22 Mar The Power of Your Thoughts and Strategies to Mind Them
Change your thoughts and you change your world – Norman Vincent Peale
Thoughts have the power to provoke feelings, feelings in turn provoke our behavior (good or bad). “A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes” -Mahatma Gandhi. Considering these quotes, it would be wise to become aware of our thoughts. It may be random repetitive thoughts or your belief/thought about a situation, all have the potential of producing negative feelings that manifest into negative actions. I’ve had plenty moments when I wished I caught a negative thought before it became “alive” in my life. The awesome truth is we are not enslaved to our thoughts and feelings (although it may very well feel that way). There are a few things we can do to “mind our thoughts”:
Journaling is an ancient tradition, one that dates back to at least the 10th century. Although this activity may seem time consuming in a society where we are always on the go. Taking a few minutes to record your thoughts without editing can reduce stress, help solve problems, and build on self-awareness.
Once you have identified thoughts that are disruptive or thoughts that bring about negative emotions; challenge them. Hold them up in your mental court of law and present evidence that counteract their claim. Remember you have the ability to overrule your thoughts, it just takes work. Even if the thought has an argument, challenge yourself to reframe the thought in another light, i.e. I failed my exam therefore I am so stupid to I failed my exam therefore I will study differently for the next exam. Within this example, the revised thought produces a more positive feeling than the initial self-loathing thought although the situation did not change. Do not let negative thoughts take root, it WILL affect your behavior.
3. Be Proactive:
What are you feeding your mind? Like the body the mind responds to its intake. If you were to spend your life feeding your body agents that will work against it, your immune system would be compromised when needed to fight an external threat. Well your mind is no different, if your surroundings and influences are of negative nature, when the opportunity arises for your mind to combat a negative thought the muscle is weak. Surround yourself with positivity and your mind muscle will be more likely to withstand the influence of disruptive thoughts.
Taking some quiet time to relax the mind can do wonders in controlling thought and becoming self-aware. There are several different types of meditations. Exploring what is best for you is suggested. Other benefits are; improved concentration, increased happiness and research has even proven that there are physical benefits as well. One study, published in 2008 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, reported that 40 of 60 high blood pressure patients were able to stop taking their blood pressure medication after starting the practice of meditation.
5. Be consistent:
This part is so important. Whichever method chosen, stick with it. It takes 21 days to solidify a habit. Change is not an overnight process. Invest the time in yourself, you are worth it!
Unfortunately, at times our efforts may not scratch the surface of addressing some maladaptive thoughts and we are caught in the vicious cycle of self-sabotage. Keep in mind that there is only one life to live, each day spent in a conundrum of constant worry or self-defeating thoughts is lost and cannot be regained. Living your best life may require getting additional guidance and support to address the origin or source of your thoughts. Free your mind and click here for your first consultation. We would love to help.
Carmy Howard, LMHC, MBA, DCC, CCTP