Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality

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Change Your Reality.  Credits: www.educationillustrated.com

One of my biggest goals in creating this website is to teach the value and power of human thought. I say ‘human’ thought because our ability to have control over the development and balance of our brain is completely unique to humans, which I’ll later explain. The person you are today is the person you have created and shaped through the power of your own will gradually over time. Sure, outside influences play a big part, but how we perceive these outside influences is what defines who we are: how we think, how we feel, and how we act.

Did you know, with every thought you have, your brain releases chemicals, makes new connections, and changes its physical structure (albeit rather slowly)?  Cool right?  Your  brain is also a very generous machine, and if your desired state is clearly defined and expected, it will hop on board and work its little heart out for you. Smile

Let’s break this down.

Mind and Body Connection

You could find a library filled solely on this topic. Some people don’t realize the connection our bodies have with our minds. Ever hear of a sterile woman testing pregnant because she wanted a baby so badly? Or a man learning to walk when the doctors said it was impossible? Or perhaps you know a friend that is always sick with the latest cold?

Let’s take this a step further and look at the consequences of negative thinking:

Negative thoughts, emotions, and feelings will be expressed no matter what. How they are expressed depends on you.

If they are not released by means of proper thought or physical expression, then they will take on their physical equivalence in the form of pain, stress, and sickness. I have read too many studies related to self-inflicted sicknesses due to ineffective expression of emotions, management of feelings, or stress management. Some reports state that 85% of doctor visits are stress-related! Life has many, many stressors, and it’s our ability to combat these stressors that makes us happier and healthier people.

Did you know that sometimes we feel pain, because we expect pain? In my opinion, this can be the hardest thing to accept, in part because we identify with the pain we have, and it becomes part of who we are. Additionally, we can feel attacked when someone suggests such an outlandish idea. “Wait, you’re telling me… that I’m creating my OWN pain… in my head? Is this a joke? … You’re crazy!”

I have personal experience in this area not only from witnessing it, but also of being guilty of it myself. I’ve dealt with chronic back pain for over 10 years. It wasn’t until I realized I was holding onto a belief which was preventing my condition from improving – “I will always have back pain, get used to it.” – I told myself. I used to submit to my current situation, but now I am being mentally and physically proactive.

More Mind/Body examples:

  • If you are thinking happy thoughts about a loved one, feelings of gratitude, or feelings of pride, your brain secretes feel-good chemicals, serotonin in this example, and the body releases tension and built-up stress. What a great reason to be thankful for what you have (read about Gratitude) and think positively about the future (read Power of Positivity)!
  • This is not a typical example you’d see on a personal development website, but it drives the point home. Get your mind in the gutter for a moment and think about your partner, lover, or wife/husband. Take your time, I’ll give you a few seconds.  What happens when you start thinking in this direction? Your body has a noticeable reaction, feel, and enacted desire… by the mere presence of a single thought.
  • Does the thought about a delicious, ice-cream topped brownie make your mouth water? Does the thought of speaking in public make your stomach feel like a washing machine? Does the thought of needles being pushed under your fingernails make you cringe?

Why does this happen? Nothing is happening to you right now, you are simply reading words on a page. You’re silly.

This is the mind and body connection.

Thoughts and Emotions

1) We take in data, 2) process the information, and then 3) we decide how we feel about it.

But how we process that new information and the value we assign to it will equally impact our emotional reaction to the situation:

You are enjoying your morning drive to the office when a car cuts in front of you and nearly hits your front bumper, and then he zooms off and proceeds to cut off the next car!

How would you feel? Frustrated? Ticked off? Have the urge to honk or flip them the bird? What if you later found out that his child was in the backseat with a severed thumb and they were racing to the hospital? How does that change your emotional reaction to the situation? Not only would your emotional reaction change, but the tension in your body would release as your anger subsided.

How we perceive and process daily situations and interactions, and how we imagine future outcomes is a reflection of what we tell ourselves on a daily basis. This is what makes us all unique! If we all processed and stored information the same way, we’d all be very similar and only differing by the experiences we have!  Perhaps we’d all get along swimmingly: politicians would agree on policies, nations wouldn’t start wars, and all marriages would be paradise. That would be no fun at all!

Thought and Life Outlook

On average, we have over 50,000 thoughts per day. Our world, our reality, is shaped from these thoughts. They establish our life outlook, our beliefs, and our self-perception.

Here is another statistic for you: 80% of the average person’s thoughts are negative. This statistic is a big eye opener.

From the second we are born our minds are buzzing with activity. Every moment of the day, our minds are in a constant state of ‘mind-chatter’ or ‘self-talk’. As if not to get lonely, we talk to ourselves non-stop even while talking or listening! (That’s not very polite is it?)  You are formulating new opinions and ideas as your read this very sentence.  Caught you!

If you play sports, this is easily apparent.  A winner’s attitude may consist of positive affirmations and visualization to oneself during competition: “Play your best!”, “You got this!”, or better yet, “I’m freakin’ awesome!”.  On the flip side, a defeatist attitude may consist of “If only I was better”, “It’s going so well, I’m bound to screw up”, and of course “I suck!”.

If we use negative self-talk in all areas of our lives over a long duration of time… don’t you think this will have an impact on our overall sense of well-being, happiness, and attitude?

The first step in creating a more positive mental outlook is refining one’s internal dialogue and recognizing negative thought streams that can impede personal growth.

Animal and Human Thought

As promised, I’ll explain why human thought is unique to all creatures on the planet… this stuff is pretty cool.

Unlike animals, we have the ability to think about how we think. Humans are driven and directed by an emotional brain and a rational brain. Our emotional brain is very similar to those of animals, but it is our rational brain that really sets us apart.

Animals, pets for example, primarily learn through the avoidance of pain (spanked, hunger, or a cat scratch), and the seeking of pleasure (petting, treats, or chasing the mailman). They learn which actions lead to a desired outcome. What they don’t do is ask the question ‘Why?’.

Humans on the other hand, have this wonderful structure in our brains called the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) and it holds what we call the ‘Executive Functions’ of the brain.

For example, “I feel so angry right now; I want to punch a hole in the wall!”. A functioning PFC might tap you on the shoulder, raise an eyebrow, and in its best motherly voice ask ‘Really? Is that really a good idea? What would your wife say? Better yet, how would the wall feel?’.

We are able to THINK about how we THINK, and THINK about how we FEEL.

Sometimes, we can’t trust our first thoughts. Why? Because our first thoughts usually come from our emotional brain and are a reaction to a certain stimulus, and we all know we can’t always trust our emotions!  Ambrose Bierce appreciates this concept when he claims “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

Conclusion

The brain not only learns from the experiences it takes in, but also from the thoughts you create 50,000 times a day!  The biggest impact is made by your own mind-chatter, which you can readily start changing now by becoming more aware of the powerful effect your thoughts have on your emotional and physical well-being.

Your mind is shaped by your world filter which is unique to you, and only you.  Change your filter and you change your world.

This post was written by

Greg has written 69 articles on Student of Me.

Greg is the creator and primary writer for Student of Me. He probably spends way too much time on the computer writing, researching, programming, and working on his photography. He loves escaping from screen-time to travel, ride his motorcycle, experience the outdoors and spend time with loved ones. You can contact him at greg (at) studentofme.com!

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2 thoughts on “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality”

  1. Larry says:

    Great way to take the reader through an object lesson, and then have them deal with the reality of the message. You are very talented Mr. Yung, do not let the barriers limit your expression or to captivate the reader in the process. One of the reasons for being intrigued and wanting to stay in touch. !

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