Change your thinking, change your life.
This is going to be an incredibly powerful post for you. I have been working on these things in my life for many years, not only because I am a psychologist and I have seen the research, but because I want to be a better me. And I have seen a better me. I have more tasks which you could equate with stress than ever before and I do not believe I am more stressed out. I have my moments for sure. But I have changed my perception of stress, time, and life. I can handle more at a calmer state of being.
Today’s post is about altering your thoughts which in turn changes the way you see your world. This sounds very easy too. However, our brains take training and re-training consistently to make alterations. There are numerous ways to accomplish this but it’s going to take serious commitment on your part. You will have to change your thoughts when things are good and when the going gets tough.
So how do we change our thoughts?
Well to begin, thoughts are all an illusion anyway. They are whatever we create them to be. And some thoughts are very adaptive and some are maladaptive.
Let me give you an example. Say you have a dog scratching at the door to go outside. One person could think “this damn dog gets on my last nerve” (maladaptive and negative thought) and another person could think “good boy for letting me know you have to go outside” (positive thought). Each polar opposite thought leads to emotions and behaviors not only toward your dog but manifested in yourself. So thoughts are anything we make. Thoughts are how we choose to see the world. Your thoughts don’t happen TO YOU but FROM YOU.
Starting today I invite you to be more self aware of your thinking patterns and where they take you? Are you have a lot of negative thoughts which lead to defensive and negative emotions and behaviors toward yourself and others? Throughout the day check in with yourself to see what you are thinking and feeling at any given point in time. I encourage you to keep a journal nearby to jot down some notes. Sometimes I notice an internal shift and I will stop to see what happened externally and internally to make this happen. It helps me get a grip on my response to the world.
Once you have awareness of your internal thoughts and feelings experiment with mini meditations to determine how you want to spend your time in the world. This morning during my meditation affirmations came to me very freely. Because I see them as a gift I will share them with you:
I am enough
I am loving
I am giving
I am effective
I am present
I am in line with my purpose
These came up for me and you are more than free to repeat these toward yourself. Or find a quiet space and see what affirmations are coming up for you. You might be surprised that your intuition knows exactly what you need.
Another favorite practice of mine is having mantras that I repeat to myself throughout the day. They are reminders to keep me on track with loving myself and others. One of my favorite new thoughts in the last 6 months is that “the universe works in my favor”. This quote is from Rumi. Another way I say this to myself is “Everything is rigged in my favor.” That’s right…I said EVERYTHING. If you believe everything is rigged in your favor than it is. Even the crappy unwanted things that happen in your life.
I will share a recent story showing you everything is rigged in our favor that happened with my husband. For years he has wanted a boat. He had a great boat for many years but sold it upon having children. A few weeks ago he thought he found a great deal on an older pre-owned fishing boat. We sunk about $1,000 into buying it only to discover that the pre-owned engine was beyond repair rendering the boat worthless. My husband was trying to keep himself calm after hearing this. He felt stupid for trusting the guy he bought it from and ultimately was mad at himself for buying a piece of junk, essentially. We started contacting local marinas to determine a best course of action such as buying a new $5,000-$7,000 engine for an old fishing boat which we were told was almost worthless. Annoyed that he already dumped money into it I told him to keep calling around to explore our options. By the end of the day we were driving away with a brand new boat totally within our monthly budget which we didn’t think was possible. We also were able to get some money back on the old fishing boat as well!
I know if he didn’t know buy the old “worthless” fishing boat we never would have ended up at the marina exploring our boating options. Even though you could believe he was scammed, everything worked out in his favor at the end. It’s all how you see things.
Practice using the mantra “everything works in my favor” everyday. You will be amazed at what happens from getting the perfect parking spot to the house of your dreams. And even if in the moment things don’t feel like they are in your favor you will eventually see how they are in your favor.
I started using mantras about 8-9 years ago when I was training for my first marathon. When I would hit the runners wall I would say (sometimes out loud!) “Breathe. Breathe Again. Focus on Being rather than Doing”. This is a great when when you are feeling stressed. Mantras can refocus you, bring you back to the present moment, and keep you from falling into negative thinking patterns.
Start implementing these positive thinking practices today to change your life. I bet if you practiced these for one week you will see a difference in your life! And please add your stories of positive thinking to inspire others!