How to Think Your Way to a Brighter Future
Why thinking about what you DO want instead of what you DON’T want is so important
The way that you think has such a huge impact not only on the way you feel, but also the action you take in response to those feelings. It’s so easy to get caught up in cycle of worry, fear and frustration. You find yourself thinking about the things that you don’t want to happen to you. You don’t want to lose your job. You worry about the skills you don’t have, the money you won’t have and that the economy may get even worse!
But if you think about it, spending time and energy worried about those things doesn’t go far in terms of making them any different! In fact, not only does it NOT help, it actually makes things much worse! Because your mind is focussed on these negative things, you will actually be more likely to attract these things. Your actions are based on your thoughts, so your ideas and decisions become based on these negative things. If I were to tell you not to think of a giant blue giraffe on a skateboard, what’s the first thing that pops to mind?! When I was recently looking for a new car, I narrowed it down to a few models and then wow, I started noticing those cars everywhere I looked.
Your mind attracts what it’s thinking about. If you are not thinking about what you DO want then you will have a hard time getting there. Start thinking about what you DO want and your mind starts to figure out how to make it happen! Simple right? It starts to focus on what steps you would need to take to get you there. Goals become clearer, you make better decisions, you suddenly find creative ways of getting to where you want to be. You go forward in a purposeful way and don’t waste precious time and energy on the wrong stuff.
So you might be thinking this makes a lot of sense, but how do I change the way I think? I suggest that you do this one moment at a time. You could spend 5 minutes right now just quickly thinking about what you want – just writing down a few things you would like to happen. But the real magic happens when you start to really pay attention to your thoughts. Then every time you find yourself thinking of what you don’t want, think of the opposite. Think of what you DO want instead for that same situation. For example, instead of thinking I don’t want to lose my job, you think I really want to keep my job. This gets your mind to start thinking about what it would take to keep your job. You notice extra training you can take. You see little ways to make yourself stand out from others. You actually notice and think about several things that you can do to keep your job.
In fact, although the way this works might seem a bit mystical at first, you’ll soon find that it’s not. It’s something very real, easy to implement and very much in your control. And the more you do it, like most things, the easier and better at it you will become. Give it a try today!
5 Reasons Why Gratitude Will Change YOUR Life!
1. It makes you happier! Scientific evidence shows that it boots dopamine and serotonin in our bodies. Just like antidepressants do and without the potential side effects.
2. It boosts your emotional intelligence! This makes it even easier to be grateful in the first place. If you’re struggling to find what to be grateful for then don’t worry. It’s not actually finding gratitude that matters most, the boost comes from the searching.
3. It makes your relationships stronger! It doesn’t only make your brain happy, it also creates a positive feedback loop in your relationships. Sprinkle these positive thoughts all over the people you care about, you’ll all feel great! People that have stronger relationships are also happier so it’s a win, win!
4. It will make your more successful! Studies on Happiness from Harvard show that happiness brings success and not the other way around. Differences in success levels were driven by how happy people were and not superior knowledge or technical skills. Being grateful is an excellent way to boost happiness.
5. You will be happier today! You will appreciate what you have more instead of consistently looking for the ‘next’ thing to make you happy. How often have you thought I’ll be happy when I get this promotion… or this house… or car? Instead, focus on enjoying what you have right now! Studies by Robert A. Emmons, a psychology professor at UC Davis, show that people who focus on what they are grateful for have better emotional well-being.
Convinced?! Now, how much time are we talking?
Well, I spend about 5-10 minutes a day, first thing in the morning, thinking about what I’m grateful for (and often my comfortable bed features fairly high on my list ). It also give me an excuse to stay in bed for a few more minutes but it works a charm and I get up in a better mood…even though by no stretch of the imagination am I a morning person!
Remember that this doesn’t need to be big things you are grateful for…it’s the little things. Things like it’s a sunny day, seeing your pet for the first time that day, going somewhere you enjoyed yesterday, being able to pay your bills, a great dinner with a friend or a lovely day out with your family…etc.etc.
If it’s something that’s happened then think about why that happened, how did you make it happen? Write it down if you want and it will start to show you patterns for what makes you happy.
I started out doing this at night, then tried it when I was in the bath or shower, but settled on the morning as the right time for me. Give it a try and see what works best for you!
