Our brains process about 11 million bits of information a second.
Current estimates are that our conscious minds process only 40 bits of information a second.
Much of your mental process is not readily available to "you". Often our decisions are made subconsciously by the parts of our brain processing those 11 million bits of information. These decisions are made almost instantaneously and are based upon our past experiences and sometimes instinct.
As human beings we have a special capability called metacognition - the ability to think about our thinking. Using this ability allows us to be self-directed. Mindfulness allows us to develop our metacognition skills. You can work on being more mindful and aware by just paying attention to your thinking. Be the observer and don't get caught up in the chatter. Mental capabilities can be cultivated through practice. Rick Hanson's book below is a great manual for "re-wiring" your brain.
Zen Presence - Ideas for Meaningful Living
Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence by Rick Hanson
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