Truth or Fiction?
Instructions for "Truth or Fiction?":
Some researchers say that we have between 50,000 - 80,000 thoughts per day, and many of these are factual and helpful. For example we have thoughts like "there is no milk left, I will buy some on the way home", or "there is ice on the road, I will drive with caution". These thoughts allow us to navigate life safely and in comfort.
Other thoughts are not so helpful. For example, you are walking down the street and you see a good friend on the other side of the road. The moment you wave to her, she looks away and does not return your wave. Immediately your mind goes into overdrive: "What have I done to upset her?", or "She is mean and I will not call her again."
We cannot really know what is happening in another person's head, but we are very good at filling in the gaps with our own interpretations and stories. Often these interpretations and stories are inspired by our insecurities about ourselves, and lead us to see things in a more negative light than is necessary. For all we know, our friend could have been having a terrible day and have been so lost in thoughts that she didn't notice us, and our negative interpretations are holding us back from reaching out to her.
This also extends to ourselves. If I am feeling anxious, and then I tell myself stories such as: "I am feeling anxious, and that means there is something wrong with me, I am not as good as everyone else", then we are doing ourselves a huge disservice. Anxiety is a common issue and there are ways to deal with it, berating yourself is not one of them!
"We can all become more aware of the "stream of consciousness" going on in our minds, moment by moment. It often takes the form of a running commentary. If it is potentially damaging to us, it is not because it is buried deep in the psyche but because it is virtually unattended. We have gotten so used to its whisperings that we don't even notice it is here. And so, it shapes our lives." - Williams, Teasdale, Segal, & Kabat-Zinn
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