Get Better at Noticing Your Thoughts – Practice “Buffering”
In my Path for PositivityTM, one of the critical steps is “Noticing Our Thoughts.” If we are going to practice the power of choosing what we focus on and think about, we have to start by tuning in to our thoughts in the moment. How can we get better at doing this?
Our family was recently watching the Stranger Things Netflix series. We struggle with streaming video because of our very poor WiFi bandwidth so it’s not surprising that during one of the suspenseful scenes, the program “paused” to buffer. During this break, I was able to step back and notice how I was feeling physically (heart racing, tense muscles) and emotionally (worried, curious, excited).
This approach is a great way to practice paying attention to our thoughts. We need to “Buffer!” Here are some ideas for situations where you can give it a try.
- Before a family gathering or any kind of social event, set your phone or watch to buzz a couple of different times during the festivities. Use the reminder as an opportunity to pause, step back, and buffer.
- Go on social media and look for a couple of postings where you disagree with the person’s comments or a posting that brings up strong emotions. These are great opportunities to buffer!
- Think back to a situation that made you feel stressed, frustrated, or discouraged. Relive as much detail as possible so you feel the same emotions. Pause and notice your physical and emotional reactions.
If we practice noticing our thoughts, it becomes easier and we start to tune in more often. This is a key step before we can choose to shift our thinking and take back control over our naturally negative survival instincts.
Make a plan right now. Think of one or two ways you can practice “buffering” this week.