March 17

Thinking about Thoughts: 5 Ways to Improve Your Life by Changing Your Thinking Patterns

How you think and what you think about makes a difference in your life.

In individual therapy we often spend time discussing thoughts and the thought process. Thoughts are the center of our internal life. They have a great impact on what we do and say and how we teat ourselves.

Focusing on What You Think . . .

You can ponder the balance in your head between positive and negative thoughts. You can wonder about the time you give to thoughts and the impact they have on your overall well-being.

Ask yourself . . .

What’s on my mind?

How do I decide what to spend my time thinking about?

How much time do I give to positive thoughts compared to negative thoughts?

What do I do with that time?

Is it productive?

Does it move me in the direction I wish to go?

Focusing on How You Think . . .

We want to spend less time with thoughts about disappointment, worry and inadequacy. We want to spend more time thinking about calm, competency and what brings us joy. In order to do this, we have to focus on how we think.

Ask yourself . . .

What is the criteria I use to decide if something is worth my thinking time?

Am I deciding consciously?

What actions and thoughts are important to me?

The values and assumptions you choose as your foundation will steer you to choose the thoughts you want to follow and those you want to drop.

With that in mind, ask yourself . . .

What assumptions do I want to color and lead my life?

What values are at the top of my list?

When I have a thought I don’t want to spend time with, what do I want to think about instead?

What are my go to thoughts?

Here are 5 ideas to help you change your thoughts:

1. Life is complex, so there is no one answer for each instance. There are always several things that could work. Perfection is an unattainable goal. Instead of being perfect, what do I want? What is an alternative I will be content with?

2. Thoughts can be limiting. How can I open up my thinking? How can I say yes to myself more? What thoughts keep me moving toward what I want my life to be?

3. Hang on to the positive and see where it goes. How can I be more accepting of positive compliments? What do I already know about myself that helps me to believe that compliments are true?

4. I can be my authentic self. I can be resilient and confident. Nobody is trying to hurt me on purpose. How do I treat myself that lets me know I am worth treating well?

5. Expand on choices. When I speak to myself I can limit or expand my choices. What do I want in the end? How many paths could get me there? I can choose and decide which path is best for me in the moment. I can always change my mind.

In couples therapy, we examine not only thought about ourselves, but the thoughts we have about our partner. How we think about our partner influences how we react to them, how we communicate and how we behave when we are together. Making changes in our thought process can create changes in the relationship dynamic.

Change your thinking by creating new thoughts to replace those thoughts that are bringing you down. Hold your new thoughts close and have them ready to take the place of unwanted thoughts. Look forward to using your new thoughts. Look into your future and ask yourself how your life will be different with your new thoughts as your foundation. What will I notice? What changes will take place as a result of my new thoughts? How will my new thoughts mold my thought process? Who will notice changes in me?

Keep asking yourself questions.

Keep noticing what is different.

Keep making your life better with your new thinking.


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  • Love thequestion about self care … How do I treat myself that let’s me know I am worth treating well? and I plan to use this at the parents group I facilitate tomorrow evening and will be sure to quote the clever S FP that upgraded a hired a car to drive a group of S FP s in a Snowstorm.
    Enjoyable read thank you.

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