Scientists estimate that humans can have up to 80,000 thoughts a day. Most of these are random thoughts.
Some thematic thoughts take up more space than others creating habitual thinking patterns. Thinking patterns can be negative or positive. Depending on how much time is allotted to these thoughts, ones mood, physical, mental and spiritual well being can be impacted, Negative thought patterns include a ruminative quality as one focuses on regret from bygone days, worrying about the future, blaming, feeling guilty, wanting an apology, needing to forgive, remembering missed opportunities. Not all thoughts are draining and tiring. Some of these thoughts are epiphanies. Maybe a million dollar idea lies in the random flow. Perhaps a soul saving, spirit rejuvenating idea blossoms out of the random flow. Many humanitarian groups and projects have blossomed out of a random thought.
Some say meditation and mindfulness brings a spacious quality to ones thinking, where there is breathing room and a person can relax and learn to bring attention to their thoughts. With this mindful attention a person could see the beauty of some of their thoughts and follow those for fruition. In this slowed down mode a person can see how their thoughts can be inspiring or draining and learn to choose the inspiring ones. Meditation and mindfulness also bring other benefits to life like reducing stress, anxiety, depression, chronic illness.
Perhaps sitting meditation is difficult for some. The quality of mindfulness can be found in other activities. Some find these spacious moments when they paint, play the piano or another instrument, write poetry, write a story, go for a run, gardening, …all of this to essentially clear ones head. All of these activities can quiet the chatter, slow down the random flow of thoughts and illuminate the thoughts to focus on and the ideas to follow through.
Once a person experiences the joys of clear thinking, finding the time to practice intentional living, consciously choosing thoughts becomes as essential as breathing. Cultivating ones mind so that the thoughts are enriching takes practice. As a novice gardener, pianist, artist learns to discern what notes flow together, what colors balance together, which flowers to grow, so does the mindful thinker choose which thoughts to follow and grow. Ultimately the goal may not be to reduce the number of random thoughts as much as to create space in the mind for thoughts that are enriching.