Although changing the reality around us often proves impossible, we can transform our thoughts to face situations differently. Thoughts are the substance that gives quality to our life.
Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.
Last update: 15 November 2021
They often tell us: “if you want to improve your life, you have to start thinking differently”. But how is it done? What mental alchemy can help us change our thoughts? It is not easy at all. Our brain is not like a room that we can empty overnight and fill with new furniture.
Our psychological universe is tremendously resilient. When they urge us to "turn our negative thoughts into positive", they know it is not possible in a matter of minutes. The mental schemes are deep, rigid and little led to spontaneous transformation, as much as we would like it. To be able to change our way of thinking, it is necessary to carry out an intense and delicate work, become the artisans of our mind and change our mental approach.
On the other hand, we must not forget that thoughts, by themselves, have no power over our person. They are nothing but fleeting experiences that come and go. We are the ones who tend to give more weight to some thoughts than others, falling into a web of psychological anxieties that easily lead to depression.
Thinking well means living well. To do this, we need to aim for a radical change in our immediate reality. Change your way of thinking to ultimately achieve well-being. Let's find out how.
How to change thoughts
In 1920 Frederic Charles Bartlett, professor of experimental psychology at the University of Cambridge, spoke for the first time about mental schemes. He focused above all on one aspect that would become decisive for therapy: thought and memory can be reconstructed. Bartlett was part of what was later called the "cognitive revolution", a psychological approach that focused on the person's mental processes.
This laid the foundation for the development of decisive techniques such as cognitive restructuring which identifies negative and irrational thoughts (cognitive distortions) and then addresses them. A tool to replace the beliefs that cause suffering with more rational ones, aimed at exploiting our full potential.
As indicated at the beginning, this journey of transformation is not an easy one. We cannot change our thoughts from one moment to the next. The human mind is stubborn, it is not easy to convince it to interpret events differently all of a sudden, to look only on the positive side of life, leaving aside worries and pessimism.
But we can't forget an important fact either: emotions and thoughts always go hand in hand, they feed each other. It is not easy to tell the mind to “approach life differently and seek new solutions” if we are trapped by fear, anguish or sadness. What can we do in these cases?
Feelings are like flowing water: stop them
The mind lets thoughts flow frantically, like a torrent flowing at full speed. We are not always aware of what is happening inside us, a bit like when we try to grab the water with our hands.
The strategy to change your way of thinking is to identify, first of all, the thoughts that need to be transformed. You begin to cast out the negative and irrational ideas that pollute the ocean of your psychic universe. For this purpose, the ideal is to relax, calm the mind, take a notebook and describe the feelings experienced.
The court of thoughts: analyze them
Once identified, negative thoughts must be taken to "court". Engage in a dialogue with yourself to analyze these thoughts in detail; ask yourself: “is it a logical thought?”, “do I need something?”, “if it makes me suffer, why do I keep thinking about it?”, “what should I do with it?”.
Change your thoughts to change your destiny
The last step is the most decisive and also the most exciting. From it we release commitment and responsibility towards ourselves. After all, changing your way of thinking requires a direct confrontation with yourself to find out why we have sabotaged ourselves for so long.
It is about becoming aware of the fact that for some time we have been feeding thoughts that undermined our self-esteem, creating limits to the opportunities that would have made us a little happier. But don't worry, there is always time to change course.
The last stage of this complicated task is the reformulating the old harmful ideas with others that are more optimistic, realistic and useful. It is a question of disinfecting negativity to give way to hope. Change approach to suddenly discover that by changing our thoughts, the world around it changes too, and we with it.
We will feel freer, more confident in making better and new decisions. Don't waste any more time: learn to think better to live the life you deserve.