Our mind is like a factory which tends to produce thoughts every moment. These thoughts could be related to any area of your life, for example, financial situation, relationship issues, health, work related, and politics related. When we generate positive thoughts, we feel good as thoughts tend to create corresponding feelings. Feelings tend to lead to behaviors and actions. However, when thoughts are negative and revolve around anger, resentment, jealousy, hatred, and revenge, they produce negative feelings, affect your attitude and behavior, in turn.
It is very important to be aware of your thought process. Awareness and cognizance help us do something about it. Therefore, it is a good practice to notice what you are thinking, are your thoughts rational or they are stemming from your preconceived notions, beliefs, and past experiences? Human thinking is often flawed. Many of our regrettable actions are the outcomes of our faulty thinking. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts. When you improve your thinking, you improve your life also.
Following steps could be instrumental in fixing our faulty thinking.
Twelve Steps to Fix Faulty Thinking:
1. Empathize with others: Look for opportunity to empathize. When you take the time to understand others, you get to know their perspectives, expand your knowledge, and gain deeper insight into your own mind. Egotist people tend to dwell in their own worlds with no consideration of others. They lack empathy and show insensitivity towards others. It is important to be aware of this tendency and try to understand other people’s perspectives and viewpoints also..If you live in your world, you will be generating more thoughts that pertain to your situation and will not pay attention to others around you. So try to develop sensitivity towards others too.
2. Accept Your Ignorance: Many of us tend to have intellectual arrogance when we tend to assert ourselves and claim that we know it all. This practice is not healthy. So try to question the limitation and biases of your source of information. Question what you read. Don’t make a bold statement. Ask how much you really know about your bold statement. Do not assume that you are always right and give others a benefit of doubt too. It is okay to be wrong sometimes and when it happens, try to learn from it as opposed to making an issue about it.
3. Don’t Be a Hypocrite: As human beings we all tend to expect others to behave according to our expectations but when it comes to us, we maintain double standards. Notice this tendency when you profess a belief and then act in contradiction of that belief. That is hypocrisy. Human mind wants to see itself in positive light therefore human beings tend to defend themselves even when they are wrong; they try to justify their behaviors with irrational arguments. So try to have consistencies in your beliefs and actions then only we will mean what we say and say what we mean. So try to routinely examine your inconsistencies and face them truthfully. This will lead you to live a life of integrity and honesty.
4. Notice if You are Being Selfish: Notice if you always think about yourself and tend to ignore needs of others. It is difficult to identify your unfair behavior because the mind naturally hides what it does not want to face. So try to be fair and not cater to just your needs. Human thinking is self serving. It is possible to develop and cultivate this habit by noticing and paying attention to the needs, rights, desires of others. When you think fair mindedly, you are more open to consider the rights and needs of others as equivalent to yours. Try to pay attention to the view point of others. Also try to catch yourself when you engage in self deception, in other words, when you ignore other people’s wishes, desires, and needs.
5. Be Aware of Your Goals and Purposes: Try to assess if your goals and objectives are in harmony or are they mutually inconsistent. Examine your personal, professional, economic, political and national goals. Thinking is always guided by human purposes. All our actions are related to some goal, agenda or purpose. When you are not clear about your goals, your thinking becomes faulty. We all have primary, secondary, short term, long range goals. There should be harmony and consistency in these goals. It is also important to assess the purposes of others. When you pay attention to goals and aspirations of others, you also learn from them and see if there are inconsistencies in the goals of others. This practice will hone your own ability to be more perceptive and objective. Furthermore, this will also lead you to become more unbiased in your viewpoint.
6. Clarify Your Thinking: Our thinking is often fuzzy, blurred and vague. Look into the underlying meaning beneath the surface. Try to explore the real meaning of important news stories. Practice summarizing and paraphrasing what others say and then ask if you understood them correctly to avoid misunderstanding in communication. You can clarify your own thinking by stating one point at a time. Try to then elaborate on what you mean. Give examples that connect your thoughts to life experiences by using analogies to help people connect your ideas to things they understand. Critical thinking has many layers and you need to get in all the layers to be able to understand the viewpoint of others. If you don’t clarify your thinking, it might lead you to make wrong decisions and interact differently with others. This can result in poor interpersonal relationships, as well.
7. Improve Your Ability to Focus: Human beings often engage in fragmented thinking when ideas do not have logical connections. Focus when you tend to divert your attention to irrelevant things and not concentrate on the central idea. If someone else is doing this, ask and question the relevance of their statement to the core issue at hand. Stay focused when you are trying to solve problems. Don’t allow your mind to wander to unrelated matters. This practice helps you save time and also unnecessary futile efforts towards problem solving. Additionally, try to notice when others try to stray from the core issue and not focus on the central idea.
