thinking without THINKING

I have been thinking a lot, finally decided, let me write about it.

Thinking is often voluntary and most often involuntary action of the mind. We can choose what we do with our thoughts but how much control do we have over what we are thinking? Thinking when done with a purpose serves a purpose but when the mind is allowed to meander unchartered territories caution must be advised.

I have come to believe that thoughts do not have a soul, so conscious-thinking is not a necessary trait. They can be affected by feelings and change with actions. We do not have complete control over our thoughts but the actions we take as a result of our thoughts. Laxity in scrutiny is the mind’s superpower. We may not stop the thoughts in its track but we certainly can separate it from our mind more like suspend it in the air, scrutinize it and then choose to let it sink rather than us.

We can’t beat ourselves for losing control of our thoughts but with little effort we certainly can regain control of it especially, when the thoughts do us more harm than good.

Failing v/s Falling

Photo by Oliver Sjöström 

We all fall short of meeting expectations, fulfilling dreams and living completely. Have we then failed or merely resetting ourselves for a better prospect? Do we write ourselves off at this point or muster any courage to go on, even if, we only get close enough to our goals?

Who sets these norms? Once tried, tested and failed but not fallen and attempting to rise, why not?

This only reminds me of rockets and other related inventions in the field of science. I came across how rockets are made and operated when I read Elon Musk’s biography which professed how repeated failure only propelled him further to launch again and again, even at the cost of getting bankrupt. 

Why can’t life be treated as one big experiment or rather why are we afraid to experiment? Because we are judged by what we are than who we are? How can you be so many things? You are not stable. If you can’t be stable, you are not serious.   

What’s holding us back from rising?

Doubts

Criticism

Challenges

Fear

Judgement

Negativity

Past Encounters

(let me know what’s on your list in the comments below)

It could be a single reason or combinations which hinders our growth. We endlessly read quotes of motivation, speeches and talks; however, their effect stays for a while and then paralysis creeps in without our knowledge. We are in the grip of failure once again and the more we resist to rise, the stronger the force that pulls us down to land where we started.

There are endless hacks, techniques, self-help orators who will convince you that failure can be fought just like cancer but only a cancer patient knows how it would be easier to die than fight cancer.

There are endless solutions, you can google them but unless we pause, recognize the signs of falling and treat ourselves before we reach the final stage of failure, can we hope to thrive for longer.

I came across this concept through one of Simon Sinek’s talk and it poked me to think deeper rather than just sign out. I don’t know what’s the best way to overcome this cancer or tools to fight it, if you have tested the waters do share your thoughts.

A kick is all I NEED.

Photo by Anna Shvets 

IT’S common knowledge that humans like animals are motivated when rewarded and this information must not be taken lightly.

Dopamine is the hormone released by the body to the brain to induce the feeling of satisfaction or pleasure after taking an action or receiving a response.


Do pay attention to the fact that I said taking action and receiving a response that means we can acquire dopamine by not just taking an immediate action but by also receiving a positive or rewarding response. Which means we can generate dopamine for ourselves and not wait for an occasion to receive one.

So, let me give you a contrary scenario, we are easily sad, moody, hyper, angry in a matter of seconds and a slight change in environment, a bad news or just hurtful words uttered can send us into a frenzy and mark the day as a black day in the history of several black days which apparently is common these days. When this scenario is repeatedly often thanks to social distancing, we are breaking down instantly, breaking up in a snap and yes snapping all the time. Gradually this affects our mental health slowly leading to depression and building anxiety if I forgot to mention stress well you can add that to the recipe and now you have a cocktail for disorientation. It’s all thanks to the instant era we have very low tolerance level for just about anything.


The opposite is also true. That’s where dopamine comes in play.

According to professor Huberman how we can access dopamine to our advantage.

When do we need dopamine?

If you are one of those lucky people who wake up and find their purpose to tick all the boxes on the list you are in great shape.

But then there are so many of us who know what has to be done just don’t have the zeal to get started and need a dopamine check. And the only way is to take action. Why? How else will you seek pleasure or reward, the very reason for dopamine to kick in.

This is also the concept behind motivation to get motivated you have to take action not wait for it to arrive for it never will. These concepts are closely connected with each other. You take action, you feel ecstatic for beginning and then motivated to complete and later feel rewarded on finishing it.

How can we acquire it?

