What does it mean to practice conscious thought? Does it mean active thinking? Does it mean engaging with your thoughts? Conscious thinking is actively engaging with your thoughts and being aware of their effect on you. Conscious thinking for you might mean actively engaging with your thoughts and having the awareness to address why you have them and how they affect you. But if you’re someone who practices intentional living, then you might take it a step further. When we begin living intentionally, we’re creating a space to heal the past, present, and future versions of ourselves. By practicing conscious thought, you never deny internal conversations. Instead, you welcome your thoughts and actively address how to change your negative thinking.
In my three-step coaching method: structure, mindset, and vision, we discuss the effects of conscious thinking on your expansion and healing. To have structure, we must build a strong mindset. To have a vision, we must heal our former beliefs. But, the center of our success lies with our mindset as it is now, once was, and will be. Practicing conscious thought will heal your mind if you’re in the beginning or even the depths of your healing. Its benefits go far beyond the present moment. It actively assists you in healing neural pathways you’ve built over time that reinforce whatever you believe in yourself. By practicing conscious thought, you “de-program” former beliefs and replace them with affirmations of worthiness.
Conscious Thinking is the Expansion of Your Mind
I’ve offered you a lot of science in the past as to why and how healing your mind is so critical to your healing and expansion. Today, I’d like to expand further on how practicing conscious thinking expands your life just as it is today. In a previous blog post, Learning to Let Go of Control through Mindfulness and Trust, I discuss in more depth the science behind the mind, our NLP, and neural pathways. I encourage you to read that post or listen to the Podcast episode, Control, the NLP, and How to Un-Leanr Behavior (episode 36).
Practicing Habital Thoughts
When I talk about conscious thinking, I don’t mean actively thinking to yourself, “I’m driving a car,” or “I’m getting in an elevator.” I’m talking about your thoughts about yourself and your life. Things like, “I can’t do this,” or, “I’m not smart enough.” All our lives, we practice negative and habitual thought patterns that shape what we believe about ourselves. And every time you think to yourself you can’t do something or you’re not worthy of something, you’re further reinforcing that thought. But, when we practice conscious thinking as a pre-emptive awareness of our thoughts, we can catch ourselves before the idea takes form as further proof of whatever we negatively believe about ourselves.
How to Reverse Negative Thought Patterns
Whenever you catch a negative thought creeping up, you have to take a few actions. First, and most importantly, never berate yourself further by thinking, “wow, I suck for saying that about myself.” That thought only came to mind because you’ve been thinking it for so long. It’s become a habit. Habits are just as hard to break, if not more challenging, as they are to establish. So the first thing you need to do when you catch a thought is to recognize it and try to replace it as quickly as possible. Stop yourself, and acknowledge that what you were just about to do was practice a habit you’re trying to break. Once you’ve acknowledged it, move on, or replace it with an affirmation.
This is your new habit. Even by simply interrupting a thought, you’re creating a new subconscious belief that the previous thought is no longer valid. Every time you interrupt those negative thoughts and move on or replace them with an affirmation, you’re creating a new neural pathway and chipping away at the old one. It’s incredibly hard to break that habit of thinking negatively about yourself. We practice it so often that the thought eventually becomes a belief. We believe so deeply that we are something or we can’t achieve something that we’ve entirely convinced ourselves it’s true. But if we can create that belief with a negative thought, imagine creating such a belief with a positive thought.
Conscious Thinking Will Change Your Mind
It’s amazing how many thoughts we have a day that we’re not actively acknowledging. We don’t think about breathing or the lyrics to the song we’re singing in the car. We don’t think about how to pour water into a cup or typing a password into the computer. There is so much we do right from the subconscious mind. Realizing that, you might think we’d have more time and energy to consciously acknowledge the thoughts that deserve our attention. It’s easy to focus on a positive thought, like doing really well with a presentation. But often, when we’re made uncomfortable by a thought, we’re more inclined to ignore it, push it down, and pretend it doesn’t exist.
But what if we actively choose to acknowledge a thought? What happens if the next time you hear yourself thinking something negative, you stop and ask, “Why do I think that?” Conscious thinking will become your superpower to living an intentional life. It means having greater self-awareness, love, and compassion for yourself. It means putting yourself in a place of growth rather than tearing yourself down. When we practice intentional living—creating a better and happier life for ourselves, conscious thinking becomes second nature. Overall, we’re far more connected to ourselves as who we are now, who we once were, and who we would like to be.
grab a coffee and listen to the podcast!
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Head over to the Do the Damn Thing Podcast on Apple or Spotify and listen to the conversation! The podcast is an open forum conversation where we dive even deeper into all that is intentional living.