Change your thoughts, improve your life.

"Man is what he thinks about all day long." Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your life is a reflection of your thoughts

Learning how to use your mind effectively, so it works for you instead of against you, is one of the most useful life skills to obtain. Your thoughts are very powerful entities and have the ability to determine your life circumstances.

We may often believe that most situations we face are unrelated to how we think and feel and, that life just happens to us. We do not see the link between our thoughts and what we experience. However, our outer life is a reflection of our internal patterns of thoughts and feelings.

If we focus more on changing the thought processes instead of the circumstances, we gain the ability to make longer lasting improvements within our lives.

The effects of our thoughts

Our thoughts can be likened to energy, the effects are far-reaching and are transferred to all aspects of our mental and physical being. Every thought that enters our mind has the potential to alter how we feel, how we see the world, our reactions and what actions we choose to take.

Positive thoughts will have a nurturing effect on our beliefs, feelings and actions. They will help to create peace, happiness, clarity, enthusiasm and opportunities. Negative thought patterns have the opposite effect and restrict our lives in many ways, leading to anxiety, stress, inefficiency and difficulties in fulfilling our desires.

Many of our thought patterns and behaviours are learnt during our early years. Exposure to negative messages is frequent for most. Words and suggestions which are critical, disempowering and deconstructive such as "can't", "don't", "you're naughty", "silly" and "no", can lead to feelings of insecurity, self-blame and low self-esteem. Children will usually accept what is told to them by their significant others such as parents, siblings, teachers, peers, and when they are older, the media.

Your self talk

Your deeper mind will trust everything you tell yourself as being true, without any reasoning or questioning, whether it is positive or negative. These conversations that occur within the mind are continual and automatic, which will often go unnoticed, and they form your self-talk.

These patterns of thoughts are based on your experiences that have occurred over the years and the resultant beliefs you have acquired. One thought will lead to a stream of others, and the tone of these ideas will result in how you feel. Your self-talk has its own energy, which can either have beneficial effects or can cause turmoil depending on your perceptions about life.

Bringing these thoughts into your awareness will allow you to notice them, and replace any detrimental ones. Your thoughts should be inspirational, healing and nurturing. You may find monitoring the thoughts that run on autopilot difficult at first unless you have done this before, but practice makes it easier. With time you will replace negative thoughts with more productive ones, and you will gradually develop a new belief system that will lead you down a more fruitful path.

When others are negative

It is not the words others use that affect you. It is your reaction to their words or actions that influence how you feel. By giving your power over to other people, this allows them to irritate you or disturb your sense of peace. You can take that power back as it belongs to you. By acknowledging this, you can question and adjust your reactions towards other people. It puts you back in charge of your feelings. 

The negative words people may use do not have control over you unless you choose to accept their statements. You can disregard and reject them if they are not well intentioned or destructive towards you. Instead, replace them with positive messages and affirmations in your mind. You have autonomy over your mind, and do not need to allow others to determine your thoughts. It is you who makes the ultimate decision about how others affect you regardless of what they may say to you. You can listen to the opinions of others, but ultimately you should make the decision as to what types of ideas and behaviours you are willing to accept.

There are those who are unable to process their emotions in an effective manner. They tend to express their negativity towards others people. Poor thinking becomes a way of life. They may complain, nag, criticise and judge others. They may find it difficult to be around happy or peaceful people, so will often try to change the energy of others to match their own.

You may have people like this in your life, and your response towards them determines how they will affect you. You either need to put up a strong shield to deflect any negativity from influencing you, let it just wash over you, or politely depart their company. It is essential for your wellbeing to maintain your sense of calm without being drawn into the emotional discord. If you forgive them for their emotional immaturity, you will find that their words and behaviours do not have the same consequences. 

We are all different, and that is okay. We look at the same things from a wide variety of perspectives, and we react to situations in our unique ways. We do not need to all agree or have the same opinions to get along. We can acknowledge our differences in a positive and conducive manner. Our thinking should embrace our values, encourage our self-worth and enhance our sense of peace and harmony with others and within ourselves.

You can retrain your thought patterns

Learning how to retrain your acquired thought processes, moving away from the past and how to deflect negativity from other people and circumstances is possible.

Negative feelings about the past, present or future just block the flow of positive energy within you. They disturb your peace and hinder your progress towards contentment. Positive energy needs to be free flowing to enable it to improve your life. Anything that causes an obstruction in this should be dealt with before it becomes detrimental. Mental resistance, blame and anger towards others will be more harmful to you rather than the person towards whom it is aimed. Forgiveness is one of the most important healing processes. It is essential for your wellbeing to leave hurt feelings and resentment behind. Forgiveness is not accepting or agreeing with unkind words or actions of another. It is not about forgetting or brushing it aside. You do not even have to like the person. By forgiving, you are neutralising any ill feeling towards that person to the state where they do not have the ability or power to disturb your peace of mind. You can wish them well and move on with your life. It will set you free from the attachment you had with that person through the negativity that you have held. Resentment and hatred are destructive forces that result in illnesses both of a mental and physical kind.  

Mental attitude can be changed with patience, effort and understanding. Negative thoughts and words bring on negative feelings. Peaceful thoughts, words and behaviours will elicit feelings of contentment. The choice of words we use is imperative as they will affect your thinking, which will, in turn, affect how you feel, and this subsequently impacts on your actions and behaviours.


Article written by Dr Aleesha Dhillon
Disclaimer: This article is solely for information purposes. It is not to replace a consultation with a qualified health professional. It should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. The article is based on the opinions of the author who retains copyright. You are advised to make your own health decisions based on your research and alongside a qualified health professional. Please consult a doctor if you have any health concerns.

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