Thoughts: Intentional or Following the Bouncing Ball
How many minutes can you last without thoughts of someone telling you that you need to do something differently? For me it often depends on whether I am home alone or have a house full. But even living alone or spending time alone is no guarantee that you’ll have an unpolluted mind as we get emails, texts, and chat messages that relay messages too. Even comments meant for the public can speak to us in a private way. And don’t forget, we have an inner thought process related to who we are and what experiences we have in life going on too.
So, how do you handle the ocean full of thoughts that come each day? Do you take control of your mind and intentionally decide what to think? Or does your mind do its own thing and like a bouncing ball uncontrollably goes wherever it pleases?
Kids with Bouncy Balls
Have you ever been in the toy section of a store when kids are around? Children don’t just look at the shelves of games lined up nicely. They don’t just admire the stuffed animals and imagine what it would be like to play with the balls. Heck no, they touch, they play, and they often get into trouble as bouncy balls go flying into places where they don’t belong.
If we’re not careful, our thoughts can take the same path as the bouncy balls. They start out rather innocently in a nice stable state. They may be pleasant as we start the day with a smile on our face. But even when we’re sad, frustrated, or angry, we can still be in control of what we allow ourselves to think.
Election Thought Woes
With the 2016 Presidential Election literally around the corner, Americans are being bombarded with messages about whom they should vote for and why. I know we won’t all agree on policy issues or who is the best presidential material. However, I think we can all agree on one major thing. The one thing is that the messages are conflicting and confusing.
Candidate one accuses candidate two of wrongdoing. Candidate two tells us to disregard the comments and then adds some fresh accusations of their own. The cycle goes round and round with no end in sight. As responsible Americans, we can’t allow ourselves to have our mind tossed around in this way. We have a job to when we vote. We are responsible for making an educated decision of who can best lead our country. So, what’s a voter to do with this mess? Here’s a few tips of how we can handle confusing times and keep our mind focused rather than bouncing off the walls.
Tips on How to Stop Bouncing Thoughts
The Truth Check
A great first step when you hear someone trying to persuade you to take a certain action is to stop and do the truth check. Ask yourself if what is being said is truthful. You know something is truthful if there is legitimate evidence supporting it (eyewitness reports, videotapes, admissions of guilt etc.). It’s not always easy to tell if something is true because people lie, evidence tampering occurs, videos are edited, and manipulative techniques are used. Do the best you can with the information you have.
If you determine something is not true, then simply disregard it. One Easter when my son was a toddler, we caught him on tape throwing couch cushions on the floor while he searched for hidden Easter eggs. While the tape was still running, my husband asked him who threw the cushions. He blamed his sister! But truth prevailed and we didn’t believe him. We had multiple types of proof and we didn’t need to lose sleep over that.
If something is true, embrace it and deal with it. If you behaved poorly, first all of realize you’re not alone. We have all messed up at times. The only thing you can do with a mess is clean it up. So do what you need to do, forgive, apologize, or even seek professional help if needed to deal with big issues.
No Thank You
Choosing to disregard a thought, regardless of where it comes from can be easier said than done. It often helps to imagine yourself doing something physical that puts an end to things.
In Pennsylvania, we often have people soliciting donations or selling products on the way in and out of the grocery and general merchandise stores. If you have the cash, believe in the organization, and are in a good mood, you might be glad to contribute to the cause. But more often than not, people are in debt, overwhelmed with the cares of life, busy, and in an average mood. So they simply say, no thank you or not right now.
We can do this with untrue thoughts that are floating in our minds too. For example, a coworker tells you that you are not performing well enough and suggests you might be fired. But you know, that you have far exceeded the goals that were set for you, so there are no real worries. Imagine yourself passing by the donation jar and simply saying, “No thank you, I don’t need any today.”
Put That on the To-Do List
Let’s face it, sometimes our mind is in a state of confusion because we actually did something wrong. Sometimes you can deal with it right away with a verbal apology or consciously choosing to forgive. That is not always possible. It may not be appropriate to call at 2am or interrupt someone during an important meeting or task they are performing.
In those cases, you should put it on the to-do list. Yes, I am serious! You can write yourself a note to call someone to work through the issue. I seem to the queen of being misunderstood. I’ll tell a joke and someone thinks I was being rude. If I can fix it immediately, I will but if not, it goes on the To-Do list. While nothing has changed physically, mentally I have removed the thought from my head because I have an action plan already decided.
I’ll Take That Under Consideration
We will hear comments from time to time that are truthful. Someone is using that information to sway you in his or her direction. And on the surface, it seems to make sense. But, there is something holding you back from buying in and you’re not ready to make a decision or change.
Deciding to postpone a decision until you have more information or have given it more thought is 100% acceptable. Sometimes you can even give the job of getting more information to the person trying to persuade you. I find this happens in the workplace regularly. You believe a project deserves a higher budget and you’re asked to prove it. If you just need time or to gather your own information, set it aside to be revisited later.
- What things get your mind spinning? Are you ready to stop the bouncing ball and do something about it?
- The next time you realize you lose control of your thinking, do the truth check and decide how best to handle it.
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