Unlocking the Power of our Thoughts: The Conscious and Unconscious Mind
According to popular searches on Google, an average person has approximately 70,000 thoughts per day. Even thought-leader Deepak Chopra suggests people experience anywhere from 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts each day. While the exact number might differ depending on how we define a "thought," for the purpose of our discussion, it doesn't really matter. What's crucial is the understanding that, throughout each day, the majority of our thoughts are unconscious, surpassing the number of thoughts we're consciously aware of.
The Conscious and Unconscious Minds: Behind the Scenes
Let's consider an instance where we're actively thinking – like unraveling a complex problem or deciding what to prepare for dinner. This is our conscious mind at work, the part of our thinking we're completely aware of. Yet, what we often overlook is the substantial amount of thought processes happening "backstage" in our minds, which we barely realize. These are our unconscious thoughts, akin to all the work happening behind the scenes in a theatre performance, out of sight but vital to the overall play.
The Significance of Understanding Our Thoughts
Understanding our thoughts, both conscious and unconscious, is instrumental as they mold our reality. Our thoughts greatly influence our perceptions, feelings, behaviors, and overall wellbeing. If we unknowingly cling to self-limiting or self-deprecating thoughts, it could result in low self-esteem, reduced motivation, or even depression over time. In contrast, nurturing aligned, empowering thoughts can boost our confidence, resilience, and overall sense of wellness.
Cultivating Mindfulness: Managing our Mental Garden
The sheer volume of unconscious thoughts we generate each day emphasizes the need to train our minds for increased awareness. This mental acuity, often referred to as "mindfulness" or "metacognition," allows us to monitor our thought patterns and assess their alignment with our goals.
Consider this analogy: our mind is a garden, and our thoughts are the seeds. Some seeds will blossom into beautiful flowers, while others will grow into invasive weeds. Much like a diligent gardener tends to their garden, removing weeds and nurturing flowers, we should manage our mental garden, disarming disempowering thoughts (weeds) and encouraging empowering ones (flowers).
Mindfulness enables us to notice recurring thought patterns and understand their impact on our feelings and actions. Are these thought patterns serving our best interests, moving us closer to our goals, or are they hindering our progress?