Your thoughts control everything you do. They control what you say and do, and how you act and react. YOUR thoughts and how you interpret everything that goes on around you affect your entire life, your relationships and interactions. Think about that for a second. Seriously.
The things we think are a reflection of a lot of things, our past, our experiences, our stressors, our outlook on the future, and almost anything thing else you can think of. These things, in our life have molded us, and built who we are… including our perceptions, and thoughts about everything around us
If we had an abusive past, our thoughts will reflect that with feelings of worthlessness, and disturbing memories. If we had a happy, healthy childhood our thoughts will reflect that also. If you are in a crappy relationship of course your thoughts and probable paranoia reflect that, with sneaking their phone or checking bank accounts.
Side note: Get out of the crappy relationship. It’s a waste of time, and energy, and you don’t need the extra headache. If you’re reading this book, you probably have enough bullshit to deal with already.
The following diagram is an example of the thought process and how it affects us, I use it often in explaining to patients how their either negative or positive thoughts effect their day and ultimately their life. Imagine your initial thought at the top of the triangle… it then moves to a specific feeling and then to a specific behavior, which then results in another thought.
Take for example you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and your initial thought is “Damn, I look like a cow”.
How do you feel? You feel gross, fat, ugly, and generally crappy, right?
So what do you do? What are your actions or behavior? You may not do your hair, you may not make eye contact with people, you may not eat appropriately, and you may isolate yourself more. All because you think you look like a cow today. So your next thought, when people aren’t talking to you or they’re possibly avoiding you, is that they don’t like you, and then you feel shittier about yourself, and isolate yourself even more. Do you see how that initial thought set into motion a whole snowball effect of events that could have been prevented? All because of a single runaway thought.
In contrast to the negative thought there is the positive side of thinking.
You wake up in the morning thinking “Damn, I look great today!”
How do you feel? You feel pretty, skinnier, healthier, and you have more confidence.
So what do you do? You take more care when doing your hair, walk with a bounce in your step, you make eye contact with people, and say hello to people. All of the things we do when they are more confident and sure of themselves. People of course respond accordingly, saying hello in return or even starting conversations, and even complimenting you, and as a result confirming your thoughts. All of which in turn develop your next thoughts, they like me, or they think I look good too. Which then promote more good thoughts and behaviors.
You can implement almost any thought into this cycle and track the corresponding feelings and behavior. Say for instance someone makes an offhand statement, and you happen to take that statement personally, you then are bitter and treat them differently, or you obsess over why they’re mad at you, or what you could of done, and then subsequently avoid them… even though they weren’t meaning to be offensive. It was YOUR THOUGHT that prompted the cycle, and is jeopardizing your relationship.
Do you see the pattern here? Do you do this to yourself? Do you know people that do this?
Either way it’s a cycle that YOU are in control of, it’s YOUR THOUGHTS that will dictate your outcome of misery or happiness.
Your thoughts are the start of this cycle and your feelings and behavior just follow accordingly based on the thought. You can’t fix the way you feel or your really your subsequent behavior, but you can control your thoughts that lead you there.
YES. YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS!
Now….. How do you control your thoughts, right? Because you’re thinking now, that I’m full of shit, and you can’t help what you think. At least that’s a response I get from a lot of patients… ” I can’t help it.”
And I agree, you can’t help what you think, because your thoughts are random and are affected by everything around you, constantly. But you can CHOOSE not to focus on your thoughts, and CHOOSE not to dwell on them, and CHOOSE not to allow them to dictate your actions and feelings.
One way you can combat your thoughts is to question them. Just because something pops in your head doesn’t make it true.
What was that?? IT’S NOT TRUE? If I think it, it must be true, right?
No…. that’s not right or a fact. Look for FACTS that support the thought.
Ask yourself things such as; is that TRUE ? and who says so?
What FACT proves it’s true… remember YOUR THOUGHT isn’t necessarily a FACT.
If it’s YOU saying something is true… you should be discredited immediately because obviously YOU can’t be trusted with your thoughts. I’m serious. YOU don’t count, when you’ve been know to self sabotage yourself already.
I’ve seriously had patients tell me that they’re worthless, and no body would care if they died. And when I’d ask for a FACT that supports this thought… they’ll say something like… “because I know it’s true” or “because I feel it” …. neither of which are FACTS.
FACTS FACTS FACTS What are they? Look for FACTS to support the thought.
We think random stupid shit all the time. Rather than dwell on those thoughts, challenge them to make them prove their worth. Are they worth your time and energy?
Is it necessary to focus on that thought? Is that thought even true?
What FACT proves that you look like a cow?? It’s simple… there isn’t one. It’s your opinion and just an opinion, but for some reason that particular day, your just feel ickier than usual. But the cow you see in the mirror is going to already make your day crappier, because you bought it. Rather than look in the mirror and then think that you need to do something different or do something to make yourself feel better. You bought the irrational false thought, and you’re going to allow it to ruin your day and your outlook.
So you think…. OMG, what if that car pulls out if front of me?
That one thought sent you into a “what if” hailstorm.
What if he hits me, what if I have to go the hospital, what will happen to my kids, what if I can’t afford it, what if he just totals my car.
And you’re now having rapid breathing, your starting to sweat, have mild chest pain and can’t stop the thoughts from pouring in. Right?
AND……. he didn’t pull out if front of you. All of that for NOTHING, no reason at all, it was an unnecessary thought that you focused on and then you slid downhill…. Quickly.
You could of NOT focused on it – and continued singing or whatever else you’re doing as you drive. No anxiety, no racing heart, no adrenaline drop. It would have saved you some unneeded emotional garbage.
You could of simply seen the car, and thought “what if he pulls out in front of me?” and CHOOSEN not to pursue the thought any further.
Weird concept isn’t it?? It is totally doable, and so much more satisfying than being in a constant state of semi-freak out, and overthinking everything you experience.
Are you a victim of over thinking and worry?
A victim of random self destructive thoughts?
Lets discuss some of the things you know you do, and we can challenge them together.