You are not your mind! Neuroscience and psychology tell us that 95 percent of our mind operates from subconscious programming and 5 percent from conscious decision-making.

This explains why you don’t need to relearn how to speak or ride a bicycle continuously. You learned these skills, and now they are resident in your subconscious.

Some of our subconscious programming also produces negative thoughts that ultimately don’t serve us very well. Gaining more control over our thoughts can help create a happy and successful life. It’s unlikely we’ll ever achieve 100% mind control, but the more we practice and improve, the better our life.

As a starting point, we already have lots of control over our mind. For example, we don’t walk out of a store without paying or park our car on the sidewalk.

Our thoughts, emotions, and behavior are deeply intertwined. Thoughts create emotions, and emotions drive our behaviors. It follows that if we can examine our thoughts with awareness, we can shift those thoughts and therefore provide a supportive outcome for our feelings and behaviors to serve us better.

Example: You are in traffic, and someone cuts you off.
Thought: W?! – you X#$?!
Feeling: Offended, angry.
Behavior: Drive up beside the other driver and make a rude gesture.
Result: You are upset and experience emotional dysregulation and stress, which may carry on into your day (self-sabotaging).

Let’s shift our thought:

Thought: I’ve made the same mistake as them in the past.
Feeling: Empathy.
Behavior: Wish them well and remain calm.
Result: You get on with your day (self-supporting).

Of course, we can face far more significant challenges. Some of our thoughts, emotions, and behavioral responses can result in negative personal consequences. This is what we want to avoid.

A strategy that has helped me, for which I thank neuroscientist Dr. Daniel Amen, is giving my mind a name. I call it George. When I was a child, I loved the Curious George books. George was a monkey, and his curiosity (mind) was always getting him into hot water.

Now when I notice my thoughts are running away in an unpleasant or negative direction, I talk to my mind: “George, where are you taking me?” Then I can regain control of my thoughts by remembering the acronym STOP:

Stop – whatever you are thinking and pause momentarily.
Take a breath – connect with your breath – bring yourself into the present
Observe – where has your mind gone; what is happening inside you?
Proceed – create new thoughts that serve you better.

What name will you give your mind?
How will you use this name to mindfully notice your thoughts?
How might using STOP improve your thoughts and therefore your emotions and

I wish you the very best on your journey to conscious thoughts and to experience more self-supporting feelings and behaviors.

With loving kindness,
Coach Billy