Positive parenting

Become The Master Of Your Thoughts!

Thoughts play a keyrole in our lives. They determine who you are. That goes for our parenting too. Better parenting begins with our thinking!

Thoughts are things – thoughts are life

Most of us have been there. We cannot get rid of a negative thoughts or a worrying nagging in our head. It goes around and around and seems to eat up way too much of our time and energy.

Maybe the thoughts are about ourselves, our self-doubt. That we are not good enough or not as good as others. We question everything we do and worry that people think badly of us or. Or, even worse, talk about us behind our backs.

We might feel ‘why me?’ ‘What have I done to deserve this, I can’t take it anymore.’
Maybe we worry about our life and our family. I support parents who often struggle with regular worrying thoughts about their kid’s challenges, i.e. special needs, emotional, social or academic challenges.

It can be our job, relationships, finance, housing and much more. But the bottom line is that we spend too much time having negative thoughts and worries.

Maybe we worry and think to much about the past. Who did what and why. Or fear the future: what will happen to me, my kids, my family, my job etc.

The problem is that we forget to enjoy and think about the here and now. We miss opportunities to enjoy small moments in our life with our kids – we are so busy placing all our focus on the negative thoughts and worries in our life!

This constant thinking about negative things or worrying about what might or might not happen can be exhausting. We often find that we cannot sleep. Or don’t have the energy to do the things we like doing, be the parent we want to be, or the friend, partner or employee that we need to be. We don’t feel as productive and effective as we know we should. Our thoughts are controlling how we live our lives!

The problem is time

And that is the thing. It is how much time we choose to spend on these thoughts that causes them to develop into anxiety, depression, sadness and to take over our lives. We overthink and worry so much that we feed our negativity by giving it our full focus.

What we choose to focus on the most we will cultivate and grow!

So, over-thinking keeps these negative thoughts alive; the more we think about it the bigger a problem gets.

Why do we spend so much time on negative thoughts?

So why is it that we might spend 4 hours instead of 30 minutes a day on our negative thoughts? Well, we might think that by thinking about it we can control it – do something about it – find a solution. But we usually just go around in circles, not actually finding a solution just making it bigger by feeding it!

Solution: Master our thoughts!

So, what can we do now that we know that it is how much time we allow these thoughts to take up in our life that makes them grow? We cannot just stop thinking and get rid of them.

The solution lies in awareness and choice. Choice is freedom. First, we need to stop fighting the thoughts – step into them and give them a name. What is it that worries you, makes you think negatively? ‘I am worried because my child is having severe anger issues’….

Then it is all about how much time we choose to spend on these thoughts. So, we need to control our time and what we do with it.

“Doing nothing is doing everything” – Adrian Wells

He talks about ‘lazy therapy’, where we allow ourselves to do less to achieve more.

And we can use it here when we are trying to control the time we spend on our negative thoughts. In order to give our negative thoughts a rest we need to be able to control them.

Try this:

  • Become aware of what negative thoughts control your life: I.e. I worry about my child’s anxiety.
  • No need to fight the thought, just give it a rest. Put time aside every day – maybe every second day or once a week. Make sure it is not late at night so we don’t take the thought with us to bed to feed our unconscious mind. Here we have the thought, we accept it but we don’t give it focus or attention – we diminish it, make it smaller.

I was supporting a mum who worried about her daughter all the time. She decided to control the time and every time the feeling pop into her mind she told her self ‘that is ok, this is my feeling – but I don’t need to focus on it now but will do it a 17.00’. She said she felt so powerful and understood (by self). Overtime she realized that the thoughts took up less and there was space for other productive and positive thoughts!

  • Give it a rest. When the negative thought pops up in your mind – leave it alone. Put it to sleep. Tell yourself that you can take it up later as planned, for example at 5 o’clock or tomorrow at 9.30.
  • Plan some positive self-thinking to substitute the negative thoughts when they pop up: Replace it with a thought about the last time you had a nice time with your child. A time he really was ok. Think about his smile, the last laugh you had together etc. to challenge the negative thinking. Here you are shifting the focus from a negative thought to a more positive one – your choice. Again, if you choose to place more attention on your positive thinking you will…cultivate and grow it!
  • Distract yourself: if we do what we have always done we get what we have always got. So, when the negative thought pops up, stop and park it for later – you challenge it with some positive thoughts but you can also remove yourself from where you are right now. Sometimes doing something else or going somewhere else breaks the cycle. Go for a walk out in nature. Have a bath. Listen to some nice music that makes you relaxed and happy. Bake a cake etc. Here we are not active but passive around our negative thoughts.
  • Avoid the trigger thoughts: Is there anybody or anything that triggers your negative thoughts? It can be the news, it can be a person who always makes you feel ‘less’. It can be when you are alone. Again, get in control of these triggers. Avoid the news or only watch it at planned times. Hang out with radiator people (those who give you warmth) not drains! Have some nice music when you are alone, or read books and magazines that make you feel ok.

In summary

We can have our thoughts without having to fight them and we can master these thoughts once they come. We can actually live with them without being dominated. Once you have found a way to live with your thoughts by giving them less attention and focus you will find that you are in control and you have the freedom of choice

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