Physically: Find your Why. This is the most effective for motivation and your pathway to reward. Why do you want to write? Why do you want to wake up? Why drinking hot water first thing in the morning is most effective for your well-being? And so on. If you can just find a very strong reason to be rewarded, you have secured your dose of dopamine to continue doing a said action.  

Mentally: This point works on the parameters of again motivating yourself to complete your task such as showing compassion and kindness to yourself through affirmations. Affirmations like praises have the same effect as a reward or evoke pleasure. Only the difference is you don’t wait for someone to praise you instead, you find the positive traits in yourself and remind yourself that ‘you are’ these qualities time and again. A practice you must begin in full swing promptly.

you can read more on how to stay motivated from https://race2ace.wordpress.com/2021/01/16/motivation-only-one-theory-works/

to practice daily affirmations you can refer https://race2ace.wordpress.com/2021/02/09/affirmations-what-we-dont-say/

Understanding the right science behind what chemicals affect us and how, we can use them to our advantage and implement them in a positive manner rather than arrive at a conclusion that are demoralising, undermining and defeating to our growth.

P.S: It took me a while to write the post as i was very low on dopamine. Daily I continue to struggle with setting actionable goals to meet my target. Giving that we might get again into lockdown feels low enough. However, i continue to push myself and through affirmations remind myself why should i write another post.

Also i want to take this opportunity for many who have any interest in photography or is an animal lover to check out this STRAYLIFE photography contest and give yourself some boost in dopamine and at the same time join the cause to support STRAY WELFARE IN INDIA as cases of stray accidents and violence is increasing massively.

you can visit their website on: http://www.cheersfurever.com

In the Mood for Love

O

Known as the love/cuddle/ or touch hormone, oxytocin is released when we come in contact with another person.

We often do not realise that hormones cause chemical balance in our body which is needed in dealing with various emotional issues.

The best part is, we have them in abundance all around us. All we have to do is extend our hand to touch.

photo by Kristina Paukshtite

MISS YOU



Jadu ki Jappi: In a quirky way, a Bollywood film – Munnabhai M.B.B.S highlighted the concept of the cuddle hormone that can solve our life’s greatest worries, a hug is all that we need to make ourselves feel better.
As the role of CBT model has become more prominent in recent times, we realize how much we can deal with our moods, anxieties and depressions by changing the exterior, our actions to reflect change in our emotions; in this case just reaching out to anyone around us and seek comfort in the warmth of their arms.
We also observe that as times have changed, people are not very expressive with their emotions. As we are expected to be an adult just when we hit puberty whether we are psychologically prepared to take on the role of adulting or not.
Even if we have adulted why do we have to leave behind our child-like demeanour to move forward in life. How many of us smile and greet each other. Even our welcomes are very formal let alone make most of the opportunity and pass some cuddle hormone. It was also during pandemic we heard about increase in domestic violence globally.


Furs know best
And just because we humans have become alien to this feeling doesn’t mean we cannot turn to animals for the same. As the whole world around us retreated into isolation due to pandemic, social distancing notched our anxieties to a different level. This was the time I personally realised animals to be more than mere pets or creatures of utility. I could get through the pandemic only because of them. They help me recuperate even now. It was during this period stray animals too suffered tremendously and violence against them intensified. Working closely with an animal rescue and care organization exposed me to the benefits of kindness. You too can participate in being kind.

Kindness to Self
We endlessly criticize and shame ourselves thinking, this alone will motivate us to achieve higher instead, it demeans our spirit and reduces our self-worth. We can generate oxytocin my merely being kind to ourselves daily by just placing hand on our heart and expressing few words of kindness every morning like: “Good morning, Anna.” And gradually getting comfortable with “Good morning, I love you, Anna.”
It’s only when we are able to sustain our own well-being will we think of making a difference to our society and uplift people and creatures around us. The way we are infected do we affect people around us. Give it a try and let me know.

Enthusiasm: do not miss a dose

why wake up: it’s not enough to survive

It’s not enough to survive, we need to thrive. Meghan Markle finally found that missing component outside the palace walls. I strongly support this ameliorating belief system, as opposed to the conventional, ‘we are here to survive’.
Not all of us have that choice to fly across to a different continent to find the ingredient that will help us thrive. If we strive, we can find it right here, in us. But what is this magical potion we need each day to thrive?
It’s more practical than it is magical – the simple act of being enthusiastic. What else is happiness anyway? Is it a treasure we have to wait till the end of life – until we are happy? It’s not constant but it is abundant and regenerating each day in us, by us, for us.

