4 Tips to Help Reshape Your Thoughts
4 Tips to Help Reshape Your Thoughts
Many research studies using a technique called fMRI, have shown the power our thoughts have on emotions, behavior and experience in life. More than 90% of your life is shaped by the thoughts you have about yourself and others, as well as your experiences. Read more about this here. With this in mind, it is necessary for you to be intentional in learning to reshape your thoughts so that they are more positive/healthier. Being intentional about this really shifts the manner in which you live and go through life. Here are 4 ways to do this.
Gratitude is a great way to help reshape your thoughts. Our minds often tend to lean towards negative thoughts and situations easily. So in reshaping our thoughts, we have to be intentional about calling positive thoughts to mind. Thinking about the things we’re grateful for is a great way to do this. Here’s something you can do. At the end of each day, when you’re winding down, think of 2 things you’re grateful for that happened in the day, 1 thing you’re grateful you did for someone, 1 thing you’re grateful someone did for you, and 1 thing you’re grateful you did for yourself. Write these things down in your journal or your notes app on your phone. The trick here is that, because you know you will do this exercise, throughout your day, you’ll look out for these situations more. And this will gradually shape how you experience your day. This is a healthy way to end your day and impacts how you wake up as well. You may also do this exercise at the beginning of your day, noting the gratitude points for the previous day. Remember to write about the small things too, not just the major ones.
Mindfulness is a way of being in the present moment. If often leads to mental rest because this practice teaches you to disconnect from the usual racing thoughts you experience in your day. Mindfulness meditation also teaches you to observe your thoughts and realize that they are your thoughts. You think them, therefore you can control them. This form of mediation does not tell you to not think about anything. Rather, you are prompted to channel most of your mental energy to your breathing and awareness of the present moment. Because meditation helps you to slow your thought, and also notice them, you are better able to recognize your unhealthy thoughts and be intentional about reshaping them. I recommend starting off with the 5-minute guided meditations, and take it from there. With enough consistency, you could talk yourself through a practice.
Questioning is among the best tools for any kind of growth. We often let our thoughts run free without questioning them. What’s on my mind? Why do I think this/that? Is this a rational thought? Is this really true about me or my situation? What are the chances of this happening? Is this really as bad as I think it is? What triggered this thought process? Some of these questions are used by therapists to help clients notice and challenge their negative/unhealthy thoughts. One of my personal go-to questions is “How does thinking like this serve / help me?” Most negative thinking does not. It rather leads to a spiral that then causes negative emotions and and unhealthy behaviors. So ask yourself as many questions as you need to. With time, you’ll realize that the answers help to reshape your thoughts.
In my opinion, affirmations are at the top of the list for ways to reshape your thoughts. Affirmations are statements of self-encouragement, self-motivation and self-soothing. They are statements that we would often say to uplift someone we care about. Examples include, “I am beautiful inside and out”, “No matter what I go through, I will overcome”, “Each day, I’ll do my best, and that’s what counts”, “I am working hard towards the life I deserve” “I deserve love, kindness and respect” and “I am intelligent, brave, gifted and blessed”. Affirmations help you rewire your brain and the way you think. So, the more positive / healthy thoughts you have, the more positive / healthy experiences you will have too. It also helps to create affirmations that are tailored to your exact experience. For example, “Losing my job is only a bump in the road. My destiny is bigger than this rejection letter.” You may not believe some of the affirmations you use initially. Don’t worry, it is normal, especially because it is not your default way of thinking. Despite this, keep bombarding your brain with these types of statements. Eventually, they will become your go-to way of thinking.
Author: Petrina S. Adusei