You Are your Thoughts

It’s been a while since my last post. The reason? Lots of new challenges and things going on, all of which boil down to having made the conscious decision to get uncomfortable this year. To force myself out of that comfort zone. To do the things I’m shit scared of! Why? Because you cannot keep doing the same thing day after day and expect a different outcome. The effect of this change in mindset and actions so far? New opportunities, new experiences, new friends, more inspiration!

I went to an incredible Alternatives talk earlier this evening. I had no idea who Dr. Joe Dispenza was until last week when a friend I hadn’t seen in a while invited me along. It’s funny how things seem to come your way at just the right time. The talk literally gave me goosebumps. The title was ‘ You Are the Placebo’ and was about mindfulness rooted in science. Dr. Joe is a neuroscientist and one of his most recent studies looked at the brains of 4,500 everyday people like ourselves, i.e. not Buddhist monks! Throughout history and all over the world people manage to heal themselves in ways that science isn’t able to explain. These are what some would call ‘miracles’.

One of the first questions we were posed was whether we believed that our thoughts can have an impact on our day, on our behaviour, on how we feel. What do you think?

I’ve attempted to summarise my notes below in the hope that everyone reading this will take at least one thing away.

  1. We think 60,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day
  2. Of these thoughts, 90% are the exact same thoughts as the day before; both conscious and unconscious
  3. Same THOUGHTS = same CHOICES = same BEHAVIOURS = same FEELINGS
  4. Your personality is made up of you the way you Think, Act and Feel
  5. By the time you are 35 years old, 95% of who you are is a collection of automatic habits
  6. This means that we are unconscious 95% of the time 
  7. If you’re not living in the present moment, you’re therefore operating on a programme
  8. If you constantly feel the same way then nothing new is happening in your life right now
  9. The hardest part about change is to not make the same choices as the day before
  10. People generally avoid feeling uncomfortable. It is the reason we make the same choices, day in day out
  11. Some would rather be comfortable in their misery purely because it is familiar. It’s the path of least resistance. It’s why we put things off until ‘tomorrow’
  12. Your brain is a record of the past. This past is often linked to emotions
  13. Memories not linked to emotions = wisdom
  14. The past drives your thoughts. Your thoughts trigger chemicals that are released into your bloodstream. These chemicals are linked to emotions and affect the way you feel. Emotions keep you addicted to the past
  15. But the past no longer exists
  16. Your body can’t actually tell which of your thoughts are real or imagined. This is the principle behind visualisation – a tool used by top athletes and some of the most successful people in the world
  17. Your mind cannot predict the future. The actual outcome of each new experience is an unknown
  18. The best way to predict your future is therefore to create it!
  19. The choice is this: to be defined by a vision of your future OR to be defined by your memory of the past – 50% of which is made up anyway by our subjective experience.

I know. Much easier said than done. But as with all new skills, it takes practice! Unlearning old habits and relearning new ones. Creating new neurological pathways in the brain. Changing your response to external stimuli.

We live in a society addicted to stress. Stress puts your body into a heightened state, preparing for the worst case scenario. To run from danger. Stress is also linked to negative emotions such as anger, fear, jealousy. Feelings of stress are therefore you not having control over your thoughts. Over your responses to what is going on around you. Nobody can survive a heightened state like this for long periods of time so the high levels of cortisol released in your body will eventually weaken your immune system. This results in you getting sick more easily, more often.

In 95% of cases, it is not genes that cause disease. Disease is caused by the impact of lifestyle and behaviours on those genes, as each gene has 3000 possible variations.

Your thoughts have an impact on your choices, your behaviour and your emotions. Your thoughts can therefore make you sick. But conversely, mastering your thoughts can also make you well!

Disclaimer: the above is a summary of my notes from the talk and should not be taken as verbatim by the speaker himself. 

If you would like to read more from the speaker himself, his book You Are the Placebo can be found on Amazon UK. I have not yet read it myself but it is definitely on my list after this talk.