The power of your thoughts
“Everything is created twice, first in the mind and then in reality.” – Robin Sharma
So if you want to achieve something, you’ve got to first achieve it in your mind. Undoubtedly, your actions determine your achievement. But remember, your actions are a result of your thoughts. Your conscious thinking registers on your subconscious mind, which in turn governs your actions.
In short, you can take control of your subconscious mind by commanding authority over your conscious thinking, to mould your actions in a way that’ll lead you to achieve the results you desire. In other words, the quality of your thoughts determines the quality of your life.
Barbara Fredrickson‘s path-breaking research on the Impact of your Thoughts
Barbara is a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina, and she has researched, developed and published a research paper providing insights about positive thinking and its impact on your actions. Just for the record, her work is highly referred and cited in her field of expertise.
Her studies suggest that your thoughts are highly influenced by your emotions, positive and negative.
So let’s first understand the impact of negative emotions on your thoughts. Negative emotions are characterized by anger, shame, contempt, disgust, embarrassment, guilt, sadness, and fear. Your negative emotions shut your brain down from rationality and make you focus only on the negative aspect of a particular thing, and your actions follow.
For example, if you’re angry with someone, all your brain focuses on is that one mistake the other person has committed, despite of numerous other good deeds that he has done. Such thoughts often lead to actions that might make you lose a friend or a loved one.
Another example is that you’ve started a business, but you have been continuously incurring losses. Out of embarrassment, you decide to discontinue the business. But, who knows? You might have been just one deal away from breaking even or enjoying profits.
Now, what’s the impact of positive emotions on your thoughts?
Positive emotions are characterized by the feelings of joy, gratitude, interest, and contentment. Barbara has developed a theory which she refers as Broaden-and-Build Theory of Positive Emotions because positive emotions stimulate your brain to momentarily broaden your attention and thinking, enabling you to draw on higher-level connections and a wider-than-usual range of percepts or ideas.
If I continue the earlier example of you incurring losses in your business, a state of positive emotion will allow you to think on a broader level with rationality, which might lead you to strategize a different action plan to achieve profits.
Barbara’s research also asserts that people’s daily experiences of positive emotions compound over time to build a variety of consequential personal resources (eg.: increased mindfulness, purpose in life, social support, and decreased illness symptoms) which increase life satisfaction and reduce depression symptoms.
I think I don’t need to elaborate more on the impact the positive thoughts have on your life.
Now, how do you convert your negative thoughts into positive thoughts? Opposition thinking.
Opposite thinking suggests that as soon as you detect an undesirable thought (eg.: negative thought) occupying the centerpiece of your mind, immediately replace it with an uplifting one (eg.: positive thought). All it requires you to do is be conscious about the thoughts you get, and take swift action to replace a negative thought with a positive one, in case a negative thought is the focal point of your mind’s focus. And, just notice the actions that follow.
Once you start practicing this exercise of opposition thinking, it’ll come naturally to you over a period of time. And, you’ll see the drastic changes happen in your life.
Because thoughts become things. And, whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right. – Henry Ford