How To Transform Your Life By Changing Your Thoughts: 3 Effective Hacks To Change Your Mindset!
Updated: Jun 6, 2022
In my hypnotherapy practice and on our retreats, one of the main things I’m helping people with is changing their beliefs, thoughts and feelings.
People often ask me; “Why are you so obsessed with helping people change their thoughts and limiting beliefs? Doesn’t life just happen anyway?” My answer is; there are some things in life we can’t control, that is true, but what we can control are our thoughts about whatever is going on in our lives. Our thoughts about a situation are our truth about the situation, not the situation itself. Does that make sense? Have you ever heard the phrase: “It’s not what happened, it’s what we made it mean.”? Beliefs are just thoughts that we keep thinking and so we believe they’re true.
“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”-
We tend to see reality through our own ‘lens’. Our specific view of the world and our place in it, is created by our past experiences, childhood and the beliefs that we formed and decisions we made when we were young.
Unless we challenge them, these beliefs become more entrenched as we go through life and this is because we focus on the events and experiences that happen to us that prove them true. Our beliefs are behind a lot of our automatic thoughts, our unconscious bias.
Your Thoughts Affect Your Results and Outcomes in Life and This Is How:
I’ll give you an example of how our thoughts can affect our lives: You’re trying to get in touch with a friend you’ve not spoken to or seen for a while. You’ve called and left a voice message and texted a couple of times too and she doesn’t respond. You can choose to look at this situation in a few different ways depending on your lens. You could think; she must be super busy, perhaps she’s lost her phone, perhaps she’s on holiday and has turned her phone off, lost her phone etc.
Or you could do what a lot of us have done before, and make this situation mean something bad. You could go down a rabbit hole of thinking that she doesn’t want to speak to you, maybe she doesn’t want to be friends anymore and start wracking your brains for reasons she may have gone cold on you, including what you could’ve said or done to upset her last time you spoke.
You may spend days ruminating about why she hasn’t called and then a week later she calls and says she dropped her phone down the toilet and it took her a while to get it all sorted and get her contacts back!
Your thoughts affect how you feel; if you’re thinking that your friend is ignoring you because she no longer wants to be mates, you may feel sad, down, maybe confused because you don’t know what you’ve done to upset or annoy her. Your feelings then affect your behaviours, your actions or inactions: In this example you spend time worrying and perhaps this affects other things in your life, your work, relationships etc. Spending time in this negative energy and mindset can affect your mental and emotional health too. The end result of this chain of thoughts, feelings and actions, is that nothing good happens. And, you’ve spent time thinking negative thoughts, when you don’t know for sure the reason she hasn’t been in touch. You assumed it was because of you, when you have no proof whatsoever that this is true.
So, imagine you choose to think some different thoughts, something like: “She must be so busy and she’ll get in contact when she’s ready. We had a lovely talk the last time we spoke so I’m sure it’s nothing to do with me.” When you think these thoughts, your feelings may be more positive; perhaps you will feel calm, balanced, confident and relaxed. Your behaviours will also be different, you won’t waste time worrying, you’ll just get on with your life. You can see that the outcome of these more rational and balanced thoughts and the feelings, and behaviours that follow, is so much better than the previous thought example.
“When you change your thoughts and perception, you change the way you live.” –
As you can see by redirecting our thoughts to the more positive and helpful is really life changing. But why do we tend to be naturally drawn to negative conclusions?
Our Brains Are Wired With Negativity Bias
Scientists tell us that we are wired for negativity bias. Our ancestors survived due to their ability to scan the environment for danger and take actions to avoid injury and death. There was little survival value in relaxing and being compassionate to ourselves or spending the time to cultivate a better mindset. This explains why our brains do what they do. It takes a bit more effort and some repetition, but negativity can be over-ridden by positivity. The good news is that positivity has a more powerful impact on us than negative thoughts, so it’s well worth the effort to practice retraining our brains to be positive and loving towards ourselves and to challenge our negative programming.
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson
Changing Our Thoughts is a Process
Because our brains are wired as they are, it takes some repetition and consistent practice to change our thoughts. But the benefits are so great when we do, that this ‘thought work’ is so worthwhile, and fairly simple to do when we have some effective tools.
Ways to Transform Your Life Via Your Thoughts
As promised here are 3 of my favourite hacks to change your thoughts as you go about your life:
Hack # 1 Ask yourself a question
When a situation occurs and you find yourself thinking a negative thought about it, ask yourself: “What would I prefer to think right now?” or “Is there an alternative way of looking at this situation?” These questions are easy to remember and asking them trains your brain to look for a more positive, helpful thought in any situation.
Hack # 2 Replace “I have to”
This tip is good to use when you’re faced with something you don’t really want to do, but you know that it will benefit you long term. For example; a workout that you don’t really feel like doing but you know is good for you. Or giving a presentation, which scares you but will benefit your career.
Instead of saying to yourself “I have to do this.” Replace the ‘have to’ with “I’m choosing to do this.” Or, you can say: “I‘m lucky that I get to do this.” Or “I’m blessed that I can do this.” You can also add “And I’m choosing to feel good about it.” Changing the wording like this, shifts the mindset to feeling more positive about taking action. Try it and you will experience the shift for yourself.
Hack # 3 Using the word “Maybe”
This is a good one for when you’re changing a thought to positive, but you don’t really believe the positive alternative yet. For example, imagine we’re talking about giving a presentation and you have some fear around public speaking. Your initial thought may be; “I can’t do it.”
When you look for a better thought using the questions above, you may come up with; “I can confidently give a presentation.” But, this may seem like quite stretch from how you actually feel about public speaking at the moment. Adding the word ‘maybe’ to the sentence, will make it more acceptable for your mind and will still shift the thought to a more helpful one. “Maybe I can confidently give a presentation.” This is a step in the right direction on shifting your mindset from fear to the possibility of confidence.
I hope you will use and experience the benefits of these hacks in your own life! They are simple and that’s the beauty of them, and they work!
NEW for 2022: Coming Back to You: Reconnecting to Self-Love Retreats in Deal, Kent!
If you want to learn some more effective take-home tools and methods to change your thoughts and beliefs, we teach these on our wonderful MindPlus Retreats! You can also enjoy holistic treatments, yoga, powerful hypnotherapy and meditations, plus delicious food and luxury accommodation!
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