Each day we have to make deliberate attempt to be enthusiastic. I try recalling when was I last enthusiastic about anything. Very focused, very energetic, very hopeful. There were times when I was working on designing a marketing brochure and before that when I decided to redecorate my house in my imagination, all that, I learnt without any professional help. I was convinced in my head I could do an excellent job. FYI designing and colours combinations are my weak areas, I suck at it. But with some research I can say I have grown and deal better with my weakness that can be well lauded to an extent, if not be awarded for.


Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva from Pexels

We need challenges we are enthusiastic to tackle each day. It’s these very obstacles we frown upon not knowing that’s what keeping us alive. It’s like the medicine that is bitter in taste but makes you better. So here is an assignment for all of you. Take your time sit back and think of all times you been full of enthusiasm, go back in timeline till your childhood if need be. Relive them, record them, recreate them and do not forget to cherish them. I am a work in progress and so can you, progress towards thriving and not just surviving.

There are ways you can be robust and full of life each day.


Affirmations: what we don’t say

In a recent exercise, i was asked to write 10 positive statements about myself in 10 mins. at the end of it i could barely manage 2 statements. Later at the end of the video i still continued the exercise and i managed to increase my list to 5. i didnt have more to say to myself.

It’s because we don’t hear anyone say it often to us or just criticism is so rampant that we rarely take time to think what are our positive traits are? i am not asking your resume but you as an individual what can be conjured up without giving too much thinking.

It is so easy to accept the negative spoken about us, we spend years rectifying it and yet that is what one recollects immediately about you than anything good. Over the years as you hear it repeatedly it becomes a part of you.

Practicing Daily affirmations can reinstate your belief in you and you never know what else you might discover about yourself.

Count your blessings: backwards

50 49 48 47 46 45 44 43 42 41 40 39 38 37 36 35 …… 5 4 3 2 1

it’s an effective way to calm yourself down when you are anxious, overwhelmed, seeking to regain focus, agitated and so on.

make it your mantra to recite whenever you feel lost or scattered.

the ultimate reward is calmness, stability, focus and grounding.

We all know how to pace forward, very seldom do we take the path backwards.

even negation has its own beauty we deny ourselves, only because the world around is moving in the opposite direction.

try it out and let me know.

Theta State: Go mindless


It is the most beneficial state to experience. Given its nature, contrary to intense pressure, theta state is mild and an inactive zone that reaps rewards without us making deliberate efforts to evoke it.
Invoking this inert state, doesn’t limit to creative or genius state of mind alone. Once you are aware of its existence, Theta state of frequency can benefit anybody who has a problem to solve.
There are times when we intensely work towards solving a problem or conjuring up an idea that, we finish where we started from – the scratch. This is the beta state of our frequency when we are focused in seeking a solution, in some cases maybe be even gamma state (that would be wonderful to achieve sometimes atleast for me). But to our disappointment we make little or no progress towards the problem we are seeking to solve.
That’s when we need to take few deep breaths and relax our mind, lower our frequency to Theta state, that the unexpected shows itself.
In a recent incident, I was striving to come up with an AV to deliver a social message on the abuse and neglect of the constitutional rights of stray animals in India. when it comes to social messages there needs a different point of view or just a new means to execute the idea or else it can be repetitive and not impactful.
In the beginning I deliberated for a day and created a rough sketch that didn’t hit the right spot. The next day I contemplated even more but was close to the lines I thought sent the message but just not impactful. And just then I gave up for few minutes, and randomly decided to go for a shower. I needed to relax and think a little more clearly. and with the unsolved problem ruminating in my head, I ran cold water over me. After few minutes it hit me, this is it. This line is impactful and will deliver the apt message.
The theta state of mind has been practiced in several different ways: some take a walk, listen to music, some take a nap, gardening or just indulge in a less stressful activity to free the mind to come up with its own solution. However, it’s a lot different then a break if you are using it to play video games or doing a task that grabs your attention. You got to go mindless.
P.S: if you are an animal lover do spread the word as Indian NGOs for stray animals like Cheersfurever Foundation (cheersfurever.com) need ample help to solve the crisis situation of strays in India.

get Productive not Busy

We have limited time and endless pursuits to be achieved. Our success is highly depended upon our skill to execute our goals efficiently and on time. That’s when we call it a day.

