Did you know humans have more than 6,000 thoughts per day?
That’s much less than the Twitter rumor that went around years back about 70,000 thoughts per day, and an earlier study that put the number at 12,000 to 60,000, but voluminous and impressive nonetheless. I mean, 6,000 thoughts per day?!? The brain is a weird and wonderful thing.
If we break this down, it means we could have four thoughts per minute, given 1,440 minutes in a day. Thankfully, we’re not awake for all 1,440 of those minutes. Let’s say we get eight hours of sleep, leaving us awake for just 960 minutes per day…
That means we have more than six thoughts per minute!
I guess maybe that’s a case for less sleep, in a way. I mean, six separate thoughts every single minute seems like a lot to handle. And some days, it really, really is. Because guess what else?
The majority of those 6,000 daily thoughts we have are negative.
Honestly, that just triggered another negative thought for me. What a bummer.
But I’m going to stop there because here’s another thing:
Our inner dialogue affects our physiology.
Basically, how we feel and how we live is directly affected by how we think. Therefore, paying attention to what and how we’re thinking, and working to change those thoughts and thought patterns, can drastically change our experiences in our bodies and our lives.
Think about it (OMG I can’t stop now): when you dwell in negative, anxious, self-loathing, doubtful thoughts for a day, how do you feel? What’s your mood like? How does your day go? Where is your energy level? Usually the answers are something along the lines of, respectively: like shit, in the crapper, terribly, and nonexistent.
Now how about a day when your inner dialogue is more positive? Perhaps your thoughts are focused, celebrating wins, confident, rooted in self-trust, hopeful. How does that day go? Usually it’s the complete opposite of the above, and the kind of day we want to have more often.
There are a ton of ways we can use this information about thoughts and inner dialogue, from learning and incorporating the practice of meditation or mindfulness, to focusing on the mind-muscle connection in weightlifting, and about a million things in between. My favorite? Just what I mentioned above – paying attention to our thinking.
Some would bring metacognition into the conversation here, but I have no interest in going that technical; I’m not a therapist. Yes, that might be part of it eventually, but in most cases, I think it’s way more helpful for most of us to just start by keeping it simple and practical.
Stop and think. Pause and look. Once you see your thoughts, you can choose what to do with them, and how.
You can believe them. You can reframe them. You can discard them. You can act on them. You can leave them be. You can observe them. You can hold them. You can question them. You can be grateful for them. You can stop them. You can change them.
You’ve got options. And when it comes to dealing with those majority negative thoughts? You don’t have to let all that negative inner chatter define you.
With practice, you can learn to separate you as a person from the nasty thoughts you have about you as a person. With even more practice, you can shift the balance of those thoughts, ultimately shifting how you feel – physically, mentally, and emotionally – and the way you live into better alignment with who you really are and what’s in your soul.
Here’s the thing – it doesn’t have to be a big thing to do this. Practice is the name of the game. And, as I’ve mentioned before many times, I’m not suggesting you gloss over or ignore thoughts that skew negative but still matter. What I’m saying is that you are in charge of your inner dialogue, and even the smallest bit of awareness and practice can change a lot. You’ve got a choice and a voice in this internal conversation, and it does not have to be a voice of doubt.
A client and I were recently talking about this negative thought spiral and how it can affect our whole day. She shared that the work we’ve been doing together has been helping her realize her power in this area, and she said this:
“One moment in time doesn’t decide your whole being.”
I couldn’t agree more, and I think a version of this can be extrapolated to the 6,000 thoughts we have per day: one negative thought doesn’t have to influence all the rest of them.
Basically, what do you really want to do with your 6,000 thoughts a day?
What could you do if even three out of six thoughts per minute were positive, proactive, supportive, hopeful? How would you feel if the majority of your thoughts were rooted in trust and worthiness instead of skepticism and self-hatred?
Again, science (and experience!) tells us this would literally change our entire being. How powerful is that?
It’s really, really powerful. And all that power lies within you. Despite how it feels sometimes, there is only one person who holds power over your thoughts.
So, choose wisely how you use it.
We do quite a lot of inner dialogue work in my one-on-one coaching programs. And it is, indeed, powerful. If this is something you struggle with, let’s talk about it. I’m always up for a call, or you can email me and let me know what’s on your mind…in your thoughts 😉
Sign up for weekly emails that share more ways to practice positive inner dialogue and use your power here.
Prefer to watch or listen? Check out this message and subscribe on YouTube.