Do our thoughts define us? If what we think creates our emotions and can even impact the physical body itself, how are we anything but our thoughts? Furthermore, if we can change our thoughts to be more positive and less self-defeating, can we change the course of our lives? Yes; our actions define us, but our thoughts often create our actions. What we think of, we tend to do and say. If we think we are not worthy of a new job or relationship, we will avoid trying that new job or relationship. So, what exactly is the relationship between thoughts and actions, and how can we change our thinking to create better actions? Here’s what the experts say.
Actions vs. Thoughts
Our actions are blamed when we do something wrong. We stole something. The stealing itself is what everyone hates, not the thought of stealing. People see what we do and they judge us for it. Very few except psychologists and close friends stop to think about our thinking process and what went behind our choices to act negatively. Thoughts can be irrational, angry, afraid, self-hating, or lonely.
Depending on how we grew up and what we dealt with in our childhood, we may have a very negative outlook on life. We may have a very negative thinking process. While we probably don’t always act on every single negative thought we have, our emotional state and some actions/lack of actions can be directly correlated to the thoughts that we have. If we constantly see ourselves doing negative things, it may be time to begin psychoanalyzing our thinking process to see if it can be improved.
5 Tips to Change Your Thoughts
Here are some top tips to change your thinking to induce better actions that are less self-destructive:
Practice Mindfulness – Be present in your surroundings to avoid worry. Worry is about the past or the future, which makes us miss out on the present moment. If we worry too much, we make choices based on past or future fears rather than reality. Mindfulness and meditation can help you stay present and be less negative.
Talk to Your Inner Critic – Why are you so hard on yourself? Do you have overly high expectations? Are you always comparing yourself to others? Figure out what is at the root of your negative self-dialogue and address it with a qualified therapist.
Know What Triggers You – What actions do people take that upset you or cause you to think negatively? What worries can put you in a spiral? Make a list of all potential triggers and come up with a plan to confront and prepare for them.
Recite a Mantra – When the negative thoughts start to come in, recite a pleasant mantra to yourself to calm yourself down. Think of a certain image, or just say “I am o.k. with this thinking right now. It doesn’t define me. It’s not who I am.” You will be less controlled by the thoughts.
Take a Minute Before Acting – Don’t ever act before you are ready. Wait to respond until you can think logically about a situation. Don’t allow fear or worry to dictate what you decide to do. Most things can wait. If necessary, tell others that you will have to make a decision later on when you are feeling better. It’s better to wait than to make a bad decision based on negative thinking.
Do you struggle with negative self-dialogue, anxiety, or depression? If so, please contact Straight Talk Counseling at 714-828-2000 or visit our website at straighttalkcounseling.org. One of four professional counselors would be happy to speak with you.