And if you want to take it one step further, think about what you are grateful for that hasn’t even happened yet. I think of a couple of things that I want to happen in the future and I imagine them happening. I feel it, I see it and am grateful for it - and the law of attraction says I’m more likely to get it which is a massive added bonus!
Ready to give it a go?
Try it for 10 days and let me know how you are getting on. I find I’m actually calmer during stressful situations in addition to immediate mood lift I get!
So once again a brand new year is upon us and you might notice that your social media is covered with quotes and messages…and the themes are pretty diverse! People either seem to be making fun of new years resolutions, we’ll never stick to them what’s the point? Whilst others are using it as an opportunity to reflect, a blank book with 365 pages etc. And others, well they’re just glad to see the back of last year. But which one is right?
Where do I sit? I don’t think there are right or wrongs, we all need to approach things and work through them differently. For me the important thing is the opportunity that a new year seems to bring for a period of reflection. Much like when on holiday we can step back, look at where we are, think about the journey we’ve been on and where we want it to take us.
If a new year makes you feel that you can achieve things you’ve been putting off, then great! An opportunity to wipe the slate clean? Fantastic! We go through life beating ourselves up for decisions and mistakes we’ve made, and often get caught up in regretting them. We know we can’t change the past but we can change what we do right now. If a new year gives you the opportunity and drive to do that then I’m all for it.
I believe there are times in life when we are ready to examine, learn and move forward. Frankly I think we should do more of it…and I include myself in this! When I pause for a second and reflect, I can look back at times where I’m proud of what I’ve done, getting through hard times with a strength that surprises even me. But who has the opportunity to pause when we’re all so busy? Make time, I promise it will help. Try it now. Think of 3 things you’re proud of. Feels good doesn’t it?
When I think about difficult experiences, I wonder where I got that energy from or how I was able to motivate myself. We have it in us, we just need to remind ourselves. It’s a feeling that gives me hope for the future and for what I can achieve even when I’m worn out and tired from life’s harder experiences.
Coming back to a new year and my own personal experiences. Some years I’ve made changes that I didn’t stick to. Some years I’ve made small steps forward. Some years I’ve succeeded in making a positive lasting change. However, it’s important to remember that a year is just a measurement of time. It doesn’t define us or restrict us, but if a new one gives us the chance to think about where we are and what we want then let’s make the most of it.
I’m not sure what this year or the future may hold but I know I’ll keep learning. I’ll use this time of year to examine where I’m at, where I want to be and try to work out what I need to do to get there. A new year serves as a reminder to have a period of reflection, something I’ll try and do more of throughout the year, does that count as a new year’s resolution?! If it does then I will unapologetically use it as one!
So to me, it’s a time of year that holds great hope. As long as I continue to look at in this way, it will make me a happier person. It will make me a happier person right now, in the present, which is the time when we have the most ability to influence our lives. I’m determined to make the most of it.
Why putting yourself first could be one of the most unselfish things you do?
Something that seems to be ingrained in the minds of many of my clients, friends and fellow mum’s is that if you put yourself first then are selfish. I’ve been trying to figure out why so many of us feel this way, and this tends to intensify further once we have children. It might be that role models in our lives have modelled this, that we may have a natural tendency to be caregivers or that we feel that this is just a part of who we are and that if we are not that person then our identity is lost. It might be that being on social media means that we are under pressure to be this ‘perfect’ parent/partner/friend that we think others are who takes care of everyone else.
But what if we are wrong! What if putting everyone else first means that we are actually cheating them? Even on airlines we are told that in case of emergency put on your won mask before assisting those in your care. After all, how can we help them if we are passed out ourselves? This is the same principle for matters of the mind. How can we be the best parents/role models/partners and friends if we are anxious, stressed out or not taking care of ourselves properly? Think about a time when you’ve been stressed and how you’ve reacted to things that you may normally just let go or at least not get so upset about. The results is that we upset those that we snapped at and feel guilty that we have over-reacted later, a double negative.
I know a lot of people get pleasure out of doing for others and that they get this confused by what it means to put yourself first. Putting yourself first just means to take time to work on yourself, to take a break if you need it, to let others help us if we need it and make sure we get the down time needed to be the best we can be.
So make sure you take that long bath at night, join that dance class that de-stresses you, make time for that hobby you really enjoy, have some adult only evenings and take time out to work on yourself! Those closest to you will reap the benefits too!