The Power of Thoughts

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Have you ever wondered how two people can have the exact same experience and be affected differently? How does this make sense? We can’t control what happens to us so how can we stay in the driver’s seat of our own lives?

 

Thoughts are powerful. Let’s explore just how powerful thoughts are.

 

Thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected. First an event happens and then we have a thought about the event, followed by a feeling based on that thought, and lastly we act on that thought and feeling.

 

 Event ------>  Thought --------> Feeling ------>Action

 

 

Let’s explore this further. Let’s say someone got a flat tire (event). What might that person think? Maybe they think “Bad things always happen to me.” What would that person feel? Probably frustrated and discouraged. What would their action be? Maybe to cry or yell.

 

But what if the same event happened, someone got a flat tire but instead they thought “That’s a bummer but I know how to fix this”. They would likely feel empowered. And the following action would be to fix the tire.

 

Event ------>  Thought ------------------------------------> Feeling ------> Action

Flat tire  ---> “Bad things always happen to me” ----> Frustrated —-> Cry/yell

Flat tire ---> “I can fix this” ------------------------------> Empowered—-> Fix tire

 

Let take another example.  This time let’s say the event is getting cut off in traffic. What would happen if the person thinks “what a jerk”? The person would likely feel angry and maybe the same some choice words. But how would it look different if the person thought “I don’t think they saw me there” or if the thought “They seem to be in a hurry. Maybe they are on the way to the hospital.”

 

 

Event ----->  Thought ----------------------------------> Feeling -----—> Action

Cut off  ---> “What a jerk!” -----------------------------> Angry -------> Choice words

Cut off ---> “They must be going to the hospital”---> Empathy -—> Let it go

 

How are your thoughts impacting your feelings and actions? The first step in changing our thoughts is noticing them. So maybe over the next week you take time to take note of your thoughts. Notice any patterns or repeat thoughts. And over the next few weeks we will explore how to begin changing thoughts that you identify as not helping you.

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Theresa Leskowat MS LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Charlotte NC. Theresa utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help her clients to manage their thoughts, feelings, and actions.