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Meta-cognition is defined as "cognition about cognition," or, "knowing about knowing." What the heck am I talking about you ask?
In other words: it's thinking about your own thinking.
Some people out there suggest that you should try to control your own thoughts. Trying to control my thoughts seems pretty ridiculous to me though. How can you control your thoughts?
I have no idea. That's like trying to control the wind. It ain't happening. Having thoughts is what your mind is for. They just pop up.
But what I do believe we can do is control how we react to our thoughts. Big difference.
Thinking is a beautiful thing. And problems (or suffering) only occur when you get caught up on a particular thought.
Being aware of your own thinking is very valuable.
For example, do you always worry? Do you always assume the worst? Are you overly forgiving of yourself?
There are definite patterns we all have. If you tend to turn hiccups into huge deals and worry (for no reason) realize that's what you do.
If you obsess over things realize this.
If you're very forgetful don't forget that. Ha! (Start writing things down)
The more you can be aware of your own thinking the better off you'll be.
According to scientists the new crucial skill to making good decisions is the ability to think about your own thinking. Unless you reflect on how you're making decisions, you won't be able to use your instincts or gut.
According to psychologist Philip Tetlock the best predictor of good judgment isn't intuition or experience or intelligence. It's the willingness to engage in introspection.
Our thinking is extremely faulty. And it's important you realize this.
This game we're about to play only has one rule. Don't think about white bears. You can think about anything but white bears. Ready?
Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Now banish the animals from your head.
You just lost the game! (It's okay everyone loses the game.)
That's what happens. Try to avoid thinking about a white bear and that thing will come to mind every minute. In fact, whenever we try not to think about something, be it ice cream or bears that thing comes to mind. Stuck in our loop of self-consciousness.
Our mind backfires. Our attempts at repressing the thought turn into a fixation.
But being aware of this is the first step - that our mind fixates on things - you can learn to not listen or trust your thoughts. You can realize that your thoughts are just thoughts.
You don't have to necessarily react to them. You don't have to believe them. You don't have to act on them.
Just realizing that's what our mind does can be hugely helpful.
1. Let's say a family member doesn't call you back. You can go into a tail spin of thinking about why they haven't called you back. You can (and will) create all sorts of stories about what might have happened and the reasons why.
Or - you can just realize that our mind is faulty and creates all sorts of stories and that you shouldn't believe any of them. In fact, you should just laugh at your thoughts and not pay attention to them because this is what your mind does.
2. You fixate on a certain food. Therefore, you fixate on it even more. Realize your mind is going to torture you. And play tricks on you. Being aware of this helps a lot. "Fine - let me obsess over this piece of food. I know that's what's going to happen. But I won't listen to you mind! Because I know in a little while, I'll have forgotten all about you!"
Make it a mindful and thoughtful day!
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