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Are you Aware of your Automatic Thinking?

Automatic Thinking

Did you know that we have two completely different ways of thinking? One is automatic, fast and unconscious; the other is the complete opposite.

To understand this, answer the following questions. 1. Mary had a little ……..? 2. Roses are red and violets are ………..? 3. Blondes have more …………? 4. What is 54 times 37?

Now, the first three answers probably sprang instantly into your mind and took no mental effort whatsoever. This illustrates our ‘automatic’ thinking system. However, the answer to the last question comes from our ‘deliberate’ system. We have to put a lot of focus and effort into solving the problem.   

Our automatic system is great for doing things quickly without thinking. This is why, for example, we can drive a car and arrive at our destination without having taken a blind bit of notice of how we got there. But, the down-side is that our automatic thinking isn’t always accurate. For example, have you seen any blue violets and do blondes really have more fun? Seriously?

Mostly, stressful thinking comes from the automatic system. For example, when a friend fails to acknowledge us across the street, our automatic thinking goes straight into wondering what we have done to upset them. Our automatic negative thoughts can snowball out of control. So, we need to switch over to our deliberate system and think about it in a different way. Maybe our friend wasn’t wearing their glasses, or their mind was elsewhere.

So, next time you are stressing out it may be best to check your thinking. Are you in your automatic system? Then get into your deliberate system and do a reality check. It takes more effort but it may stop you from going down a rabbit hole of negative thinking.

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