We underestimate the power of our thoughts. Since most people have between 50,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day, it’s easy to assume that most of our thoughts don’t have a true impact on our day-to-day — but they do. Our thoughts create our reality and affect the way we act. The way we think can change our mood, health and even our ability to achieve success. This is why it’s essential to learn how to control your thoughts and shift your viewpoint to help yourself live a happy, healthy and productive life. Here are a few ways to focus your thoughts and let them work for you.
Words Are Powerful
I hate to be the one to break this to you, but the old saying about sticks and stones is a big lie. What people say to us affects our thoughts and the same goes for what we say to ourselves. When we wake up, we immediately start an internal conversation that, good or bad, will influence our day. If you want to make a conscious effort to have a good day, start each day with the same positive mantra, poem or quote to help set the tone. It might seem silly at first, but if you grow accustomed to telling yourself positive things in the morning, it will change the way you approach your day. If you find yourself forgetting about your mantra, find a friend or family member who will hold you accountable. Feel free to mix it up by listing three things you’re thankful for or one accomplishment from last week you are proud of. All of these things will help you start thinking positively.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and he couldn’t be more right. Many of us spend time consciously or unconsciously comparing ourselves to others. We see our looks, jobs, relationships and possessions through the lens of what others have or what they have achieved. We must make an intentional effort to turn the comparison inward, because the only person you should be competing with is the you from yesterday.
Set Actionable Goals
Many of us crave structure. We compare ourselves to others because we enjoy having a barometer to measure our success and the idea of working toward something is exciting. The good news is you can measure success and work toward goals in a healthy way that will actually increase your positive thinking. At the beginning of the week, month or year, sit down and set goals. Make sure your goals are intentional, strategic and realistic because the overarching goal is self-improvement. Setting goals that will leave you feeling defeated instead of motivated won’t do you any good, so make a list that will work for your schedule.
“Just Do It”
There’s a reason Nike’s tagline has served as one of the most powerful mantras in all of advertising. It works. When you spend too much time in your own head thinking about, worrying and creating anxiety around a situation, it only makes the task ten times harder. If you feel miserable every time you have a client meeting or dread having an awkward conversation with a friend, the best way to relieve your stress is to bite the bullet and do it as soon as possible. This will free your mind to think about things you enjoy, and once you complete the task, you’ll often find it wasn’t as bad as you thought.
Deepak Chopra said “Our minds influence the key activity of the brain, which then influences everything; perception, cognition, thoughts and feelings, personal relationships; they’re all a projection of you.” If you want to live a happy, positive life, the decision is yours. Happiness is a choice, so think positively and get to work on building your mental toughness.