by Jacquelyn Ikonomov
It is time to take responsibility for our thoughts, just like we take responsibility for our behaviors. Most of us learned as young children that we must acknowledge the role our actions play in our own lives. Both good behaviors and bad behaviors have an impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. If you pull a girl’s hair in class, you aren’t allowed out for recess. If you save your money each day, you can purchase something of more value later. If you eat pizza and too much candy for dinner, you get a stomachache. We also learn early on that our actions impact more than just ourselves. For example, when someone litters while visiting a park, it hurts the experience of every person that visits the park after.
After learning the Nuuaria Method®, I understood that even our social connections can impact far more than just our behaviors. Our direct connections and connections up to three degrees of separation can impact our thoughts, which can change our lives. I believe it is time we take significantly more responsibility for our thoughts as well.
Researchers Christakis & Fowler published results from the Framingham Heart Study; they followed 12,067 subjects for over 32 years and found that a person’s chances of becoming obese increased by 50%-75% if a friend became obese and 25%-50% if a friend of a friend became obese. In the same study, they found that if a friend quit smoking, you were 67% less likely to smoke. People who were connected to others by up to three degrees of separation were also influenced. If one person quits, the odds of a person two degrees apart stopping smoking is 29%. In a three-degree separation, the chances are 11%. The behaviors of our friends, family, neighbors, and other social circles have huge impacts on our lives even if we don’t know them.
Let me give you some background on thoughts and thought habits to give you a better picture of how this works. At the beginning of each program Nuuaria offers, you will learn the Nuuaria Method®. The basis of the Nuuaria Method® states that our repeated thoughts lead to our emotions, which impact our behaviors, and therefore, our life circumstances. Humans have on average 40,000 to 70,000 thoughts in one day and these thoughts fall into categories, such as overthinking, obsessive thinking (circling), perfectionism, all-or-nothing, catastrophic, analysis paralysis, or storytelling thinking. Our brain loves to see patterns in our 40,000 to 70,000 thoughts and puts them into a handful of thought buckets. If we have thought a similar thought 1,000 times and it keeps us safe or helps us in some way, our brain saves energy by applying that way of thinking to other areas of our lives.
This is awesome for efficiency and saving mental energy, but it is not so great because some habitual thought buckets should not be applied to every thought. For example, if you are a doctor who at work is habitually thinking about perfectionism, that is great! But if you apply perfectionism to your home life, social life, in addition to your work life, that can cause a high degree of stress. Our thought categories become habitual, which means they are done unconsciously.
Our thinking directly impacts our lives. If most of our thoughts are of the all-or-nothing variety, our food habits become the choice between eating pizza and cake or salad and carrots. If we spend most of our time with thoughts of perfectionism, we may never launch that podcast because the first one is never good enough to share.
If we spend most of our time with thoughts of story-telling; even a simple glance can lead to false assumptions. An example of story-telling is when you ran to the grocery store at the last minute and didn’t change out of your home-pants (pants you don’t normally wear out in public because you think they are too small) and a lady looks at you with an odd expression, and you tell yourself, “I’m sure that lady thinks I’m fat. Why am I so fat? I knew I shouldn’t have worn these pants. OMG, this is so embarrassing.” However, perhaps the lady only made a funny face because she just passed gas. I know this is a silly example, but this example shows you how your thoughts can directly impact your life.
Your thoughts can also impact others in two ways. The first is by someone speaking their thoughts out loud and influencing others. The second is by a repeated thought becoming a belief. Beliefs are passed down from generation to generation without being explicitly said.
For example, a daughter may experience insecurity about her weight because of her mother’s insecurities about her own weight. Mothers don’t have to say anything about their daughter’s weight to teach them to be insecure. It is possible that her mother only learned that from her mother or from her circle of influence. Like a disease, your thoughts can be transmitted through communities and passed down through the generations. The old adage of actions speak louder than words applies here.
If your boss is a catastrophic thinker, it won’t be long until everyone in the whole office begins to think that the sky is going to fall. If your significant other is all-or-nothing in their weight loss attempts, it is likely you will think that way too.
Often people find it uncomfortable to talk about taking responsibility. We talk about taking responsibility for our actions much more because it is harder to hide these behaviors and pretend that they don’t exist. Behaviors are often documented by witnesses, photographs, and social media.
Thoughts are different. We often pretend our thought habits and emotional baggage can be swept under the rug because no one can see them except ourselves. The truth is others are aware of it. Thoughts lead to emotions, and emotions lead to behaviors. It is time to address what is under the rug so that you and your social circle can stop tripping over the bumps in the rug.
Going through the Nuuaria Programs has taught me to take responsibility for my actions as well as my thoughts. I have learned which tools to choose so that my thoughts can lead me to the life I want. It brings me chills to know that the work I am doing on myself will impact my friends, friends of friends, and even generations to come. People can stop thought habits that no longer serve them. You can be the link in your family that stops being insecure. You can be the one in your social circle that showers people with love, not hate. When you become the director of your thoughts, rather than being directed, you have more power than you can ever imagine.