How often do you stop and think about what you think about? Most of us, not very often. For quite a long time, I did not think about my thoughts either. That is, until a friend of mine gave me some great piece of advice:
How you look at something is your choice. Whenever something bad or good happens, you decide how to look at it: it can either be positively or negatively, so choose wisely.
This may sound logical, but I do not think we always realize we have this choice. In fact, we are naturally more inclined to have negative thoughts than positive thoughts. As Psychology Today mentions, almost all of our basic human emotions are negative; think about the emotions anger, jealousy, disgust, sadness, fear, or surprise. Joy appears to be the only positive exception.
This is quite problematic, especially because we experience negative thoughts more intense than positive thoughts. Since positive emotions tell us that we are OK, there is no necessity to think about them, whereas negative emotions tell us that something is wrong, so we devote more attention, time and energy processing such feelings.
It almost seems as if unhappiness is a natural state for humans. And to some extent, this is true: our brain naturally makes us think in negative terms as a defense mechanism. This does not mean, however, that we cannot achieve happiness.
What is happiness?
It is tempting to assume that happiness can be achieved with material things and prestige. You may think: “I am not happy now, because I do not have this or because I am not that,” but that is simply not true. You can have all the money in the world and still be unhappy. Likewise, you can be liked by the entire world and also not be happy. So what does make us happy?
Our thoughts! Our thoughts are what dictates our feelings, our feelings dictate our actions, and our actions dictate our life. That is why happiness should be perceived as a state of mind, or a mentality, rather than something you attain. The good news about this is that your happiness is largely in your own hands. Chances are high that the only thing standing between you and your happiness is your mind.
Whatever we do in our life or whatever happen to us in our life, it is what we thought about that particular situation, event, person, or circumstance that is important — it creates how we feel.
Being in control
The more you become aware of your negative thoughts, the more you will be able to recognize them and change them. Whenever you feel negative feelings surfacing, look for solutions. Ask yourself, why are you feeling this negative feeling? What is causing it? Some common negative influences are:
- Toxic people
- The things other people/celebrities do or have
- The news 😉
- Work/school stress
- Outside expectations
Then ask yourself, can you tackle the cause? Can you minimize the harm? You’ll find out that most of the times you can.
The bottom line
Our thoughts are insanely powerful; they dictate our reality. Although, we cannot control what happens to us, we do have a choice in how we let those happenings impact us. The more you become aware of the power of your thoughts, the more you can use them to your benefit!