Updated: Nov 28, 2020
We are all prone to overthinking and this can cause mental suffering. Especially if our thoughts are negative and fearful.
But where do these thoughts come from?
Do we have control over them?
Do thoughts come into the mind automatically?
This blog is going to attempt to shed some light on the above questions.
Thoughts will always arise in the mind, but we do have a choice whether to listen to them. By becoming more aware of thoughts we can start to learn whether they hinder or help our mental wellbeing.
If we start to train our mind using meditation, our awareness, focus and attention increases and it is this we need to get to the realisation, that not all thoughts are important.
If we use CBT as an example of thoughts and their reciprocal relationship to feelings and behaviours it becomes quite obvious how meditation can help our mind become more peaceful and balanced.
Cognitive behaviour therapy talks about how thoughts have a direct affect on our feelings and behaviours.
For example when you wake up in the morning and think,
'I will not be able to cope with today, I'm sure something bad is going to happen'
The corresponding feeling to this thought could be:
A feeling of anxiety, unmotivated, tired and perhaps agitation.
The behaviour stemming from the thought might be:
You stay in bed, pull the covers back over yourself and try to avoid the day.
This is known as an anxious vicious cycle of thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
In order to break these cycles we can look at challenging thoughts or changing behaviours which in turn changes our feelings and emotions.
At this point it might be worth having a quick look at where our thoughts originated from. If we can grasp the origin of thoughts then maybe we can get to a place (through awareness training or meditation) which allows us to question the importance and relevance of thoughts as they arise in the mind.
Let's have a look.
As we develop and grow we experience many different events and situations and what happens is we interpret the event as either being good or bad. We place our own meaning onto it.
The event or situation is then stored in our memory bank as thoughts and images and beliefs.
If we interpreted the event as being bad, then this affects our emotions or feelings in a negative way.
It is not the event that caused the emotions it is the interpretation, or the thoughts we interpose onto it..
These thoughts and beliefs become a part of our identification.
Our identification or ego is made up of past experiences, situations and the meaning we interpose onto them.
These thoughts are not always true and sometimes we have incorrectly interposed negative thoughts onto situations.
This can build up a false stream of thoughts that the mind sometimes repeats.
Our identification (ego) also comes from how we think about ourselves and others. Usually this comes from comparisons and judgements.
We use others as a reference point to compare ourselves with.
We judge someone as either being better or worse, taller or smaller, larger or thiner.
This identification we make, can then cause anxiety and depression as you are comparing yourself to others.
It can lead to thoughts such as 'i am not good enough' and this affects our behaviours and feelings.
What does this all mean?
It means if we have an understanding of why thoughts arise automatically in the mind we can go about changing something.
This is where meditation comes in.
Meditation helps us become more aware of thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Meditation increases our focus and concentration. It enables us to be calmer and more peaceful. We can then be rational about all our experiences and situations.
When you meditate the automated thoughts from our identification and past experiences quieten down.
Meditation gently releases you from repeating thoughts that cause mental suffering.
It motivates you to calm the mind which allows you to have new experiences without carrying the past.
Still Mind training guides you gently to a peaceful and balanced state of mind.
I use cognitive behaviour therapy integrated with meditation to help you move quickly away from mental suffering.
To learn more please browse the website where there are free resources on meditation and CBT.
Please book a consultation if you would like to improve your state of mind and therefore your life.