Recently, while hiking the Florida Trail, I was attacked by some weird flesh eating water bacteria that was apparently way more dangerous than I was giving it credit for. Seriously, I can not make these things up, lol. Anyhooo, as I posted progress photos and the obligatory thumbs up selfie to let everyone know I was doing ok, the one comment I got the most is, “you’re always smiling”.
Wanna know why? Come closer and I’ll tell ya…there is one not-so-secret secret to living a full, fabulous & free, joy-filled life...
(whispering) We really are the sum of our thoughts.
Not what you were expecting? Well, the great minds of our time (and long before) agree, our thoughts (insert dramatic pause here) are the building blocks of our life experience. You've heard, we are what we eat? Well, simply put: we are also what we think.
The problem is that long before we come to that realization, we try filling the not-so-joy-filled gaps of our lives with other things. Things like: working too much, secret Amazon shopping, or some unfulfilling new hobby obsession. Often resorting to mind-numbing fillers like: social media, mindless TV, unhealthy sexual relationships, drugs & alcohol, maybe even food...whatever it takes to forget our reality for even just a moment.
Ladies and gentleman, the undeniable truth is that creating a better reality for ourselves HAS to begin on the inside and our thoughts are in the drivers seat.
They are the key to why and HOW we feel and act the way we do. Once we understand the link between our thoughts, our emotions and our actions, we can start living the life we dreamed of…on our terms!
Here are 3 power-filled tips to help you recognize, reverse and discipline your thoughts as you seek to create positive change in your life. Bring these into your daily routine and see if you don’t find yourself smiling a bit more often. Let’s dive in:
1. Recognize Your Stinking Thinking
Truth is, most of our beliefs and thoughts tend to be more on the negative side. Unfortunately, allowing this negative thinking to lead, can cause a big ole hurricane of mental trauma like anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, all the things.
The author Earl Nightingale said, “We become what we think.” So, why are we letting our negative thoughts dictate how we live our lives?
Think about it…do you want something, anything controlling how you choose to live? Then it is high time we take back the mental drivers seat and start telling our mind how things are going to be around here!
Negative thoughts hold us back from living life to the fullest. They keep us shackled in a tiring cycle of self-doubt, shame, guilt, fear, and panic. On the flip side, positive thoughts make us feel good about ourselves. They give us a dopamine rush, boost our motivation, and encourage us along the way.
2. Train Your Mind - aka Meditate (what, you knew I was gonna say it)
We put so much time and investment into every other factor of our life, why not the way we think?! I invest one hour each and every day (not 100, but like 98% of the time) in mentally building the structure in which I house all of my creative ability to give & receive. Why wouldn’t I? If I don’t believe in me, if I don’t see my success, if I don’t activate my ability to create freedom in my own life…how in the world could I ask others to do the same? (Umm, I know I’m not just talking to myself here now)
Once we have discovered the power our thoughts have over our circumstances, we are now responsible for how we use this information. Since what we focus on grows…take 10-15-30 minutes at the top of the day to detox your mind and slow your body's processes enough to create a safe space to mentally rehearse the life that YOU WANT!
3. Make it a Habit - Like On Purpose
When we do something repeatedly, it becomes a habit. The more we do it, the more likely we are to keep doing it in the future.
Thought patterns are the same way. The more we think in a certain way, the more likely we are to keep thinking the same way over and over again. Soon enough, that new way of thinking will become just that…the way we actually think!
You’ll know it’s working, because you will begin to see the effects of these positive thought patterns in your day-to-day life.
The science behind it…every thought we have ignites a chemical reaction in our brain. This reaction then triggers an emotion. This emotion then sends a signal to our body, causing a behavior. Being intentional with our thoughts, can create a different behavioral response, ultimately causing our desired end result (or haphazard one, depending on how intentional we were).
As with most things, reconditioning our thoughts takes time, so brace yourself for a few bumps along the way, but stick with it…change is on the way!
Start taking note of your thoughts, both the good and the bad.
Grab a pen and paper and start taking physical note of your thoughts. You might be really surprised at exactly what your brain is giving it’s majority investment to. Remember, what we focus on grows. This exercise is a great way to take inventory of the seeds you are currently planting in your life.
Once we have identified these intrusively annoying thoughts, we can begin to transform them…yup, just like Optimus Prime - from a rusty old semi to exactly the kind of superhero you envision yourself being!
Here are some common negative thought processes to be aware of:
Catastrophizing future outcomes
Generalizing people and/or situations
Judging others, projecting our own issues
Filtering out positive statements and focusing only on the negative
Let’s work on rewiring our brain to think joy-filled, positive thoughts (or at least grateful ones) and just see what happens. Can’t hurt anything…but it COULD just build you a whole new life.
Trust me, your future self will thank you ;)
Jo Badger is a career strategist, passionate encourager, holistic wellness coach and aromatherapist with a heart for women in transition. Jo has served around the world helping people discover their joy and the courage it takes to pursue it.
On the weekends you can find her and Dixie Dog soaking in the rays by the water, exploring some backroad somewhere or enjoying coffee and a book on the porch of their tiny home, somewhere in the woods of Central Florida.