Are you an over thinker? Do you analyse every scenario? Do you sometimes find yourself in a vicious intrusive thought trap? You may have thought things about yourself such as, “I’m ugly”, “I’m not good enough” or “This WILL go wrong” but did you know that often these thoughts, belief systems and stories we tell ourselves, are actually not real?
When discovering the book The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, I was astounded at the concept that more often than not, our thoughts are a conjuring of our own mind and are often not facts, but stories we tell ourselves.
If you break down what thoughts actually are, you will realise that our thoughts are just words. We have a never ending commentary in our minds, a radio station that sometimes gets stuck on the same channel, and we become hooked on stories we tell ourselves, believing them to be true.
Russ Harris challenges the reality of our thinking. He looks at how our happiness depends on a habit of mind WE actually cultivate. We drown in the stories we tell ourselves, and can become a crazy thought factory that often causes us emotional harm.
How do we stop this? It’s not easy, but we must start noticing our thoughts. Especially when we find ourself in a negative state of mind. We must create space and look at our ‘thinking mind’ as an observer and we must challenge if our thoughts are actually true. Am I not good enough? Who says. What are the facts behind this belief. Often you will find there are none and this is when the thought will become fiction and you will detach from it.
This way of living requires practice. The human mind is constantly thinking. It can be difficult to stop and observe and it’s almost impossible to turn the radio station of our mind off but, it is possible to change the channel. All we can do is step back, listen to the ‘words’ we are telling ourselves and try and choose or diffuse them.
Learning this tool can be astoundingly liberating. Rather than being a slave to your mind, you can become the master and choose what thoughts are healthy for you.
So remember, when you are experiencing intrusive thoughts; thoughts are not reality. They are just thoughts created by you.