Transcript: Unintentional Thoughts with Dina Cataldo
Hello there. How are you doing today? I'm so glad you're here with me. I just want to say thank you. The other day I got an unexpected shout out in court from somebody who listens to my podcast, somebody that I ,know and it was really nice of them to say, “I love your podcast!” So thank you very much. If you are listening to this, you know who you are, and if you are listening to this and you are getting value from Soul Roadmap Podcast, I would really appreciate it if you left a comment, a rating and review at dinacataldo.com/iTunes. Apple podcasts now is what it's called, but it's still under iTunes on my website.
So if you go to Dinacataldo.com/iTunes it will take you to Apple podcasts and if you would leave a rating and review, it would mean so much to me. Thank you very, very much for being here. I hope that you are getting some really good value from listening in and I want to talk to you today about unintentional thoughts.
Unintentional thoughts are something we all have. They are normal. It's our brain on autopilot, trying to be efficient, creating those neuro-pathways and keeping them fresh. But if we want to create something different in our lives, if we're not happy with what's going on in our lives, then we actually have to take intentional action to change our thoughts. What we have to do is start paying really close attention to how we are thinking. To start, I want to offer this. We start first thing in the morning when you wake up and you start recognizing what's happening in your brain, you are going to notice some things.
You're going to notice that our brain just starts chattering away right away. What do we have to do today? I can't believe that happened yesterday. Why did they say that? Why do I feel this way? Why did they have to do that thing that they did that's annoying me so much? Our brain just starts chattering away and that is normal, but I want you to think about this. I want you to think about the wasted energy that we just fritter away thinking things that are unintentional. We have about 60,000 thoughts every single day and most of them are on repeat.
We're thinking the same things over and over and over again, and you've probably experienced this if you have laid up late at night, not being able to sleep with the same thoughts spinning in your head over and over and over again. So here's the challenge. How do we stop that?
How do we stop the wheel from spinning in our brain? That little hamster brain of ours?
I want you to also think about what happens when we're not intentional because that's really going to clarify why this is so important. We react instead of responding. When we have unintentional thoughts, we are going to react to things unintentionally. This is what happens. We have a thought that creates a feeling and then that feeling drives our actions. And if we are not aware of our thoughts and we can't interrupt our thoughts when they don't serve us, then we are going to generate a feeling that is going to lead us to behaving in such a way that probably isn't going to serve us very well. That's probably going to be something that is not going to incite the best reaction from the person that we are talking to.
So it's important that we start to understand that our unintentional thoughts have unintentional consequences and those unintentional consequences, not only are the reactions that we have, those unintentional reactions, they lead us to ending up with something in our life rather than designing the life that we want to have. So rather than intentionally and creating something in our life, we're just kind of allowing things to play out and they'll end up the way they end up whether or not we're going to be happy with it or not. Most likely if we are not intentionally thinking thoughts, if we're not intentionally designing our life, we're not going to be happy with the end result. That's why it's so important to learn how to manage our thoughts. Now, we're lawyers, or if you're not a lawyer and you're listening, you might be able to relate to this, but you're also probably a control freak.
And so when I tell you this about unintentional thoughts, you might get a little paranoid. Like you've got to start controlling your thoughts that your thoughts are bad, that that's not the way to think. “You need to think better.” “This isn't good for you.” All of these other thoughts that also are negative and mean to yourself.
Here's the thing, when you do this, when you start recognizing your unintentional thoughts, you've got to do this with compassion. You've got to have love for yourself and know that the thoughts that you're having are just thoughts. There's nothing wrong with them. That's just your brain on autopilot. All we're doing is working a new muscle. We're just teaching our brain that we want to have new thoughts. We're just telling our brain, Hey, I see you thoughts that don't serve me and you know what? I'm going to do something different today and this takes practice.
And that's why it's so important to be loving to yourself, because you're not going to get this right away. It's not going to be something that comes naturally to you. You're going to want to go directly into those same old thoughts that you have every single day. Those thoughts like, “Oh, I don't like what I look like in the mirror.” “I eat too much.” “I drink too much.” “I shop too much.” “I don't have enough money.” “I don't like the way that I cleaned my house or don't clean my house.” I mean, there are all kinds of thoughts running through our head all the time. All we're doing is giving our brain a little break. We're saying, “Hey, I see you,” and we're going to stop and we're going to redirect just like a child, right? Like a child running around. You just stop them and you say, “Hey, we're going to stop and we're going to redirect your attention.”
So here's what I want you to do. This is the challenge and this is what I like to do every morning and every evening, and so I'm going to give this little tip to you in a really small chunk. Okay? Just try it. I promise you can only expect good things. It's not going to hurt you. It's actually going to be pretty freaking awesome when you do this.
The first 15 minutes in the morning probably going to be the most difficult because your brain just starts going right away, but try it in the morning. When you wake up in, and you start to notice that your brain is going a mile a minute, I just want you to notice one thing that you're grateful for, like the blankets that are on top of you or the water that's coming out of the faucet that you don't have to go outside to a well to grab.
