As I drive up Central California, destination B.C. Canada, a flood of thoughts and images begin to fill my mind as I gaze off into the open road and the majestic landscape. My mind is active, my body on auto-pilot as the minutes turn into hours of open two way roads. I begin to observe my thoughts and take note of their positive or negative direction….
As we hustle through each day, repeating our daily habits: The same routine, the drive to work, the same drive home stuck in traffic, we train our bodies and minds to run by routine. We must remember that our mind needs to be enticed, focused, plugged in, like a switchboard operator. The question is, do you have control of the plugs? Where are your thoughts wandering to? Are these subconscious thoughts stressful? Joyful? Scattered? Confused? These are the thoughts that lay the foundation to your reality. They have the potential to become harmful to your health, but also become healing, cleansing and rejuvenating.
As we move throughout the day on auto-pilot, our minds will begin to wander, while the breath follows closely behind.. If these wandering thoughts are stressful then the breath becomes shortened, resulting in less oxygen to the entire body. How powerful is that? One thought can change your body. When we think stressful thoughts it has a physical effect on our body, within each cell. Resulting in physical tension, chronic pain, and the body working in overdrive.
These moments on auto-pilot are where the problems can be created…
The mind must be plugged into something. If you don’t control the plug, your mind will find something to think about. The plug will control you. These are the thoughts that shape your reality.
So how do we control this reaction?
We must recognize stressful thoughts and breathing patterns and the key to this recognition and control (with practice) is mental effort. Yes, it takes work. You must train yourself, just like you have trained yourself to ride a bike, perform a new task at work, cook meals, and each time the task was performed you became more efficient, requiring less time for the same amount of work.
Remember the last time you got in your car and later you realized that you automatically started driving to work? Or the moment when you were driving a long distance and you then realize you have no recollection of the last few miles?
Those are the moments we are on auto-pilot.
We must learn to recognize where our mind goes during these moments…
This involves pulling out the stressful plugs and plugging back into where ever YOU want your mind to go. You have choice.
Recognize the thought and then connect it with a calm breathing pattern.
And YES, this would mean you are talking to yourself. But that is what mental effort is essentially; talking and directing you through this life.
If your breath is always shortened or being held due to stressful thoughts and environments then how is your body able to heal correctly? Or heal at all? And yes, your body has the capacity to heal itself and even improve itself.
What if you spent the time in your car or at work actually pumping oxygen to the entire body instead of depriving it? How much better do you think you would feel? Oxygen is the fuel just like your engine requires gas and oil.
So whenever you remember or recognize a stressful thought, take deep a breath into the belly, trying to inhale and exhale for as long as you can (You can check out my post about belly breathing for more info) and try to keep your thoughts positive. There is power in connecting a deep calm breath to a positive thought.
This is where the training begins….
Create the reality you want within your daydream….Use mantras (i.e. I am strong, I am abundant, I will succeed) or just keep your daydreams filled with happy thoughts and memories. You can also focus on what is going on at that moment, notice your surroundings, the sounds, sites, etc. Be present. Your body will thank you…. OR spend that time thinking of all the negative things that could happen. That is up to you….
When you are on autopilot or plugged into stressful thoughts, you must pull them out, and redirect the plug. Take control. As you learn to recognize thought patterns and replace them with deep breath and positive thoughts you will notice that you are naturally taking deeper breaths or thinking more positive thoughts, automatically.
So where else can you apply this:
- At work
- Waiting in line
- Before bed
- The list goes on… what would you add to this list??