Learning How To Become Thoughtless

Emotions play an important role in many situations. They help us empathize, express, and feel. Without emotions, we would never be compelled enough to take action, big or small. I’ve heard it said that emotions are Energy in Motion, E-motion, hence the term.

When it comes to our fitness goals, emotions tend to have a sabotaging effect.

Emotions usually get the best of us on Friday’s, when we snooze our alarms instead of getting up at 5 am to go workout. Emotions also get the best of us in the middle of a workout when we allow frustration to sabotage our workout. Emotions get the best of us when choosing between a pizza over a salad, undermining our weight loss goals.

In these moments we need to learn how to become “thoughtless.” Let me explain…

Every morning I get up, I have about 100 thoughts running through my mind in my first few minutes of waking. That is pretty accurate given our brains produce as many as 50,000 thought per day (National Science Foundation). 99.9% of those thoughts tend to be negative. Thoughts such as “I have so many emails to reply to,” “I have a grad paper due tomorrow,” “I need to find time to workout today,” etc., etc., etc. So instead I recognize these thoughts as automatic and ignore the negativity by becoming thoughtless. I ignore the feelings as they came into my awareness

It isn’t until a half hour later when I’m more alert, caffeinated (I love my coffee), and my body has warmed up that I can start to process my thoughts less emotionally. I’ve done this for as long as I can remember with excellent results.

Not only has this helped me train my Emotional Intelligence, but it consistently helps me start my day in a more positive light. If I told myself I was going to wake up at 5am to workout. I get up. I don’t overthink it. If I told myself I was going to hit the gym today. I do it. I give myself an hour window and just do it. If I told myself that I would eat a salad for dinner. I eat it. I don’t feel bad for myself.

As Seneca, the famous Stoic Philosopher once wrote, “we suffer more in imagination than in reality.” If I ever gave my morning thoughts, or any of these negative thoughts the time of day, I would never be where I’m at today.

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