How Changing Our Thoughts Can Change Our Lives
According to my understanding this concept asks us to realize that circumstances do not create our lives. Rather it is our thoughts that dictate our reality. This is good news because while we cannot always change or control our circumstances we can learn to manage our thoughts. In their work ‘Words Can Change Your Brain’ doctors Andrew Newberg and Robert Waldman say, “Imagination has great power – it can trap us in a downward spiral of negative thoughts or we can use it to change decades of habituated behaviors that no longer serve us well.”
Every single thought stimulates an emotion. And if we repeat thoughts over and over in our minds, the attached emotion grows stronger. In the true yogic way (experiential science) please test this for yourself. Think about the last time someone directed an insult your way. Keep thinking about it for some time remembering all of the details. How do you feel? Does that feeling grow stronger the more you think about it? If you are convinced that your thoughts generate emotions then the next question would be; Do my feelings shape my life? Let’s consider a few examples…
Imagine that you are involved in a daily chore such as washing dishes, paying bills, doing yard-work or any task that seems bothersome. Being that you do not enjoy the task what kinds of thoughts would be chasing each other through your mind? Perhaps you would be thinking that you never have time for the things you enjoy or maybe you would be ruminating about the lack of help or appreciation that you get from other family member? Just by imagining this situation can you feel the negative emotions taking over your body?Now find out what happens when you visualize yourself doing the same task while thinking positive thoughts such as how lucky you are to have running water or your own yard or a good job that allows you to pay your bills. Maybe you could have the enormous realization of how blessed you are to be healthy and able to perform daily chores. Maybe you would notice how fine the weather seems or think about how much you love the people that benefit from your work.
Here are some tools for managing your thoughts and experiencing more joy in daily life:
- Observe your inner speech and keep a thought record then confront your inner critic and re=write self limiting scripts.
- Replace negative thoughts with positive inner dialogue.
- Look for the gifts and opportunities in every obstacle.
- Focus on accomplishments – not setbacks.
- Review and practice positive self talk.
It takes work and commitment but positive self-talk can change your life. Intend joy for yourself then create it by speaking words of gratitude with the voice of your own thoughts.