If your life feels like it’s a bit out of your control, think again. How you navigate life depends largely on your thoughts and the good news is that you can control your thoughts. Learn how to harness the power of thought to create the life you want!
Have you ever heard that your thoughts create your reality? Or how about that you are what you think?
Whether or not you choose to take either of these beliefs at face value, there is no denying the power of thought and its impact on your life.
In fact, how you lead your life starts with how you think, and with the ability to control your thoughts, you have more control over your life than it might seem at times.
Although you can’t necessarily pick and choose the thoughts that come into your mind, you can control which ones you choose to believe and allow to influence the choices you make and the behaviors you engage in, both of which greatly affect your life.
In this post, we explore the power of thought and what you can do to master your mindset in order to feel more in control and create positive impact in your life.
Why are thoughts so powerful?
While it’s true that thoughts are just thoughts and on their own they don’t mean much, still, your thoughts are one of the most powerful tools you will ever have at your disposal.
You can’t always control the circumstances of your life, however, you can control how you think about it all.
This is important because how you think and your belief systems influence how you feel and it’s your feelings about a particular life event or situation that will determine how you respond to it.
In other words, as your thoughts are the impetus for your feelings, they directly affect the decisions you make and the actions you take, which shape the course of your life.
Thus, it follows that you have the ability to control your life, starting with learning to control your thoughts.
How does the power of thought impact you as a person?
What I described above is rooted in the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) model of psychology, which theorizes that how we feel and behave is influenced by our perception of a situation, or our thoughts about it, not by the situation itself.
The kind of thoughts we have determine how we feel, our feelings lead us to behave in a certain way, and subsequently, the consequences of our behaviors are what directly impact our lives.
This is where the true power of thought comes in because if you believe that your feelings and behaviors start with your thoughts, then it follows that if you can learn to control your thoughts, you will gain control over your feelings, behaviors, and the subsequent consequences of these behaviors that create the outcomes in your life.
This is good news because it means that the outcomes in your life don’t depend on circumstances that are often out of your control, rather they depend on you and having control over your thoughts means having control over your life!
How can you use the power of thought to create positive impact in your life?
When thinking about how we can use the power of thought to create positive impact in our lives, it’s important to first understand two key concepts.
Repeated Thoughts Reinforce What You Believe
The first is that not all thoughts are equal.
Random thoughts that you think once or twice will not do much, but your predominant thoughts, the ones you repeat often, can have a larger effect on your reality.
The more you think a certain thought, the more likely you are to believe it. This can work both ways with negative or positive thoughts.
Negative thoughts that you repeat often eventually turn into limiting beliefs that have the power to hold you back from your potential and what you want in life.
If you repeatedly tell yourself you can’t do something, you will feel like someone who is not capable and this will prevent you from trying and taking risks. Thus, keeping you stuck in the same place and reinforcing the belief that you’re not capable of achieving what you might want.
On a similar note, repeated positive thoughts can turn into positive beliefs you have about yourself and can give you the confidence to go after and achieve the goals you set, thus reaffirming the positive beliefs you have.
It’s important to understand this because we can’t necessarily control all the thoughts that pop up in the subconscious mind, but we can control which thoughts we choose to believe.
We also can learn techniques that will help foster more of the thoughts we want, i.e. the good thoughts that serve us well.
Your Thoughts Become Your Reality
There is truth to the statement, “your thoughts create your reality”. This is because your perception of a situation is going to be how you experience it.
For example, if you really don’t want to go to the gym and tell yourself that you’re going to hate every minute of it, once you get there, it’s very likely you will experience your time working out negatively. We are more likely to have a negative experience if we approach a situation with a negative mindset.
In contrast, you still may really not want to go the gym, but if you shift your mindset to view it as a positive thing you’re doing to take care of your body and mind and tell yourself that the time will fly by while you listen to your favorite playlist, then you’re more likely to have a positive experience of your time there.
Your thoughts about a situation or event create your experience of it. Thus your mental image becomes your reality.
12 Effective Tips for a Positive Mindset
Now that you understand that the mind is a powerful tool that you can control, how can you use the power of your mind to have a positive impact on your life?
Although it’s possible, it’s not always easy. In fact, it’s much easier to let negative thinking influence you rather than harness the power of positive thinking to your benefit.
It won’t happen overnight, but with some awareness and consistent effort, you’ll be able to learn to better control your thoughts in order to feel more in control of your life.
Below are 12 effective tips that can help you work towards a more positive and productive state of mind:
1.) Develop awareness
It’s important to become aware of how you think and to identify negative thought patterns. If your thoughts are not working to your benefit, determine the mindset that you want and work towards maintaining it with some of the other suggestions below.
2.) Monitor your self-talk
We all have an inner dialogue in our minds and we’re often very critical of ourselves. It’s important to regulate your inner self-talk.
When you find your thoughts veering toward the negative more often than not, try rewriting the story in your mind. This means catching an evil thought, asking yourself if it’s actually true (it’s usually not), and reframing it into something more positive that is also true.
For more guidance on how to curb negative self-talk, visit my post “Why You Should Talk To Yourself Like Someone You Love”.
