Don’t believe everything you think

Happiness blissBy Abby Bordner

Let’s face it, there is very little in our lives that we can actually control. So, it has been somewhat refreshing to me to learn that with practice and intention, we have the control to rescue ourselves from our own negative thinking. Our mindset, the way we interpret the events around us, has a huge impact on our day to day happiness.

I know, it sounds complicated. But, actually it makes sense. Let me explain. The way we process information has a lot to do with the decisions we make, the story we make up and how we proceed. For example, my sister cancelled her trip to see me. I was devastated and I was sure it was her way of hurting me, as our relationship has always struggled. Well, then, I’m not going to return her calls because I don’t want to talk to her.  I decide she has never really enjoyed spending time with me and it’s probably because I’m boring. My kids think I’m boring, too. I’m so angry that my sister would do this to me that I don’t return her calls for three months, all the while stewing about it. Do you see the backlash of my thoughts in this situation? My sister merely had a conflict in her schedule and couldn’t come to visit and my mind made up the rest.

When I started studying meditation, I learned the valuable skill of observing my thoughts, especially the negative ones. It was such a relief to learn that my thoughts aren’t always true. My thoughts are created from my subconscious mind, where all my emotions and my past memories reside. So, you can see the material your thoughts have to work with; insecurity, fear, past hurts and past disappointments. So, whenever you have new information to process, especially information that evokes emotion in you, your thoughts go to work. Make sense?

“Don’t believe everything you think.”

The value of focusing on my breathing is something I learned in yoga, and I cherish in my daily life ever since. When we focus our attention on a deep breath in and then out, we are anchoring ourselves in the present moment. The nice thing about using breath as a tool, is it’s always available to you; as soon as your next inhale. When I inhale, I create awareness of my thoughts spiraling out of control. I bring my attention to my body and my breath. I straighten my posture, open my heart center by spreading my shoulders wide and observe. It’s not always pretty. My thoughts can wreak havoc on my sense of stability and confidence.

Here’s my 1-2-3 for negative thinking:

  1. Take a moment to focus on your breathing. Breathe IN courage. Breathe OUT fear. Here you’ll find that bit of space that separates YOU from your thoughts. Don’t criticize or evaluate your thinking, just breathe. Once. Twice. And again. In courage. Out fear.
  2. Check your posture. No matter where you happen to be; sitting, standing, driving, wherever; with each breath, open the front of your chest wider and make your posture upright (confident), your heart open (loving) and your stance solid (secure). When we hold our posture with confidence, love and security (sounds good, right!?) you can create those feelings in your body. This is an example of mind-body focus that is an extremely effective tool to derail your negative thinking.
  3. Speak your mantra. Find a statement that identifies you at your best. Something that reminds you of the person you are striving to become; granted we’re not perfect. Find an easy statement to connect with, to anchor you in positive strength:  All is well.  I am resourceful. I am loving. I am kind. I am safe. I am forgiving. I can offer connection to those I love. I am good enough.

I suggest journaling to find your own personal mantra. Write about your thoughts. Write about what you wish you thought and why. Keep writing. You’ll find that your body begins to relax and your mind slows down. Keep writing until you find your own personal statement to anchor you. Something meaningful to you and make sure it is strongly rooted in confidence, love and security. Usually you’ll feel it. When you write something positive and it creates a feeling in your body that is comforting, uplifting and/or joyful, you’ve found your mantra!

I want to hear from you! I want to know what your Mantra is. What do you say to yourself to find your way back Your Best Self? Post in the comments or email me at

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Leave A Reply (4 comments so far)

  1. Lorelei
    3 years ago

    Hi Abby,

    this is great and fit well with an experience i had today.

    This morning I was driving home after a doctors appointment with my daughter. I turned my turn signal on and began moving into the other lane. I started to hear a lot of honking and realized that there was already a car there. I quickly got returned to my lane. Luckily nothing happened. The woman I almost hit was very upset. She continued honking and yelling and making hand gestures. I tried telling her I was sorry that I didn’t see her. Of course, she didn’t hear me. I could feel all of her negative energy coming at me like a huge wave. I took a deep breath and sent her loving kindness that the rest of her day would go smoother. The breath we learn to take during difficult poses can help us learn to take deep breaths when other difficult things happen in our life. This is simple example but something all of us have experienced.

    • Abby
      3 years ago

      You’re right, Lorelei! That’s a great example. I love how something so simple can be a tool during difficult times. Thanks!

  2. Kellie
    3 years ago

    Abby this is very well written and I couldn’t agree more with your thoughts. Thanks also for being vulnerable enough to share your own insecurities and negative thoughts. I too attempt to ground myself through breath, posture and thought. What you put in comes out somewhere and somehow so it’s super important to be mindful of that at all times. Again, thank you for this great share.

    • Abby
      3 years ago

      Thank you, Kellie! I’m glad you use some of the same principles. I think we can fall into the habit of believe everything our minds comes up with and it can be so freeing to realize you don’t have to.