Our greatest friend and also our most devious enemy could easily be our own thoughts. It is the most sheltered part of our being and is who we really are. Both good and bad experiences shape our thought processes which in turn shape our perception of other people and the world around us. A majority of good experiences usually initiates more positive thoughts but bad experiences or stress could really adversely affect one’s thoughts and damage one’s view of life. More importantly, we find that our actions are usually extensions of our thoughts. Negative thoughts usually elicits negative actions. Therefore it is important that we monitor and pay attention to our thoughts.
These are created when we have the same type of thoughts again and again, creating a habit of thinking in that particular
way. The battle we have withing ourselves have to do with these thought patterns because they determine how happy, confident and active we are each day. How ready we are to take on lifes challenges and hope for the future. This is when our thought patterns are in tune with our desires. As we know, sometimes our thoughts conflict with our desires. For example, someone who has a pessimistic view to life believes he or she is more likely to fail at a certain task at hand. However they are aware of how much joy they’d feel if they completed the task, but even this joy is usually not enough to eradicate their negative thoughts of failure. At the end of the day, if they let their negative thought pattern prevail, they end up quitting the task.
We all have the inner negative thoughts we have to battle when we set out minds to do something. Those thoughts that remind you of when you tried something similar in the past and you failed or reminds you of how you never get anything right or complete any tasks. These Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTS), as neuropsychologist author Daniel Amen calls them, invade our minds usually when we are concerned about the outcome of an event to make us anxious by exaggerating the negative outcomes that could possibly happen and undermining our ability to deal with them. Negative thinking makes us focus on the negative things in life and magnify them while we filter out the brighter side. These negative thought patterns are especially difficult to get rid of because they are formed over time.But do not give up hope, they can be “killed” if we pay attention to our thoughts and realize that because we think something bad will happen does not make it true.
First realize that your mind is supposed to be your safe haven and your thoughts your best friend. It should be filled with positivity, encouragement and hope. We cannot control alot of external factors in our everyday lives, but we have, or should have, full control of our own thoughts.The quickest way to begin thinking healthily is to remove ‘absolutes’ from our thinking. Words such as ‘always’ and ‘never’ can be very harmful by causing you to give up and despair. “I always make the same mistake” “I can never do this” “I will be forever alone” Such thoughts encourage self pity, anxiety and depression. Instead, though we realize our shortcomings, we should also acknowledge that we can indeed improve on them and be better. “I can never do this” should then become “This is very difficult, but since i have to do it i’m going to keep trying”. “I always make the same mistake” becomes “I make this same mistake a lot and i don’t like that, i’m going to try my best not to do so again”. This way you remind yourself that you can control the outcome and that you’re not powerless against the circumstances.
You also have to pay attention to your thoughts. Ask yourself what you think about the most each day and why. Trace the genesis of your most common thoughts and begin to break negative thought chains. This is a daily practice as thought patterns were also formed over time and are hard-wired in our minds. Each day as soon as we are conscious of a negative thought pattern we must redirect our thoughts in order not to further solidify such patterns. You’ll figure that there would be more room for innovative thoughts and ideas and a wider perspective in situations. Maintaining control over your thought patterns and having positive thoughts as much as you can is the basis of thinking healthily.
Forgive yourself for your mistakes. Be satisfied with things you genuinely cannot change. Pay attention to your thoughts and stay positive.