How to shift your thoughts & why this skill is so valuable

As mentioned in a previous post, YOU have the power to determine how your experiences shape your life and your future by what meaning you assign to them.  If you view them as inherently positive, they will provide an overall positive outlook on life which will affect your behaviors and choices differently than someone who has similar experiences but views them more negatively.  

So, how do you shift your thoughts?

First, you’ll need to observe them.  Awareness is essential.  The more you pay attention to something, the more importance your mind places on it.  So, if you find yourself thinking things that keep you from being the best version of yourself, you’re going to need to stop them.  Simply calling awareness to them is sufficient. Going any further than that here can cause you to focus on them which is the opposite of what you want.

Along with this, make sure you are surrounding yourself with things that are supportive to where you want to be.  Mind WHO and WHAT you are giving attention to.  Are you constantly scrolling social media and comparing yourself to others? This is could be reinforcing a lack mentality: “look what they have versus what I have”. 

Again, it all boils down to the meaning you assign to it.  You could be scrolling social media for examples of what you want your life to look like moving forward and that’s perfectly fine (as long as you leave out the comparison/jealousy factors).  “Make your newsfeed a place that can catalyze your growth, instead of lessening your perception of your worth” — Brianna Wiest. 

In fact, that’s the second way to shift your thoughts.

Your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between what you are showing it and what is actual reality.  So, when you visualize yourself in your dream car, your subconscious mind has no idea that you don’t yet own that car. Additionally, your mind is going to look for evidence to support your thoughts and beliefs. So now you may find yourself seeing your dream car everywhere.  

“Your mind is constantly filtering and bringing to your attention information and stimuli that affirms your preexisting beliefs (this is known in psychology as confirmation bias) as well as presenting you with repeated thoughts and impulses that mimic and mirror that which you’ve done in the past” says Brianna Wiest.

You can use this to your advantage by focusing on the new beliefs you want and finding evidence to support them.  As in the example of owning your dream car mentioned earlier, you can support this belief by finding examples that owning this car can be a reality for you.  

Using vision boards, motivational quotes and pictures, or putting yourself in environments that empower you to feel successful will make your subconscious mind work to make it so.   

Additionally, adding intention into your daily routine will help to re-wire new neural pathways that support your new thoughts and beliefs.  This is the third way to shift your thoughts.

Begin your day with an intentional focus such as repeating affirmations or setting an intention for where you’d like to focus your thoughts and attention for the day.  Speak to yourself as if you are already having the day or living the life you want. 

 Then, at the end of the day, reflect in a gratitude journal all of the ways you are grateful for what  you currently have and all of the ways that intention came true for you that day.  When you shift your mindset to focus on what you HAVE and have accomplished versus what you WANT and want to accomplish, your entire mindset will shift. 

If you’re focusing on what you WANT, this is telling your mind, “I don’t have this” and your mind will continue to search for examples of other things you don’t have.  Whereas if you’re focusing on what you already HAVE, this is telling your mind, “I am so fortunate” and your mind will search for opportunities and examples to continue to prove that you are, in fact, fortunate.

Shifting thoughts and beliefs that no longer resonate, allows you to create space for new beliefs that are more in alignment with who you currently are and where you want to be.

Amy W. Barbour, MS

Certified Hypnotherapist & Life Coach