8. Be Aware of the Implications: Think through the implications of your statements and carefully examine all the significant implications of potential decisions before acting. You will notice that some decisions have insignificant results. Look for opportunities to help others think through implications. When faced with a difficult problem, make a list of the possible implications of dealing with the problem. Then act in the way that is more conducive to bringing the desired results. Notice how others react to your statements. Choose your words carefully before you speak to others.
In this way, when you have thought through all the implications of major decisions, you are less likely to make errors. If you just act impulsively without thinking through the implications, you are more likely to make mistakes because you attended to your irrational and faulty thinking.
9. Take Charge of Your Emotions: As human beings we think all the time and also have emotions throughout the day. Thoughts and feelings are two sides of the same coin. Feelings can influence thoughts too and thoughts give rise to feelings. Feelings can be positive or negative. They can be justified or unjustified. The quality of your life depends on how you relate to your feelings and emotions. So learn to examine your emotions and try to pinpoint the thoughts that give rise to those feelings. Take command of your emotions by taking command of the thinking that leads to those emotions. When you begin to notice your emotions, ask yourself what thoughts are giving rise to these feelings then attack those thoughts which are leading to unpleasant feelings. Thus the newly generated thought is more likely to shift the emotion accordingly. Get to the roots of the emotions and generate thoughts that lead to productive behavior and positive emotions. This practice will make you more skilled and you will be less likely to act impulsively.
10. Refrain from Worrying: We tend to worry about the problems and not take actions to solve the problems. This leads to unnecessary anxiety. Notice when you experience anxiety and what thoughts are causing this anxiety. Worrying never adds to the quality of your life. It only deteriorates the quality. Ask questions like what precisely is the problem, what are your options, have you exhausted all possible solutions, are you giving up too soon and so on? Be proactive when you are faced with a problem. When you engage in fretful obsessing, you make yourself low in energy and it is counterproductive. Instead, use your energy productively and focus on the solutions/ options and not so much on the problem itself. Use the important steps of problem solving to get desired results. Use reasoning and logic to make important decisions as opposed to acting on worrisome thoughts and regretting it later on.
11. Stop Blaming your Parents: Take charge of your life and stop the blaming and attacking mode of thinking. You are an adult now and can take responsibilities. Past is past and cannot be changed but you can definitely take charge of the present moment and determine the quality of your life by taking an active role. Take every moment that you typically use to blame your parents, and transform your energy into action. This will lead to potential success and bring positive outcomes. You are more likely to replace the negative emotions with positive when you will see the desired results happening. Don’t dwell on the past; act positively. This practice will give you the charge of your life and avoid wasting time on blaming others. After all, blaming others will not give you the desired results; your actions are more likely to take you close to your goals and aspirations. Writer has written a blog post on “Joy of Living in the Present” on this website. Please refer to this article for more details on this topic.
12. Be Reasonable: Pay attention to your reasonable and unreasonable behavior and also notice behaviors of others. Notice when you are not willing to see the view points of others. Also, notice when you are not willing to modify your views. Catch yourself being defensive and see if you can break the pattern and try to hear the good reason being presented. Are you being selfish when you show this kind of rigidity? What is stopping you from being open minded? Mind is, by nature, rigid. It often shuts out good reasons readily available to it. That is why we sometimes refuse to hear arguments that are perfectly reasonable. It is a good idea to become open minded and receptive to the view points of others also. Also, it is okay to admit that you are wrong. You gain respect by showing some humility as opposed to arrogance. Don’t try to hide your mistakes. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes so there is no reason to become defensive.
In this way we see that there are twelve major steps to clarifying your thoughts and manage them appropriately. When you follow these steps, you will see a new person emerging, a person who is more rational, open, and flexible. You will see that you will reduce the inconsistencies of your own beliefs, goals, and agendas and will become more open to others view points, decisions and reasoning. It is easy to live by your own standards but it takes efforts to incorporate the ideas of others and show respect to others without being a selfish and self engrossed individual. That is why team building is such an important angle in corporations, business management,and sports.
Hypnosis can also help with thought management by making the person aware of the negative thinking style and changing it to more positive self talk with the help of affirmations and positive suggestion. It can also improve the person’s self esteem with the help of positive programming. Please visit our Blossom Hypnotherapy page to learn how hypnosis can help reduce symptoms of Anxiety disorders.
Reference: 25 Days to Better thinking and better living, by Dr. Linda Elder and Dr. Richard Paul