What you think about determines your experience
Consider a lemon. Imagine cutting a wedge off that lemon, seeing the juice running out of it, that lemony smell meeting your nostrils. Imagine biting down hard into that lemon wedge, all that juice running through your mouth…
At this point most people will find themselves either cringing, or with their mouths watering. Either way, these people have a physical reaction to something that is simply imagined.
The unconscious mind does not know the difference between fantasy and reality – it reacts anyway. If you imagine eating a lemon, your mouth will react accordingly. If you remember a funny event, you will smile or laugh, and if you think about something stressful, your body will react by tensing and feeling stressed.
We often have little control over what happens in our worlds. Events come along, sometimes unexpectedly, and we react to those events in some way. What’s interesting is that the rest of the time we are often reacting to events that are not even happening – just ones that we are imagining. How often do you find yourself thinking about things that have happened in the past, things that could have happened in the past but didn’t, things that might happen in the future, or things that probably won’t happen in the future? What we think about is something we can control. If you think about fun things, you feel good. If you think about horrible things, you feel bad. In my opinion, it’s therefore well worth directing your mind to think about things that are enjoyable so you feel good, instead of dwelling on stuff that is unpleasant. Whenever I become aware of myself thinking about things that don’t make me feel good, I catch myself. I hit the stop button and ask myself what I’d like to think about instead. It could be anything – something funny my cats did, where I might like to have lunch with my friend later that day or what I’m going to plant next in the garden, but I always choose something enjoyable to consider. It’s much more fun that way, and I know that not only am I thinking about or imagining that thing, my body is also reacting to that in a way that’s really good for it and good for me.