In an a blog post about resetting out mental inbox to zero, the author cites the statistic that researchers thing we have 50,000 thoughts go through out heads each day. In my experience I log from 5 to 25 thoughts per day when they come to my attention as negative or distracting. That means on a good day I am capturing .05% of the thoughts I am actually having.
So what is the purpose of logging thoughts? It cannot be to capture the overall population of thoughts and deal with them one by one. Simple math says we are having a thought every 1.8 seconds. The purpose of logging and meditation is positive in my experience, but the skill set I am building is absolutely not to capture and dispose of all thoughts.
What must be happening is the underlying context and connecting beliefs beneath the thoughts shifts from “these are 50,000 representations of reality that must be true” to “these are 50,000 impressions that may or may not be true.” That small shift allows an arising thought to be seen in context as one impression in a stream of impressions.
An analogy could be this. Each message in your email inbox is an electronic message that may or may not be important. Some are critical, most are irrelevant. We have learned with time to scan for the important and ignore or filter the junk. So too with thoughts. Instinctively we can shift to where thoughts have no credibility just because they are thoughts. Some will help us look both ways before crossing a street. Others such as self criticism or fear of the unknown we let pass to the junk folder.
So a Quantified Self strategy is to log thoughts that correspond with feeling, and see that in your sample set of 5 to 25 some are important and most are riddled with error. With time and practice you will not look to get your email box to zero…you will enjoy knowing that you are good at filtering the good from the bad. And knowing how to do that will bring you peace.