Questions are very important on our way to mindfulness. The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates thought that questions could lead us to many discoveries. One of the most important discoveries is that questions can reveal to us what we think and lead us to a better life.
The formula is simple. When we ask good questions, we get good answers that can help us grow and evolve to a better version of ourselves.
As a life coach, I use questions a lot. I know that some questions I ask (myself or others) will lead to pain and others will empower. Questions can trigger responses like “let’s move on”, “let’s do something”, “let’s think positively”, “let’s plan”, “let’s change perspective” and “let’s appreciate”. It is like pressing a button.
Every thought we have also triggers a feeling, so by “pressing the button” for that thought, we can create that feeling. For example, the “good memory” button will make us happy and “bad memory” button will bring us pain and suffering.
We may not have more bad memories than good memories, but if we press the “bad memory” button more often, we will have more suffering.
Questions are like buttons. They can trigger happiness, empowerment, hope or anxiety.
When we ask, “Why does he hate me?” we bring back memories supporting the thought of someone hating us.
If we ask, “How can I make him love me?” our mind searches for cause-and-effect reactions that have led to others to love us.
Think of questions as instructions we give the brain to go and search for something. Like a dog when you throw it a toy or a ball. Whatever you throw comes back (wet). Much like the dog, the brain will not rest until it finds its objective.
Have you ever tried to remember something and just could not let go until you found it? Well, this happens to you at the conscious level, so you are aware of the search process. You try to find a hook, a snippet of memory that will bring you the name of the song, the singer or the place you have visited with your two kids in a double stroller.
At the subconscious level, it happens in the same way. The difference is that the brain will not let go of the question, sometimes for days, until it finds an answer. It is like telling your dog-of-a-brain to “fetch”, so you have to be careful what you want it to fetch.
Some people say that the quality of your life depends on the quality of your questions. If your questions are bad, you will have a bad life. If your questions are good, you will have good life. Simple!
Seek and you shall find
As a parent, I trigger positive thought buttons at dinnertime, when I asked everyone to share 3 good things that happened to them throughout the day.
Remember, if I ask what bad things happened, the brain will find them too. It is possible that you have had more bad things, but when you pay more attention to the good, you feel as if the day was better.
This is literally “Seek and you shall find”. By asking the right questions, you can change what you seek and what you feel as a result.
Here is a list of questions that you want your brain to “fetch”. The answers will move you forward towards a mindful, happy and fulfilling life.
These mindfulness questions will turn your focus towards great, successful and happy things. They will inspire empowering acts, rather than feeling sorry for yourself, blaming, justifying, guilt, failure, anger, sadness and misery.
I suggest you print the list and then go over the questions twice a day. I find mornings and evenings the best times to read them. Mornings set you up for a good day and evenings help you summarize your day and set you up for a good night’s sleep.
- What do I want?
- What will I get when I reach my goal?
- What am I grateful for?
- What can I do/say/think/feel right now that will bring me happiness?
- What memory brings me joy?
- How can I be more positive?
- How can I be kinder?
- Who are the people that support me in this life and how can I spend more time with them?
- What can I do/say/think/feel that will make me a better person?
- What did I learn that would lead me into a better future?
- Whom do I need to forgive (myself included)?
- How would I feel without fear/anger/disappointment/anxiety?
- How can I express my feeling without hurting anyone?
- What went well for me today and how did I contribute to it?
- What are the things I appreciate/love/enjoy about myself?
- What am I proud of?
- What are the lessons I have learned from unfortunate events in my life?
- How can I achieve a win-win situation (in some conflict)?
- What are the opportunities in this (unfortunate event)?
- How can I make it work (for a challenge)?
- What do I need to believe/think/feel in order to achieve what I want?
- How will I reward myself when I achieve my goal?
- Why am I lucky to have this in my life?
- How can I help others?
- What can I do for the greater good?
- How can I be kind to myself (with my actions, thoughts, expectations, relaxation, taking time off to rejuvenate, putting my interests first, etc)?
- Who suffers when I am angry/upset/disappointed/unhappy/sad?
- How can I relax/calm down/be creative/be effective/be friendly/be happy?
- How can I focus on the future and actively work towards it?
- How can I make this world a better place?
- What do I need to do to be more confident?
- What will I think of myself if I do this?
This is a list of good questions, because their answers will lead you to mindfulness, responsibility, action, control, empowerment, creativity and courage. All you have to do is keep asking them.
You will get better and better answers over time, and this will translate immediately into a better and better life.
Try it for three weeks and see how your life changes!