Often we know what we want to do. It’s the when and how that hinders our progress. If only we could hack into the secrets of productivity and with practice impossible would be nothing.

Before the digital media gaining momentum we had to attend endless workshops, seminars to unlock the secrets of a productive day and hence a successful career or profession.

Today, the secrets are not all that difficult to access. With endless content on media channels harnessed through successful small time business owners from across the world and not just the tycoons in the industry, many management gurus, start-up entrepreneurs, zealous coach and mentors have researched, practiced, published their findings and garnered many followers by tapping into secrets of a productive lifestyle.  

Each day we wake up with limitless energy but unless we do not allocate our resources to the right use our hard work will have no rewards. Being smart is knowing the how to meet the goals.

In an entire day we have to distribute our energy at home, at work, reserve for our family and friends and despite all the hectic schedule we cannot afford to neglect our very own well-being both physical and mental. If only we can take care of ourselves can we take care of people around us. Hence, we need to stay on top of our productivity game to be successful or efficient. 

It took me many videos and a lockdown to derive at the thought that staying busy cripples you and being productive frees you.

Before this I was plainly reactive and complaining for lack of time and too much unfulfilling work and yet never got anything done. I repeated this process for 4 years.

Until I came across self-development advice from leading mentors and experienced speakers that changed my perspective.

It even got me to start this blog so that I can share with you what I am learning.

  1. take action: action brings results. it’s that simple. just a long to do list doesn’t mean doing a lot but quality work matters. If then you have time reflect on how you can improve you work but don’t just go about adding more meaningless work to your list.
  2. 3 to dos maximum – 3 appears to be the secret number for the amount of priority work you must carry.
  3. Choose your when: when you get job done is significantly important as we have limited amount of energy and focus to distribute. If you can match your energy to the task you want to achieve then it is a day well done.

One of my favorite speaker who enriches my understanding on productivity.

Motivation: only one theory works


Before Covid it was just a phone call that got me on my feet. I never planned my day as most of the time I was reactive than proactive. So I didn’t need motivation as such. I just had to get it done. When the lockdown hit I was relieved for few months I hated the busy lifestyle and now I had sometime to sit back and re-plan or re-strategize my way of working. In a way it was a boon.


At the same time since I never encountered this feeling of lack of urgency it was difficult to generate one because now I don’t know why was I working. I had no one to get back to or send a reply to. Even fulfilling daily task seemed a challenge because earlier it was just a means and no one cared to did it or not. Now it was imperative to execute daily chores only because you are aware of what’s around you and it seems to bother you. On work front, things were a bit slow and no where to rush to as a result being motivated is hard to come by.


Despite all this day in and day out I was hooked on to what the mentors, experts, coaches had to say about motivation and to my surprise the philosophy of motivation only excited me. So I ran search on youtube across various speakers: mel robbin, rob dial, jay Shetty, marissa peer and everyday tried to better my understanding on the drive that gets us going. We all have come across the saying you have passion and nothing is impossible to achieve. Well it is if we are unmotivated. I for one suck at routine jobs. I cannot just follow routine each day . I have best days and worst days and in a week it’s a day or two that are best rest they only suck.

You know the endless banter you can find about habits and how crucial they are to define who you are. But even to form habits you need motivation. I cannot write daily if I don’t know why am I writing or am I receiving anything in return to do that. So no matter how much I watch morning or evening routine videos they just don’t work for me. You can always refer to james clear atomic habits to clearly understand how habits make you who you are. I am not saying that everything that out there is just garbage. But being daily motivated surely is. And so, I came across this new theory after many many other eulogized speeches. This one works for me and if you put it into action it will work for you too. So this ‘discovery’ came by when I watched therapy in a nut shell – a great youtube channel to understand the working of the mind for the anxiety driven or depression experiencing people. For sure, many must have experienced the feeling of anxiety and depression at some point during the lockdown situation. And as I was browsing its various content I came across this:

It demystifies motivation through a simple step and that is action. That’s all it takes. Motivation follows action and even as I sit to write this blog down it is my action that led to this series in the first place and now I have made something possible only because I took action and as I see it complete I am driven to write my next blog.

No doubt meanwhile, looking to seek your feedback and your motivation theory that can only help us thrive better in this reinvented world.

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