The Power of Our Thoughts
Our thoughts are silent, but powerful. They have the ability to impact our state of mind, perspective, well-being, and ultimately the course of our lives. It is often said that thoughts lead to feelings, which lead(s) to behaviour. Therefore, it is important that we are aware of our thoughts and the potential they have to affect us both positively and negatively.
I remember an anonymous quote I read a few years ago that resonated deeply with me that I have continued to refer to personally and professionally. It reads, “Our thoughts are just thoughts, they are not facts, but the more we think them, the more factual they become.” It is intriguing to contemplate that something as simple as a thought can have such a profound effect on us, how we feel, perhaps in some cases how we view ourselves and sometimes our lives.
We are not powerless in the challenges that can result from difficult, negative or repetitive thoughts. Awareness of our thoughts is an important initial step. Our thoughts often occur without much effort or attention and can become habitual.
We may find that we aren’t feeling great; like something is a little off; kind of sad, frustrated, or perhaps upset but don’t really understand and may not be able to pinpoint the cause. Being mindful of our thoughts, looking at them analytically, and assessing them for accuracy, validity, and relevance can help us to recognize and sometimes question or challenge thoughts that may be affecting us negatively.
There are several ways to learn to modify and gain more control of our thoughts. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is a treatment modality that focuses in part on our thoughts and the impact they have on our well-being. Through practicing awareness of thoughts and their interactions with our emotions and behaviour, along with learning and applying strategies from CBT, it is possible to feel more in control of our thoughts and the emotions that result.
While all of us are likely to encounter negative thoughts at some point, we can choose not to accept them as facts. We can strengthen our ability to challenge negative thoughts, leading to increased peace of mind and improved overall well-being.
Natalie Draycott, MACP, is experienced in the areas of anxiety, depression, and relationships, plus many more. For more information about Natalie and her work, click here to link to her full bio page.