or fact thought. If it is an opinion, what are the absolute facts of the situation?
SHARE: Share your reflections with a safe friend. Talking out loud to helps your brain pause, zoom out, and reflect. Plus it helps you make sense of what seems overwhelming in the moment. No safe friends available, then write about it, maybe write to God.Our thoughts are powerful. Click To Tweet
Our thoughts are powerful. How we speak to us matters….we often are more critical and harsh with ourselves than anyone else is. What if we pledged to think about our thoughts? What if by doing so we could change how we think? What if this changes our lives? As always, if you need help find a good counselor who can help you with this process. Hang on to hope!!What if we pledged to think about our thoughts? What if this changes our lives? Click To Tweet