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Pay attention to your patterns

“Why do I always react in that way?!”

Ever find yourself thinking this when you realise you’ve had an unhelpful response to something?

We all do it.

We all have unconscious patterns of thoughts or behaviour, which are built up over time through repetition.

Think about driving a car. When you were first learning to drive, you had to consciously think about what you were doing. But after a while, and a lot of repetition and practise, it all became automatic.

The same is true of our thoughts.

Sometimes those thoughts are unhelpful to us though. We have no idea why we are reacting that way and we become frustrated and angry with ourselves. It may even begin to cause problems in our relationships with others.

This is because our minds are pattern matching machines - one negative experience can set in motion a program of behaviour designed to protect us from ever having to go through that experience again.

Our unconscious mind is an ever-vigilant bodyguard when it comes to protecting us. But sometimes it gets things a bit wrong, and the pattern of behaviour that evolves is not always the most effective way of protecting us.

The good news is, you can interrupt that pattern. You can change it for a new thought or behaviour. This may seem difficult at first, but with the same repetition and practise that it took to build up the original response, you can create a new one.

Think of it like choosing to take a new path through the woods. At first your way through may seem impossible - how can you possibly make your way through all the brambles and fallen logs?

But each time you take that path the brambles get beaten back a little more, the logs get easier to step over, and you realise that things are becoming much easier and more enjoyable. And in the meantime, that old path you were on has become overgrown and impassable!

You don’t have to remain stuck in one way of thinking or behaving - interrupt that pattern and see how easily life changes for you.

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