Thoughts

Good morning my friends, Happy October! I’m sitting here deep in thought and wondering where time has gone. I remember exactly what I was doing this time last year and I can’t believe that was a whole year ago. Time really does fly and apparently still does even during a pandemic.

Our thoughts are everything and nothing at the same time. What we think is ultimately how we end up feeling and portraying to the world. Our thoughts can make, or break us. They are so powerful, yet it’s because we give them power. If we have a thought and try to look at it logically and to acknowledge the thought, yet not let it consume us, we realize that we are in control, we have the power. Regain control of your mind that likes to run so freely. A thought is just a thought unless we make it something more!

The Secret Behind Triggers

Do you ever feel like you are just going about your day and a certain situation, or person’s actions changes your mood in an instant?  We all have certain triggers in life that evoke a very strong and emotional response from us, these triggers vary greatly from one person to the next, but are very powerful as they are connected deep inside of us.

A trigger is something that evokes a strong emotional response, something that goes way deeper than average.  Triggers are anything that remind us of certain events from out past, they can be arguments, holidays, abandonment, traumas, public speaking, socializing, medical issues, the list is truly endless.  Sometimes we are triggered by something we are not even aware of, but our subconscious picks up on it.

trigger1

I am a pretty even-tempered person, even though my mind is steadily going, I’ve been told that I have a very laid back personality.  Just like anyone else, I have things that trigger me.  For me, the biggest thing that triggers me is when someone disrespects me.  I make every conscious effort in my being to respect others, so when that is not given, or returned, I have a very hard time dealing with it.  I am also triggered by being in a group of people, certain social situations, and being talked down to, or criticized.  These all create a deep emotional response within me.  I know that these things are triggers for me, so I work extra hard to think logically and not let my emotions get the best of me when they arise.  Due to triggers often being tied to past events, it’s even more difficult to control your response, which is often quick and automatic, but by realizing what upsets you and allowing yourself distance from the trigger, you can better manage and reflect.

Knowing your triggers and knowing yourself in general are very beneficial when encountering things that you know set you off.  If you are getting into a situation that you know will cause you stress and anxiety, you can prepare yourself mentally and hope for a better outcome than if you had not prepared.  Often times talking out a series of events, or even journaling can bring about some amazing insight that you may have otherwise not found.

It’s natural to want to avoid what triggers us because we don’t want the unpleasant feelings that come with it, however if we do not push ourselves to go against our fears, we will never conquer them.  Growth happens when you make an effort to challenge what controls you!

trigger2

Hamster Wheel

Our brain is a very interesting and powerful organ. Whatever we feed it can make or break us. Our minds soak up a lot of information including the thoughts that we have and if we are not consciously filtering our thoughts, they can really take over us. Sometimes this process is slow, or we do not recognize how we are shaping our brain, but it truly does eventually have a great impact.

Have you ever been thinking of something, or worried about something and then before you know it you are thinking about that thought over and over again? Or, maybe your mind may have thought up many new thoughts that led to other thoughts and then you forgot the one you were originally thinking about! Our minds can take a thought and run with it if we let it.

thinking1

You may have heard of the terms hamster wheel and snowball effect. Both describe what happens to our brain when we overthink, or think in an anxious manner. The hamster wheel basically describes how someone persistently thinks the same thoughts over and over again, but gets nowhere because their thoughts go around and around in circles like a hamster running on a hamster wheel. The snowball effect states that our thoughts continue to gain momentum and power the more that we keep thinking. Like a snowball that gets bigger as it rolls down a hill, the thoughts keep gaining speed and power as it collects more momentum, our thoughts are fueling more thoughts.

These patterns of thinking happen to all of us, but I feel like they may be more common in individuals that are deep-thinkers, or are prone to anxiety. I know that I fall into both of these categories and once my mind gets going, it can be very hard to get it to stop. I have found ways that have helped though. First, it helps to calm the mind from all of the racing thoughts. Ways to do this include meditation, focusing on your breathing, observing details in the objects around the room you are in, anything that can shift your brain away from the current thoughts you are having. Once your mind is calmer, then you can put your energy into a project, or your to-do list, keeping active to avoid overthinking too much. If your mind was running because you were pondering a decision, or because of a question that you have, once you have relaxed some, try to look at the decision or question at hand logically and try to remove as much emotion as possible. Try to be mindful when your mind starts to wander astray from focusing just on the task at hand, which is to solve your question, or make a decision.

