Your Perilous Thoughts
Just how perilous are your thoughts? It’s an important question because your thinking today has the power to shape the extent of your tomorrow.
That sounds melodramatic, doesn’t it? Yet, the quality of our thinking does have a great impact. Some ideas enable and ennoble. Whilst others – our perilous thoughts – can drag us down.
Perilous thoughts can convince you that things are worse than they really are. You might be thinking people at work are out to get you and make your life a misery. Or, that there’s someone close to you who isn’t telling you the whole truth. To some extent, whether these beliefs are founded in reality feels less important than what we believe, which shows just how powerful thinking can be.
If I keep believing, for instance, that my local shopkeeper is out to swindle me, I will change the way I think about him. Most likely, I will be suspicious and expect him to act deceptively because perilous thoughts follow that expectation.
While it might be a fact that Garry the grocer really is a conman who sells underweight products and is always out to deceive me as soon as I walk into his store. But perilous thoughts go further than merely alerting us to danger. They insist on ongoing suspicion and consequently won’t allow potential improvements.
Consider perilous thoughts to be the thinking version of hazard lights that are permanently stuck. Regardless how people change the hazard warning continues blinking. So threats remain, leaving us little option but to take defensive position.
However, too much defensiveness is not only wearing, it’s personally limiting. Being continually suspicious is exhausting and in that state it’s hard to think kindly, feel relaxed, or act creatively, let alone keep an even keel. Perilous thoughts make us miserable.
When we anticipate ill will, life can easily become a drab existence. Unless we find a way to break away from such thinking we can easily get gridlocked into misery and that is a bad way to build your future.
How can we escape perilous thinking? Well here are a few suggestions to make it easier:
- Give yourself headspace to become aware of the here and now. Perilous thoughts are invariably about other times, either past or future based. So more intense awareness of your “now” will help balance your focus.
- Reflect and ask questions. Not in the sense of an endless loop of over-analysis, but thoughtful questions that you ask just once. Provided you don’t give yourself a grilling session, questions are helpful.
- Distract your thinking with fresh ideas, opinions, and activity. A positive distraction not only extinguishes overthinking, it gives your poor head a rest.
- Harness activity. Try walking, running, swimming, or whatever action that appeals, to wash out the stress hormones that chronic negative thinking produce. So let your perilous thoughts galvanize you into physical action so you can let it out constructively.
- Finally, find the wise in your life. Spend time with people you look up to and get some good advice from sensible folk. Not only will you feel clearer and more refreshed in the process, you’ll also allow more constructive thoughts to occupy your mind.
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