This post is first in a series about how our thoughts can bring us down and keep us from happiness and how our thoughts can be trained to bring us peace, joy, and love.
This first post presents an overview of thinking and how our thinking can fool us! Believing negative and hurtful things will only lead to hurt and negative things in our lives. You can be set free from this. I want you to no longer be a captive to negative thoughts but to find freedom, love, and joy. Before I can help you understand how to change your thinking to feel better I need to tell you about how our thoughts come to be thoughts.
Cognition is one of my most favorite things to talk about. Probably because I have spent my entire educational and professional career studying cognition.
Cognition is a fancy term for thinking. Cognition involves the thoughts that run through your head throughout the day, your beliefs, your ideas, you perception, and your understanding. Cognition is the voice of the brain. This voice is with you all day and it provides commentary, feedback, and advise during situations encountered. It is that voice in your head saying, “I will get up out of bed in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1” when the alarm goes off. It is the voice that tells you, “Get Up and go to the gym” or that voice that says, “you can do it!” This voice can be quite encouraging. Other times it can be quite discouraging and judgmental.
The brain literally receives millions of signals a day and it has a lot of information being seen, heard, smelled, felt, and experienced all day long. Although the brain is infinity smart and can handle a lot, if the brain paid attention to everything it would be on overload. The brain has learned what is important to pay attention to and what does not require attention.
Your brain perceives information and will formulate a decision based on what the brain knows, understands, or experienced in previous situations. The brain is really good at assessing the situation, but what the brain sees or senses is not always what it perceives.
Let’s Play A Game
Which line is longer?
Did you say the top line was longer?
Actually both lines are the same length. The brain is making a judgement based on its understanding and it distorts what it sees. The tails at the end of the line confuse the brain but both are the same length.
Here’s another one.
What do you see here? There are several options.
You may see a white triangle in the middle.
You may see a black outline of a triangle with the points in the center of each black circle.
Actually the black circles are not circles rather a piece is missing from each circle. The brain perceived what it wanted to see.
How the brain perceives things will determine how you respond to things in your environment. How your brain sees others is how you will relate to others. What your brain sees about you is how you will see yourself. Just like the brain can distort what it saw in the above pictures, it can distort what it thinks about your situation, others, and you! This is important for you. Because what you see is not always what you get!
When you look in the mirror at yourself what do you see?
Go take a close hard look in the mirror. What are your thoughts about what you see? Are they kind? Are they hurtful and negative? Your brain may be distorting what it sees. Rather then beat yourself up about what you see remember that this picture is not always accurate and could be distorted.
Rather than accept what you see as truth remember what you see is not always what you get. Don’t let your brain trick you to believe that what see, think, hear, smell, and feel is the abusolute truth. If you are not happy with the solution your brain has presented for you, explore further. Ask questions. Seek advise. Read more. Learn more. The more information that is received will the more your thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and ideas can adapt.
Being adaptable can allow you to enjoy life more because you are open to new people, situations, and experiences. You do not have to settle for less.
Next week I will talk about how what you think will impact what you feel!
*Note if you find you have negative thinking and you did not like what you saw when you looked in the mirror I can help you. Please contact me for support, advice, and help to feel better.