It is definitely easier said than done, but try not to let your mind run away on you! I still struggle with this often, but it really does rob one of a peaceful day. Having some control of the mind makes for a much easier way of life!

thinking2

A Blessing and a Curse

Some of you may have heard of a trait that some people have, it’s known as HSP (Highly Sensitive Person.) I have this trait and have had it for most of my life and I can tell you one thing, it is for sure both a blessing and a curse. In some ways being an HSP helps in life and in other ways it makes life a lot more challenging.

I remember being a very sensitive person pretty much my entire life. I am not really sure how I got this way and I never really understood it until I was in college many years ago in a Psychology class and we took a fun quiz on empaths. I remember this day so clearly because I had scored the max possible points, which put me in the category of an HSP. I was the only one in the class that had an empath score so high. The quiz was almost like a personality test. I remember my professor encouraging me to research this topic further…and I did just that. It was then that I understood this trait that had been with me my entire life.

HSP’s have several distinct qualities that can help one recognize being an HSP in themselves, or others. People with the HSP trait are highly in tune with their surroundings. They pick up energy from their environment and from other people. HSP tend to be very deep thinkers and they feel emotions and thoughts very strongly, even sensing them from other people. These individuals require a lot of alone time and down time as they feel like they are always “on.”

HSP1

The positives of being an HSP is that it really helps you relate to others. Often HSP’s can know how someone is feeling before they even say anything. Another positive is that it really helps you take in each experience and experience life as a whole, life seems to take on a deeper purpose and meaning. Being an HSP can also facilitate communication as they tend to pick up on what is and what is not being said, they absorb many non-verbal ques from others.

There are definitely downsides to being a Highly Sensitive Person. We often require down time and a quiet environment because being an HSP drains a lot of energy. HSP’s become overwhelmed easily and do not typically do well with a lot going on at one time. Having this trait makes you worry about other’s feelings and analyze more, it also means you feel emotions deeper, both good and bad.

For me, though there are positives, being an HSP is quite exhausting. I often feel overstimulated and exhausted. I wish that I was not so sensitive, it is a battlefield of the mind and heart, but it is part of who I am and I will embrace it. We all have traits about ourselves that we like and don’t particularly like, but we are who we are for a reason and the best solution is to work with what you have and just live the best life that you possibly can!

HSP2

Center Stage

Do you ever feel like the whole world has its eyes on you, watching your every move, decisions, and mistakes?  Well, to put it simply, most of the time they don’t.  We are the center of our lives and we are so in tune with ourselves and what is happening to us that we feel like the whole world is just as in tuned to us as we are.  The truth is, everyone is involved in their own lives and is not focusing, or watching us as closely as we perceive them to be.

There is no one that knows us better than ourselves, we know ourselves very deeply.  We know all of our needs, fears, desires, we have lived through all of our past experiences and that has molded us to create beliefs about ourselves, beliefs that we feel other people have about us also. In reality, other people do not see us how we see ourselves, they do not know us on the same deep level.

stage1

How many times were you surprised by the response of others, where you thought they were thinking one way, but it turns out that it was the opposite?  For example, you have just finished giving a presentation at work, you feel like you blew it, like it was a failure, you think of all of the things that you forgot to say, yet when it’s over, you get amazing feedback from your coworkers.  Think of when you got a haircut that you didn’t like, or a minor imperfection that you have that you feel like the whole world notices, think of how many times you have brought those minor imperfections up to people and they respond by saying “Oh, I didn’t even notice until you said something!”  All of these examples show that we are entirely more focused on ourselves than other people are.  

In the world of psychology, there is a concept known as The Spotlight Effect, it basically states that we feel like we are being watched and observed far more than is actually happening.  I know that as a teenager I felt like I was always in the spotlight, always being observed and judged, but so did others of my age.  I still feel this way sometimes now as an adult, but I am so much more relaxed and I try to live life for me and not worry what others are thinking or saying about me.

I hope that this post has helped you in some way and that it reminds you to live your own life freely, be 100% you, and do what you love.  You are at the center stage of your own life and your audience couldn’t see you in a more brighter light!

stage2