26 Jul Feeding from your thoughts
“A man is what he thinks he is” Chinese Proverb
As I am convinced that we did not come to this world simply to consume, gossip, pay bills and create garbage, (among many other things), this blog is mostly a reflection on those negative behavioral patterns most people have and prevent them from shining with their own light. It is not a sermon on how to live life, since each one has a different path with specific lessons to learn. Rather, it is my personal view of how our thoughts build us or destroy us and ways to live in abundance.
We nurture ourselves from many sources: food, relationships, the environment, spirituality (whichever spiritual path you choose), physical activity and thoughts. The latter is the topic I want to focus on today. Everything is intimately linked and connected. It is not possible to have a healthy existence only by having green smoothies with oatmeal cookies if your attitude towards life is constantly negative and pessimistic.
Have you ever wondered who is the person you most talk to? When I ask this question to friends and clients, many times the answer is “with my husband”, “my mom”, “my best friend”. But we do not really realize that the person we talk to the most is inside our head. Most of the time we are in an incessant conversation and we are building reality from that conversation. We also define ourselves based on what others think of us and by listening to this chat, we end up believing it.
What are your opinions about yourself? How many thoughts are constructive? How many of them are mental garbage? (By mental garbage I refer to assumptions, to matters that have already passed and cannot be changed or that have not yet happened). Personally, I could not say with certainty how many, but I know there are many.
It is not an easy task to be an observer of thoughts instead of being the main actor. It is something that requires effort and unfortunately in the world we live in, we are motivated to live on automatic pilot, distracted by obligations, social networks, technology. People want immediate results to lose weight, be successful, earn money and prestige. The culture of effort has been lost and those who have discipline are seen as endangered species.
We differentiate ourselves from animals in the sense that we have the capacity to reflect and therefore, we can make changes if we work with intention.
If we look at scientific studies in neuroscience, the mental state most comfortable for the human being is to remain with the known. In other words, stay in the comfort zone, even if it isn’t a constructive situation. It takes more effort, courage and discipline to adopt a dynamic and positive vision towards life. We could say fear limits us from leaving the comfort zone and therefore many live with uneasiness, despair, boredom, which is reflected in the physical body and in the way, we relate to the environment.
Let’s look at this situation
Manuel is a man with constant digestive problems that overwhelm him, diminishing his quality of life. He doesn’t do any physical activity and manages high levels of stress at work. Normally he doesn’t eat breakfast, but he has big lunch and dinner. He suffers from IBS, reflux and insomnia. When he sees himself in the mirror, he doesn’t like what he sees. He sees himself fat and tired. Every time he socializes with his friends, he eats whatever is put in front of him because it gives him pleasure, for a moment everything that is ugly and complicated in his life disappears. To feel better, Manuel prefers to take a couple of pills for indigestion and throw himself on the couch to watch TV.
The idea of making changes in his lifestyle seems an impossible task, he would have to observe his habits and consciously decide what he should do physical and mental adjustments. It will always be easier to turn a blind eye, to ignore and keep repeating the same story in his head:
“Going to work is a total pain in the neck. If I was a millionaire, I would have a gorgeous woman by my side and I would not be this lonely. I’m not enough. At least I can enjoy myself eating what I like on the weekend. Yes, I’m fat, but it’s not that bad either. Besides, what’s the point of taking care of myself that much if I’m going to die of something? I’ll just relax watching TV. ”
I’m sure many of you know people like Manuel. It is not surprising that, according to statistics from the World Health Organization, obesity has almost tripled since 1975 in the world.
Every time we assume the observer role instead of the acting role in the story we mentally tell ourselves, we are giving perspective to reality. The world that everyone creates in their head only makes sense to the one who tells it. If we are saying that being overweight is normal, that we “deserve to treat ourselves” with the choices we make and we keep telling the same story, it is very difficult to get out of the mental framework that limits us.
Both neuroscience and the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism show us that we have the ability to create new brain connections through the observation (without opinions, or judgments) of reality and a reflection before action. For those who want to learn more about this topic that I find fascinating, I recommend Dr. Mario Alonso Puig in this conference that is very interesting. (I have already named it in other blogs) and the book “The 10 Secrets of Abundant Happiness” by Adam J Jackson, English lawyer and writer who decided to leave his career in Law to focus on health sciences and alternative therapies. Both authors focus on this topic: attitude and ways to change mental patterns to have a happier, peaceful and abundant life.
This is all for now, but I won’t say good bye without saying that my glass is always half full (never half empty), I hope this blog inspires you to reflect so your glass is never half empty.
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