Thought, decision, and choice pass through our filter system of belief before they are expressed in the world. This means we are performing daily routines and responding to colleagues, spouses, friends, family, and others on autopilot much of the day. And though often more efficient, I recently caught myself feeling the effects of old modes of automatic thinking. Hypnotized by my recurring negative thoughts and limited perspective, I decided I needed to switch gears, replace the broken record in my mind, play something a little more upbeat, and find a more flexible outlook.

I needed to refresh my filter myself in order to promote my happiness not impede it.

My filter was clogged and I needed to replace it as I would an air filter in my home or a Brita filter in my fridge. Unfortunately, thought filters are not on sale this week. I needed to refresh my filter myself in order to promote my happiness not impede it. As a hypnocoach, I strive to find new ways to focus attention on acceptable ideas and new behaviors. While both may be accomplished with the help of a pendulum or repeated phrases, lately, it has been my watch.

I decided to switch my watch from my right wrist to my left wrist and found the adjustment to be extremely disorienting. Each time I found myself glimpsing at my empty right wrist, rapidly and habitually (just like my thoughts), I was reminded that I have switched gears to manual. Without being on autopilot, my bare wrist assured me that another option was available.

Attempting to generate a new thought, I would take a deep breath, straighten my posture, and allow a new idea to take form that supported my current goals. Old thoughts popped into my head, I followed the same suit – taking a deep breath, standing tall, and allowing my bare wrist to remind me I have chosen a different direction.

For now, my watch is providing me a cue to consciously manage my thought filter.

Then, as to be expected, I will need to evaluate my filter again in a few months. The process is ongoing and I am always in charge of maintenance. For now, I will be looking to my left wrist for the time.