It’s an interesting predicament. Your thoughts are such as powerful part of who you are. The reality is that you are not your thoughts (Freud was right, no?). It’s not that your thoughts aren’t real, it’s that you are not the thoughts. They exist in your mind. But they don’t necessarily reflect how you feel or how you’re doing.
A huge part of being a good person is to not be defined by these thoughts but to instead define yourself by your positive actions and behavior.
You have a choice to think any thought you’d like. You’re not at the mercy of your thoughts. You’re not a victim of your experiences either.
One part is to acknowledge and be aware of the fact that you are not your thoughts, but they do affect you. Just because you are not your thoughts, doesn’t mean they aren’t real or that they don’t exist in some sense (both physically and mentally) but it does mean that you don’t have to get lost in them.
How thoughts impact your mindset
The reality is that your thoughts affect you big time. Your thoughts define how you see the world (and people in it), how you perceive events, how you interpret and interpret feedback, how you respond to situations and how much confidence and belief in yourself that you have.
The unfortunate reality is that most of the time, your thoughts are based on what you’ve been exposed to. That’s not a bad thing. But it does mean that we are often stuck in a pattern because of our exposure to different things. Experiences and exposure shape how you think, feel and act.
Thinking is a natural process that humans do and in no way am I encouraging you to stop thinking or stressing yourself out over it. The reality is that your thoughts will always be part of you.
But the trick is to not let them define you. The truth is though, most people do get stuck on these thoughts because it’s all they know and haven’t learned how to overcome them and disidentify from them yet. They can become so engrained in these messages that they believe them. Some of the time though, we can be so good at ignoring our thoughts that we don’t realize that they have become a part of us.
Thinking too much without taking action can actually be dangerous and destructive because it can trap you in a vicious cycle. The reality is that there are plenty of people who have a lot of positive thoughts and do great things in life yet still struggle with major issues. They still may not be successful…but they are doing their best.
How to take control of your thoughts and focus on the right things
The truth is you are in control of what you think about. You can focus on anything you’d like to. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative. Not all positive thoughts will lead to better results. But it’s pretty clear now that negative thoughts will almost always lead to worse results and overall negativity.
You get out what you put in. That’s the same with your thoughts. Your thoughts will basically determine how you feel about yourself and the world. If you focus on thinking about something negative for example, things will probably turn up negatively. If you focus on this idea that you’re going to be successful or love your life, things may go better.
Thinking too much can often lead to a lot of stress and worry. It can also get really old really fast. You have a choice though whether you want to do the same things over and over again. You can’t control everything but you do have control over how you think about things.
The key is to find a way to get rid of useless thoughts and replace them with better ones. One way you can do this is by replacing the bad thoughts with the good ones. This means that if you’re thinking something like “I can’t do it” or “this is stupid”, stop. Look at your thoughts and put a positive spin on it.
Here are some tips to help:
1. Accept that your thought are a part of you and not everyone thinks the same way
The reality is that a lot of people don’t think like you. Many of us have been conditioned to think in a certain way, see the world in a certain way and respond to things a certain way. It’s natural for your thoughts to be different from others. But it doesn’t make you right or wrong. You don’t have to be right all the time (it’ll make you miserable).
2. Change your thoughts to positive ones
This is where you can get some help. You’re not always going to know how to change your thoughts so it can get really tough. There are a lot of techniques out there. You’ve probably heard them or read them before but you may not have applied them with any degree of success in the past.
It’s a pretty simple concept though. Simply find things that you want, want more and focus on them. If you want to be successful, think about what you have to do to be successful.
This sounds kind of counterintuitive. We all know that thinking about something you don’t want will make you feel bad. But focusing on what we do want can also have this effect. It’s why I say it can be tough at first because the plans and goals that you’ll probably come up with are going to sound desperate or unlikely at first. You’re going to have to work on them.
3. Change the way you think about things
We all have different thought patterns. This is a good thing because it makes us unique. But it can also make it tough to change your thinking patterns. You may have been conditioned to think about certain things in a certain way and you may feel that you can’t just flip them around. We’ve all been insecure at times and we’ve all had moments of denial before…but this is probably not a good time to make that more of your life than it already is.
You have to change the way you think and this can be tough if you don’t have someone who has gone through it with you. It’s something that you should work on in your free time (because there is no way that you’re going to get anywhere being too busy or stressed out). But unfortunately, most people don’t want to be bothered with changing their thought patterns. They’d rather just remain where they’re at.
4. Keep a gratitude journal
Keeping a gratitude journal is a good way to change your perspective. This can be tough though because when you see all of the things you want and want more of, it can be really easy to forget all the other things that are good. It’s not like seeing a doctor or getting your teeth cleaned. You’re not really making yourself sick so you don’t need to be grateful for that. But you will wonder why you’re feeling good if you’re over-thinking how good you have it.
If you’re going through something right now and you’re over-thinking things, it’s okay. Once you start to change your thoughts and catch yourself doing it, you’ll realize that it’s a little easier to stop yourself from thinking too much. The problem is that most people don’t know how to stop or even recognize when they’re doing it. It can really slow down your life though if you aren’t careful about this.