What you See is Not Always What you Should Believe. How Your Brain Can Trick you, Guide you, and Motivate you. Part 4

The last few weeks we have looked at how thinking drives behavior and emotions. What you tell yourself will nfluence your feelings and your reactions.  The emotions you experience are a normal reaction and all humans have the same emotions. How we all repond is what makes us unique. Your reaction can either harm you or help you.

The quality of your thoughts is what determines how you respond to the situation. But as we have explored, our thoughts are not always right. We may be feeing upset, discouraged, and defeated for no good reason!  Our thinking can frustrate us and trick us to believe that we are no good and not worthy. I have seen so many people give up on goals and hopes and dreams because they thought they did not deserve it. You do not have to settle and do not have to settle. I am here to tell you that changing your thoughts can make your dreams a reality. Changing your thinking will cause you to respond to life in a different way. If you want to feel better about yourself, accomplish goals, have more confidence, and become the best you you can be try these tips:

  1. Stop listening to negative thoughts. They will not help you!  They are most likely a lie.
  2. Fill your head with positive thoughts. Write down 10 positive things about yourself. Try not to focus so much on physical attributes. Think about who you are as a person. For example, “are you a good friend?”, “are you loyal?”, “are you a hard worker?”
  3. Read these 10 qualities aloud to yourself. Saying it helps your brain believe it!
  4. Think about good things you have done. Write it down. Think of a time you helped someone, think of a time when you got the answers right, think of a time you made someone laugh or smile. There is no behavior here that is too big or small. All the good things you have done are GOOD THINGS!
  5. Read these things to yourself aloud. Remind yourself of things that are good about you. Make your brain hear the truth.
Sometimes it is a challenge to even know what we are thinking. The brain can be so full of thoughts that it is a struggle to identify a specific thought. Here is how you can start to identify thoughts that trick you and get you down.
  1. Evaluate the situation. Ask,”What is going on?”, “What is making you feel this way?”
  2. What do you think about this situation?  What do you believe to be the case?
  3. How do you feel?
  4. What do you want to do?
This will help you identify any negative and harmful thinking. Now you can use your brain to challenge negative thinking and, instead, use your brain to motivate you.
  1. Think about how you want to feel?
  2. Think about what you want to do?
  3. Is this more helpful? If so, let this new thinking be your guide.
  4. If this new thinking is not helpful, think about what would be helpful. Ask yourself, “what will help me feel better right now?”
I understand it can be a challenge to change self-talk and to think more positively. When we are upset we can get stuck on negative thinking. Try these tricks to switch your brain to more positive and helpful thinking.
  1. Journal. Having a daily dairy helps you learn more about yourself.  As you write daily you see your growth, successes, frustrations, and obstacles.  It is helpful to go back and read your journal to see how much you have grown.  A journal can help you see how you have overcome adversity in the past.
  2. Do something physical. It does not have to be a strenuous workout. Simply getting up and going for a walk can refresh the brain.
  3. Be creative. Try listening to music, dancing, drawing, and cooking. These outlets stimulate the brain with positive energy, fill the brain with feel good chemicals, and can help the brain refocus on more positive thoughts.
  4. Talk to someone. Call a friend or family member you trust.
  5. Try laughing. Watch a funny movie or television show or read a funny book.
  6. Try relaxing or meditating. Relaxing the brain can slow down and pause negative and harmful thinking. When thinking is slower it is easier to insert more helpful and positive thoughts. Below you will see a video of a relaxation exercise. In just about 10 minutes each day you can fill your mind with postitive and loving thoughts. This practice will retrain the brain to think more positively. You can teach your brain to think better in just a few minutes every day.
These should be daily practices.  Everyone struggles with negative thinking. The ones that stay motivated, focused, engaged, strong, and confident are able to use positive and powerful thinking to stay that way. Don’t let your brain trick you. Use it motivate you, inspire you, and encourage you.
*As a licensed professional counselor, Stephanie has helped hundreds reframe negative thinking.  She has helped people improve their mood, change harmful behaviors, and improve self-esteem. Please contact Stephanie if you or someone you know could use some help breaking free from negative behaviors. 
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