Psychologists have come up with estimations of the number of thoughts the average human thinks in a day. The numbers vary wildly - anywhere from 6,000 thoughts to 60,000. I have no idea how this research was conducted as it seems rather arbitrary and difficult to determine. However the implications are obvious: our minds are like busy urban expressways, with thoughts continually coursing through them, seemingly without traffic lights or clearly marked lanes. Indeed, we have a contentious, complicated relationship with our minds.
Most of these thoughts are subconscious and automatic. We have little awareness of them. If you pause and reflect for a moment on what you are thinking, you will probably be quite surprised at the nature of these thoughts. Psychologists (probably the same ones who estimated how many thoughts we think in a day!) have postulated that up to 80% of these thoughts are negative in nature. I think most of us would agree that many of our thoughts are filled with toxic self criticism, judgment of either ourselves or others, predictions of worst-case-scenario outcomes and ruminations over past events. We torture ourselves with guilt, shame, regret, worry and what-if's. We would definitely not feel comfortable to flash our thoughts on a screen for everyone to see!
These thoughts are random and spontaneous, and are often exacerbated and troublesome for people suffering with anxiety or depression. We don't have a lot of control over what thoughts pop into our heads. It is important to remember that our minds are not "bad", it's job is to keep us safe and protect us from possible danger. However these dangerous situations are rare and often non-existent. So what to do when your thoughts won't cooperate?
First of all, you need to delve into your subconscious mind with compassionate self awareness and tune in to what kinds of thoughts your brain is producing. Recognize that you cannot trust your thoughts as a reliable source of information. Thoughts are just thoughts; they are not facts. It is important to let go of inaccurate beliefs. Be willing to challenge them and replace them with thoughts that are positive and true. Put your thoughts through a detox cycle. Start believing the best about yourself and others. And most of all, remember not to believe everything you think!