Adjusting Our Thoughts

Be Well Be Happy

“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.” (Attributed to Marcus Aurelius). Came across this in one of my notebooks—the notebooks where I jot down notes from online yoga classes, inspiring quotes and my own studies on different poses. 

Marcus Aurelius came back to me from my days of studying Latin—he was a philosopher and warrior according to what has been recorded a long, long time ago! The human condition has always been the same no matter what time period. We want to be happy and healthy, and giving thought to why we may not be happy brings rise to our minds and what and how we think. The quality of our thoughts I take to mean what we are actually saying to ourselves about any given situation. It is hard to be happy when devastating events occur, of course, but the smaller things that we can think about in a different way will cause a different emotion to some state of happiness, albeit it not jumping for joy (!), but maybe a little less of a heavy heart.

Something happens that causes difficulty. What is the inner dialogue? If it is going over and over it again and again and asking why and how could this happen now, etc., etc., there is no getting out of that circle of thought. If we change our dialogue with some words of acceptance like maybe this happened for a reason that will present itself later, or let me just accept that this happened and stop dwelling on the fact that it happened, and maybe spend more time on how I could change the situation or make it better. Think of it as spinning outside of the circle of thought that keeps us from moving past the situation. 

The same holds true in an emotional situation. We feel a certain way because of something someone did or said or after a long, not great communication. We feel disappointed or sad or angry or any one of the many negative emotions that can arise. The emotion(s) is right up front in our hearts and is weighing us down. We can’t think past it. It takes up residency within us. First thing is to accept this as where you are in this moment in time. Second is to make the choice that you do not want to feel angry or whatever it is. That opens a pathway to ease out of it. One of the tools I use is with my breath. I will inhale any positive, loving thought/word like “peace” and upon my exhalation, I think the negative word out. So I’ll inhale “peace” and exhale “anger” for example. And I just keep doing it until my heart feels a little lighter. What happens next is that our minds are free to fix the situation or communicate in a better way, and often the negative emotion goes away. It is a practice for sure, best done at first with little things and then when we really need a tool, it is there for us to use.

May you be happy. May you be free. May you be grateful. May you let go of things that do not serve you. May you have inner peace. 

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