by Thomas A. Richards, Ph.D., Psychologist
We spend hours and hours dwelling and ruminating on the negative and fearful things in our lives. We worry about what could go wrong, instead of focusing and paying attention to the rational, the positive and the good. We should train ourselves to focus on thoughts that will move us forward in the right direction. Read one of these statements to yourself every day — and dwell on it. It’s about time we started paying attention to what is rational and right.
If you pay attention to the darkness, you will never find the light.
If you study and relive your past experiences, analyzing them, and “getting in touch with your feelings”, you will only reinforce those feelings. If you want to get away from a problem, you should not focus on it. Focus on what is rational, the positive, the beautiful, and the nice.
A contented person is fully caught up in the moment –and is not thinking about the past or the future.
Too much thinking and analyzing just makes any problem worse. Today is a wonderful day – live it in the present.
Why do little children think ghosts, goblins, and monsters are real? As adults, we know they aren’t. Your thoughts aren’t “real” either in the sense that you “create” and reinforce them — and the emotions that go along with them. Your thoughts are only what you decide to believe in and continually reinforce in your mind. (This one is deep – think about this one.)
For example, you are sitting alone in the dark in your home. You are down, depressed and thinking gloomy thoughts. All of a sudden the phone rings and it’s a friend you haven’t talked to in years. You become alert, your mood picks up, and you have a nice conversation. Then, after you’ve hung up, you get blue again and fall back into a depressed mood. Why?
Suggestion: Even though we don’t feel it – we have more power over our thoughts than we think. We can decide to stay “up” after the phone call by doing whatever it takes to keep from slipping back into the quicksand of rumination and despair. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, when done appropriately, gives us the tools and strategies to move away from anxiety and depression – and eventually to stay or “be” that way.
If your thoughts begin to change, you will feel better.
If you act rationally, despite how you are feeling, your beliefs and emotions will follow behind.
There is so much in life I can’t control. But this is my life and I’ve decided to be happy. I can choose to be happy regardless of my other circumstances. It’s not “when I get a promotion, I’ll be happy…..” or “when I can speak in front of a small group of people, I’ll be happy…..” The focus should be on learning to be happy now. Tap into your inner peace and contentment in the way that works best for you.
Happiness is a result of a decision to be happy.
Your emotions and feelings are created by your thoughts.
Unhappiness cannot exist on its own. It occurs because of thoughts, which can be changed.
Your past thoughts are about events that are no longer real. That bad experience happened yesterday (in the past) and is over. It is gone and exists solely in your mind. Today is a new day, a better day, and worrying about the past just dooms us in the present. It’s how you process it now that makes a difference.
You are a thought-producing machine. When you realize this, you can begin to slow your thoughts down and allow your anxieties and fears to rest.
Your automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) are only thoughts: they are not real. Your ANTS are not real. They do not tell you the truth.
Our tendency is to think TOO MUCH and to paralyze ourselves with our ruminations. We have a choice: Realize what we’re doing to ourselves, get up, find a distraction, and do something interesting (positive).
Happy people understand that to enjoy life you “live” it — you don’t “think” about it.
Watch a roomful of preschool children. They are enjoying life because they are focused on the moment and are not thinking about it. They are immersed and absorbed in living.
Analysis creates paralysis.
Anticipatory anxiety killing you? Stop thinking about it, take that step, and do it.
Thoughts grow with attention. If you focus on negative thoughts, they will grow and grow and become even larger. If you focus on your progress and the new thoughts you are learning, they will grow stronger and take “automatic” control.
Even if you understand and know why you have a problem, this will not help you in solving it. Going over and over the reasons for your problem is like pouring salt in an open wound.
The only factor making you unhappy is your own thoughts. Relax, release them, let them go.
When you notice self-limiting and self-defeating thoughts playing over and over in your mind, say “STOP! I will not give you any more power over me! I have better things to do!!”