Building New Thought Patterns – Power of Mind and Happiness

Photo by Gabriella Fabbri

Photo by Garbiells Fabbri

Most of us understand that we have choices . . . many of them.  We have choices about the actions we take, the ones we avoid, and the ones we look forward to taking in the future.  We have choices about the words we speak and what it is we choose not to say.  We also have choices about the friends we keep company with, the amount of money we spend, and the way we take care of our bodies.

Certainly, there are times when our options appear to be so limited that it seems like there is “no other choice;” but, in truth, there is almost always more than one option in any given situation (whether either option is desirable or not).

For the most part, these are readily accepted concepts.

What is not, however, as widely accepted is the fact that we can choose our thought patterns (the ones that create peace and happiness or discontent and misery), as well. 

In my earlier post “On Practicing Positive Thinking,” I discussed how focusing on positive thoughts creates a type of momentum that builds up in the mind.  Whatever it is that we focus our attention upon becomes charged with new energy that builds up like a current.  That current flows through our mind, picking up clarity, power, and more energy as it grows from the trickle of a single thought to an ocean of thought patterns.

One thought builds upon another and, before long, beliefs and attitudes begin to form.  It is these beliefs and attitudes that shape our minds and influence the choices we make in Life.  They affect our internal dialogue; they give rise to the emotions we feel; and, most importantly to the way we live our lives – they define what it is we fear and what it is we love.

When negative thought patterns are left unattended, they can build up like walls that stand as seemingly impenetrable barriers to happiness.  Those barriers can, however, be broken down.

You can change your negative thought patterns and the beliefs and attitudes they have formed.

As Ernest Holmes once said, “What thought has done, thought can undo.”

Depending upon your background and life experiences, your walls and barriers may be thick with negative thinking patterns that keep popping up (over and over again), despite your desire to change your mind and your life and the progress you know you’ve already made.  It may seem that you’re taking two steps forward and one back, at times.

Understand that this is a natural part of the transformation process and you should not give up on yourself or lasting happiness because episodes of negative thinking that give rise to undesirable feelings occur.  It happens.

As I will discuss in an upcoming post, all emotions are relevant and useful.  Sometimes, we just need to feel something in order to heal and move on or to learn something of value.

However, it is not always healthy to allow ourselves to dwell upon certain thoughts and the emotions they energize.  This is especially true when we are thinking about the past or something absolutely beyond our control that gives rise to undesirable emotions.  For example, it has been my observation that almost everyone has something that – if they think about it long enough – makes them absolutely furious or overwhelmed by sadness.  Sometimes, we can know that thinking about a particular event or subject will make us angry, sad, or otherwise upset, and we dwell upon it anyway.  That’s the kind of negative thinking pattern I would suggest to you will always be worth changing.

There are two key factors in transforming negative thought patterns.   These are (1) Awareness of what it is you are thinking in the first place (i.e., mindfulness); and (2) Deciding which thoughts you will accept as truths and which ones you will discard.

Awareness:  There are times when it is perfectly fine to let your thoughts drift, for a variety of reasons.  You may find that divine guidance and creativity are often most clear when the thought or inspiration seems to come “out of nowhere”.  Also, daydreaming can be a useful relaxation tool.  But, you cannot take control of your thoughts and your mind if thoughts are plowing their way through your head indiscriminately, at light speed.

Photo by Hagit Berkovich

Photo by Hagit Berkovich

In Buddhist philosophy, they call this “monkey mind” because the thoughts are jumping around and screeching, like a wild monkey.

Be aware of what it is you are thinking.  “Watch” your thoughts.  Yes, I know it sounds weird; but try it.

Thoughts occur in your mind like words come out of your mouth. No two thoughts can occur simultaneously.  One may follow another in rapid fire succession; but only one thought is happening at a time.  You can watch your thoughts by consciously taking note of them.

It has been estimated that the average person has approximately 60,000 thoughts per day.  Many of those thoughts are automatic and relate to basic human functions, like eating, movement, etc. (“reach for toothbrush . . . squeeze tube . . . brush up to mouth . . . move back and forth . . . .”).  Those are not the thoughts I am suggesting you start observing closely.  It is the other thoughts – the ones that give rise to beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.  You know the ones I’m talking about.  Make an effort to be consciously aware of your thought processes.

Deciding Truths:  There are circumstances (such as brain injury or dysfunction) when one does not have complete freedom to decide immediately whether a thought is true or not.  But those are exceptional circumstances.

Most of us are perfectly capable of deciding which thoughts we will accept as truths and which ones we will reject.  If you want to change your thought patterns, you are going to have to start re-evaluating the truths you have been accepting. 

It is the thoughts you accept as true that have the strongest gravitational pull.  A single thought can attract a hundred others of that same kind in a matter of minutes.  Be careful, therefore, what you choose to believe is true — about yourself, others and Life, in general.

Let me tell you something I know about Life and living.  Most people are basically good people with a lot to offer, including you.  So, here’s a shortcut that will help you decide what types of thoughts are true about you.

Every time you have a terrible thought about yourself (i.e., “I’m ugly and nobody would love me,” “I’m stupid,” “I’m a putz, a failure, a nobody”) —– REJECT IT.  IT IS NOT A TRUE THOUGHT.  Once you get the hang of redefining what you accept as a “true thought” about yourself, expand that concept to the rest of your thinking processes.

These are a few ideas to get you started on transforming your thought patterns and changing your mind.  Look for more to come and, as usual, I’d love to hear your comments.

© 06/08/12

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  1. Well stated . . .Thanks

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    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you for reading and commenting. Hope to see you back soon! Many Blessings, Sloan

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