3.) Use positive affirmations
One way to improve your mindset when you notice that your inner critic has been running wild is to use positive affirmations in your self-talk.
Affirmations are brief, positive statements that you repeat often to yourself in order to reinforce positive thoughts in your mind and eventually change your negative thought patterns.
When used consistently, these positive statements will encourage more positive thoughts from within and you also will start to believe them.
4.) Practice meditation
Practicing meditation will help you learn that it’s okay to acknowledge your thoughts, but to also let go of the ones that don’t serve you well.
This helps us to see that our thoughts don’t define us and that we can simply observe them as they rise up and fall away. They cannot harm us unless we let them.
We can also use a meditation practice to foster more of the thoughts we want by reciting affirmations or personal mantras while meditating.
5.) Use visualization
The imagination can be a powerful ally when used as a tool to cultivate positive thoughts. That’s because your brain doesn’t distinguish between the imaginary in your own mind and the reality outside of it.
Visualization can help combat your brain’s natural tendency to focus on the negative. Similar to reciting daily positive affirmations, being consistent with visualization exercises of positive imagery has the effect of drawing your mind’s focus to the positive.
Try practicing daily visualization exercises in which you close your eyes and visualize or imagine the positive things you want to bring forth in your life. You might choose to imagine what your ideal life would look like or visualize yourself achieving certain dreams and goals.
Be consistent and get very specific in your visualization exercises. Really use your senses to imagine yourself experiencing the positive occurrences and situations you desire!
6.) Practice mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness in which you take a pause during the day to slow your mind down and assess how you’re feeling can be helpful when trying to foster a more positive mindset.
When you find that your mind is wandering, using mindfulness techniques like taking a few deep breaths to bring yourself back to the present moment can help you reset your focus where you want it.
7.) Avoid triggers
Sometimes we’re super aware of what triggers our negative thinking. It might be falling into the comparison trap when scrolling through social media or spending time with certain people who push our buttons or display negative attitudes.
If you’re aware of what triggers you, try minimizing these things or avoiding them altogether. If you’re not sure what your triggers are, a journaling practice can help you to self-reflect and notice certain patterns.
8.) Start a journaling practice
Journaling is the practice of regularly getting your thoughts, feelings, desires, and more, out of your head and onto the page.
The many types of journaling can help with anxiety, working through negative emotions, aiding in decision-making, tapping into your intuition, and reflecting on your thoughts and experiences in order to better understand yourself and your way of thinking.
Journaling can also help you notice negative thought patterns, challenge your inner critic, and change your perspective on situations to be more positive.
If you’re interested in starting a journaling practice and would like the exact steps to do so, download my FREE journaling guide which also includes 50 journaling prompts to help you get started.
9.) Get regular exercise
There is no shortage of evidence that when you engage in the movement of the physical body, it helps to cultivate a more positive mental state.
During exercise, the human body releases chemicals that boost your sense of well-being and suppress hormones that cause stress and anxiety.
Once you add regular exercise to your daily routine, you will notice that you have a much more positive outlook directly following a workout. It also becomes easier to maintain this positive mental state throughout the day.
10.) Surround yourself with positive people
The law of attraction suggests that “positive thoughts bring positive results into a person’s life, while negative thoughts bring negative outcomes”. The basic philosophy is that “like attracts like” and by removing negative things from your life it allows more room for the positive.
This includes negative people. When you are in the company of negative people, their negativity will often rub off on you. The opposite is also true so try to spend time with positive, uplifting people.
Observe their habits, and notice how they think, talk, and behave. Try letting go of some of your negative habits and adopting a bit of their positivity for yourself!
11.) Practice positivity with others
Similar to becoming aware of your negative self-talk, notice how you speak and interact with other people as well.
Instead of regularly saying negative comments or complaining about things, practice being optimistic by focusing on the positive aspects of a situation and talking about experiences in a positive light.
This includes learning to accept positive compliments and acknowledgments that others may give you. Instead of brushing off compliments, really try to embrace and internalize positive feedback.
In doing so, you’re helping yourself foster a more positive outlook on life and you will start to think more positive thoughts.
12.) Expand your knowledge
Read books, listen to podcasts, attend lectures, and/or talk to a therapist or coach about how your mind works and what you can do to cultivate more positive thinking.
Learn about different healthy mindset tools that can help you and then apply the techniques learned to encourage the kind of life experiences you desire.
Remember, the power of thought is yours to control.
It’s important to remind yourself that you’re in control of your mind, not the other way around.
Although it may sometimes feel daunting to challenge your negative thoughts and do the necessary hard work to manage them, realize that there is no better person beside you to manage your mindset and gain control over your life.
So get to work on developing that positive mindset. I’m rooting for you!
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Carly is a wife, mom, and former NYC fashion industry executive turned writer and life coach. Through her writings on littlevoicebigmatter.com, she shares practical advice, heartfelt insights, and actionable resources to inspire and support women in motherhood, relationships, wellness, and life. Carly also helps women create better balance in their lives and live with more joy, purpose, and connection every day through her coaching.