Writer has written many blog posts on the topic of Thought and how they affect our feelings, behaviors and attitudes. Our mind is like a factory which produces a variety of thoughts on a constant basis. It is important to notice and recognize these thoughts as they have tremendous effect on our style of interaction with others, relationships and even success and failures. These automatic thoughts have so much power. According to Matthew McKay, Ph. D, there are following seven types of thoughts that can benefit and hurt us as well.
1. Thoughts about memory of past events and moments.
2. When we observe our thoughts.
3. Thoughts related to judgment and evaluation of event, people and situations
4. Storytelling thoughts.
5. Thoughts related to future planning.
6. Fortune telling thoughts.
7. Fantasies or future thoughts.
1. Memory Thoughts
Thoughts about memory can be pleasant when you indulge in remembering the past pleasurable experiences like vacations, important events, pleasant childhood memories and unforgettable experiences like winning an award, making the basket ball team, playing the best stroke of golf, tennis, baseball etc. Our memory helps us retrieve information that has been stored in the brain. These thoughts give us joy as we connect to important moments and people in our lives. However, some people can dwell on the negative events of their lives like failures and feel so awful. If you spend much of your time dwelling in the negative experiences of the past, you will not be able to enjoy the moment and miss out the pleasures of present moment.
It is always advisable to cherish the pleasant memories of the past and try to refrain from dwelling in the past failures and negative experiences. This practice will keep your mood uplifted and avoid low moods.
2. Observation Thoughts
The other types of thoughts could be when the person is observing the moment. It can be a very pleasant experience as you are being mindful and enjoying every moment of the experience. It can calm you down and create a rich and deeply felt experience of the present. However, when we do this on an extreme level, we will not be taking actions and nothing will change. It is important to take right actions in order to bring about a change. Actions bring results and we need to have a balance. Observing our thoughts is a good practice but overindulgence would obstruct you from taking actions.
3. Judgment Thoughts
We sometimes have thoughts about judgment when we evaluate our situations and label them as good and bad. This helps us make decisions related to our choices and we try to stay away from bad stuff. However, judgment can also become a stick with which we tend to beat ourselves or others up. If you form a harsh judgment about others, you will not be able to get along with them and always pick their weaknesses. You will tend to berate them for everything they do and say. You can also be harsh on yourself and form a biased opinion about yourself leading to the practice of belittling yourself and causing low self esteem. It is good to be nonjudgmental. Writer has written a blog post on how to be nonjudgmental and readers are referred to this post on the website.
4. Story telling Thoughts
When we try to explain and make sense of things, we indulge in story telling thoughts. Sometimes when we do this, we tend to make the error of mind reading and interpret events in a negative manner. One has to be careful about this practice and try to be objective as opposed to forming opinions and interpreting neutral events in a negative manner.
5. Planning (Future Thoughts)
These thoughts help us solve problems and prepare for the future. But some people become such planners that they fail to relish the present moment and always dwell in planning for the future. People go on vacations and instead of enjoying the beauty of nature, they go to the extreme of entertaining future thoughts and miss out on what the nature has to offer. It is advisable to plan for the future but if the person tends to indulge in always planning and planning, they can become very stressed out and can have major illnesses like cardiac problems, ulcers, hypertension and many more. That is why it is good to do yoga and meditation so we are mindful of our breath and stay in the present moment. The more we do meditation and yoga, the more our mind gets trained to stay in the present and our level of stress is reduced.
6. Fortune Telling (future thoughts)
These are thoughts that prepare us to face and cope with life’s dangers. For example, if you know that there is a lion in a forest, fortune telling thoughts will help you anticipate being eaten if you go near the forest. In this way these thoughts help us predict the future and refrain from getting into dangerous situations. We make predictions. However, these thoughts can also make you stuck and lead to “what if” thinking style. People with panic disorder begin to imagine all kinds of dangerous scenarios even when there is no such danger in reality. They begin to avoid to go to places where they feel that there is a danger or threat to their safety. Such thoughts are not real but they tend to perceive them in imagination. This can also lead to depressive mood as the person begins to anticipate only negative things happening to him or her. People fail to relish the joy of the moment and worry about the future because they feel compelled by fortune telling thoughts
7. Fantasies (future thoughts)
These thoughts can be a source of pleasure because the person tends to dwell in pleasant memories of positive experiences like vacations, victory, achievements etc. But dwelling too much in fantasies can be detrimental also in that these thoughts prevent the person from taking
right steps and actions to make them real and attainable. Sometimes these fantasies can also make a person depressed as there is a wide gap between the imagination and the reality. The person begins to compare his or her current life and feels empty by comparison.
It is advisable to have fantasies so that the person can remain motivated but there should be a balance so that the person is also taking the right steps in order to materialize his or her coveted dreams.
Our mind tends to believe everything we think. Therefore it is important to check if there is a practical aspect to the thought. Thoughts should help you live more fully, expand and open up your life as opposed to inhibiting you.
In summary, it is a good practice to notice and observe your thoughts and take right actions in order to accomplish success. Just the awareness can be crucial in helping you make decisions. Most of the time we are not aware of our thought process and begin to act out on every thought that enters the mind. This can be a source of poor interpersonal conflict and set backs.
Hypnosis can help people change their attitude and motivate them to reach their goals.The subconscious mind becomes highly receptive to the suggestions offered in the hypnotic trance and they begin to alter the behavior of the person. Once the positive suggestions are embedded, they begin to modify thoughts and actions of the person and thus change the attitude.
Please visit our Blossom Hypnotherapy page to learn how hypnosis can help reduce symptoms of Anxiety disorders.
Reference: Leave your mind behind by Matthew McKay, Ph.D and Catherine Sutker