I want you to be grateful for anything, running, water, electricity, whatever it is. Just say thank you and just say it a couple times. Have a seat, drink your coffee or tea, whatever it is, and just breathe and just notice your thoughts. Just watch what they're doing and you might notice them going to your to do list and you might notice yourself feeling something like overwhelm or anxiety. Just stop and recognize what you're feeling. Recognize that you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, whatever it might be, and then ask yourself what thought am I having right now? And then you can trace back what thought it is that you have, whether it's overwhelm about it to do list or something that's going on in your life that is going to be the practice, because that's going to be the trigger. You're going to be able to see this faster and faster.
The more that you do it and you will be able to preempt that thought eventually, but it takes time. Okay? I wouldn't expect this in one week or even two weeks. I would expect that you need to have this practice for about 45 days. You need a period of time. It's important that you're patient with yourself.
Your brain has been thinking the same old thoughts forever, and now you're trying to retrain your brain to go in a different direction. Really, right now what you've probably been doing is just letting your brain go wild and I know I did that for a long time, and there's still times when my brain is running around like a crazy child and I have to recognize, “Hey, all right, I see what you're doing there. Let's reign this back in. Is what I'm thinking reasonable? Is it reasonable for me to think that a person cut me off in traffic on purpose or is it that they're just not paying attention?”
Those are the little things that we can start recognizing and when we start preempting those thoughts over and over and over again, we begin to do it in all areas of our life, not just in the morning, not just in the evening.
Now here's the evening practice I want for you. If you are willing to do this, if this is something that interests you, the last 15 minutes before you go to bed can be the most impactful because we're basically telling our brain what to think for the next eight hours. We're telling our brain here, this is what I want you to marinate on. I want you to think about “X.” Now we can feed it the same old stuff over and over and over again. Or we could go inside and we can ask ourselves what do we want to be thinking?
What do we want to focus our attention on?
Do we want to focus our attention on all the troubles that we had all day or do we want to focus our attention on what we want for ourselves in the future? Do we want to focus our attention on how we can begin improving our life? How about asking ourselves a question about how we can move forward in our lives in a way that serves us? Anything like that that comes to mind? Just start thinking about it and you'll know if you are starting to roam back into that unintentional space because your brain is just going to start spinning again and you're going to feel that anxious feeling or whatever it is that usually comes up for you. You're going to notice this kind of thing and then you're going to bring your thoughts back and you're going to say, okay, I notice you let me return my thinking to intentional thinking.
This is what I want to think and it's going to feel really unnatural too for a while. This isn't something that is a clear path in your brain yet because you are building the neuropathways to create the thoughts that you want to have. So you might've heard me explain this in this way before. Just like when driving to work, there are multiple ways to drive to work, but you probably pick one and you go that way all the time. You go that way every single day. In fact, when you drive to work, you don't even have to pay attention to shifting gears or whether or not you're foot's on the brake pedal or not. Whether or not you're driving through a yellow light or you're going to stop at a yellow light, you have distinct patterns. You know exactly how to get there and you probably don't even think about how to get there anymore.
It seems so easy to you. That is the old pattern of thinking that is the pattern that your brain is used to and it's normal because it wants your brain to do things efficiently. It wants to continue down that same path over and over and over again. When you are creating an intentional thought, when you want your brain to go in a different direction, when you want to create a different result, then you are actively telling your brain, I want to go to work in a different direction. I want to take this new path. Now the old path doesn't go away. It's still there. It's on the map, but you have to consciously take this new path until it becomes a habit. For you. Now, if you want to go down that old path, it's always open for you. You were always able to go to work that way.
You're always able to go to those old thoughts. But once you start having those new thoughts, once you start moving in the direction you want to go, once you start creating the feelings that you want to create, you're probably not going to want to go down that old path very often, if ever. And when you notice yourself going down that old path, you're going to remember, Whoa, it felt so much better going the other way. Why did I decide to go this way today? I'm going to change things up again tomorrow. So every time you find yourself going down that old path, no need to beat yourself up. Just recognize it and go down the new path tomorrow. All right, so I hope that gave you some food for thought. I hope that gave you something to think about. Intentionally start getting intentional in your life. Obviously if you're listening to this podcast, then you want change in your life. There's something that you know is missing. And if you think that it's this unintentional thinking, then this is a great place to start. All right. I hope you have a wonderful day. If you have any questions, you can always visit me on Instagram @dina.cataldo or you can find me on Facebook at Dina Cataldoesq, alright? Have a great day. I will talk to you soon. Bye.
Hey there. If you love this kind of work and you're not sure what the next step is on your path to get what you want out of life, if you want help navigating, overwhelm, and basically just make your life easier, let's work together. It's easy. Go to Dinacataldo.com to learn how you can get started today.