Change Your Thoughts to Change Your Life
John Kim (The Angry Therapist) shares his 3-Steps for making healthy mindset shifts. A game-changing process to use for yourself or with life coaching clients.
3 Steps To Treat Your Mind Better
by John Kim, Lumia co-founder
According to neuroscience expert and bestselling author Dr. Joe Dispenza, we have approximately sixty thousand thoughts a day. Most of those thoughts not only are negative, but are the same thoughts we had yesterday. So besides swimming in our own shit, we are also living in the past.
Really think about this. It’s a game-changer.
The same thoughts produce the same feelings, which produce the same behavior, which leads to the same experiences. And I’ll take this one step further. Having the same experiences cements the same false beliefs. Basically, we live in a loop—a pattern that keeps us stuck and disconnected, not only from ourselves but also from the world.
Most of us treat our minds poorly by allowing this loop to continue uninterrupted, sinking us deeper and deeper into our own mental quicksand. It will keep being our natural default unless we do something about it.
Before I get into the steps you can take to treat your mind better and pull yourself out of your mental quicksand, I want to point something out that you may not have thought about before. It has helped me tremendously. It’s this one fact:
Those negative voices don’t belong to you.
I started thinking about all the external influences on my thoughts and ways of thinking. I thought about the blueprints I was following, and whether they were honest to me. Although our thoughts are our own, they have been influenced by teachers, parents, boyfriends, girlfriends, and unhealthy experiences.
We acquire desires that don’t even belong to us.
Realizing this felt like a huge weight being lifted. It made me understand that I wasn’t at fault. That I’m not defective. That I am a product of where I grew up, who raised me, and what has happened to me. And I realized I could return that shit and think new thoughts, choose my own ways of thinking.
How to Do Better
STEP 1: Awareness - shine a blacklight on your thoughts
Most of us don’t think about how we think.
Most of us don’t shine a black light on our daily thoughts. We just allow them in and we can drown in them. Sometimes they consume us, control us, making us tense and anxious, keeping us in a panic state. When this happens, we’re pulled out of the present and start to live in our heads (in the past or in the future). That is not actually living. It’s just worrying a lot.
Step 1 is to become aware of this.
Notice your thoughts. Don’t judge them. Just practice noticing them. Also, notice the feeling in your body when you have those thoughts. Notice. Notice. Notice. Watch your thoughts as if they were drifting in a snow globe.
STEP 2: Question your thoughts
Many of our thoughts are marked by faulty logic and stem from fear.
We dwell on the past and worry about the future. We exaggerate, jump to conclusions, and play back memories through the old lens of who we used to be. We create stories because we are afraid. Over and over and over again. Until these kinds of thoughts become our default, our knee-jerk way of thinking.
Thinking this way becomes more than a habit. It becomes a way of living. Or actually, not living. All we’re doing is waking up, drinking too much caffeine, and doing lots and lots of thinking.
Break this pattern by questioning your thoughts.
Is there truth in them or are they tainted? Put your thoughts on trial.
Know that thoughts are not facts. They’re just thoughts. They will come and go. Don’t get attached to them and allow them to get so heavy and negative that they drown you.
STEP 3: Notice recurring patterns in your thoughts
Can you discern patterns in your way of thinking?
Do you jump to conclusions? Do you struggle with all-or-nothing thinking? Do you assume that another person is thinking something about you when they’re not?
What are the circumstances when you do that? What feelings trigger this type of thinking? And more important, how do the patterns that are distorting your thinking manifest in your behavior?
- Do you break up with your partner because they forgot to text you within an hour?
- Do you sabotage opportunities because you don’t think you can do something without any real proof that you can’t?
- Do you try to fix things for people who didn’t ask you to, just so you can believe you are valuable?
Treating your mind better means understanding how it works.
Once you start to understand how your thinking affects your behavior, you can take action to correct both your thought patterns and your behavior. Everything starts with understanding. Without it, you will just go through a lot of motions. Once you really understand your patterns and their impact on your everyday life and choices, you will know what you need to work on.
After you do these three steps—becoming aware of your thoughts, questioning your thoughts, and finding the patterns in your thoughts—you’ll be able to pull back and see what’s going on. You’ll no longer believe that bad things happen because you’re unlucky or defective. You’ll understand that this thought is distorted and a reaction to false beliefs about yourself.
Once you see the process, you can choose to fix it by stopping it. When you notice your distorted thinking or false beliefs or fear, instead of reacting, you can evaluate. You now know that there is a different path and you can choose to take it by responding differently.
By doing so, you give yourself a new experience. The more new experiences you give yourself, the more you create new tracks in your brain.
You know that eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can transform your body. The hard part, of course, is actually doing those things. It’s the same with transforming your ingrained thoughts, distorted thinking, and false beliefs.
Those old habits of thought run deep, and you can’t change them just by reading something or willing them to change. As I mentioned earlier, transformation requires a daily practice. The goal is to get to a place where you start to notice a difference. And you have to believe that your new practice will work... or you won’t do it.
If this article was helpful, you can go deeper in my book: SINGLE. ON PURPOSE.
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