Do you ever stop your train of thoughts, that “mini-me” that talks to you constantly, or the “black and white angels” sitting on your shoulders commenting on everything that happens throughout your day? My guess is, probably not. We never really question the thousands of thoughts that pass through our minds on a daily basis. These can be nice thoughts such as “what a lovely day” or “I’m feeling great today”, to not so nice thoughts such as “I’m fat” or “people are annoying”.
Our thoughts very much influence how we feel and behave.
If you’ve ever experienced a Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT) session, chances are you have been over this thought-emotions-behaviour paradigm plenty of times. Let me explain...
Imagine you are walking down the street at night. It’s dark, it’s quiet, and there are not a lot of people outside. All of a sudden you hear a noise. What do you do?
If you were having happy thoughts ... you would most likely thing “that’s a cat” and keep walking.
If you were having unhappy thoughts ... you would probably get freaked out, think that someone is walking behind you, and start running.
The exact same scenario, but two different behaviours and emotions fuelled by thoughts.
Thoughts are super powerful!
Reading the above, how do you think your thoughts will influence your behaviour on a bad day? You got it! No motivation, you don’t want to talk to anyone, you’d rather stay indoors and watch movies all day.
In any kind of situation, you always have a choice. In this case, when you are having a bad day, you have the choice to keep having a bad day and going along with your unhappy thoughts. I’m assuming this will lead to some guilty thoughts, whereby you tell yourself that you should be doing something, or wondering why you can’t seem to get out of this vicious cycle of negative thinking.
The other choice you have is to do something about your mood. Read: do something about your thinking. Instead of thinking “I should be going to the gym” or “I should be getting groceries”, think “I choose to go to the gym / buy groceries”. By changing this tiny word in your thinking, you just went from a potential guilt trip for failing what you feel you should be doing, to setting yourself up for success. If you choose to do something, you will do it, because it is your choice.
You can also choose to get motivated
Don’t wait for motivation to give you a positive boost. You might be waiting for a long time! Choose to change your thinking, and see how this motivates you to do something that will make you feel great!
Try it out, or rather “choose” to give it a try.
Marleen Filimon is a FirePower CrossFit member and Registered Psychotherapist with her own practice in Burlington, Ontario. She works with teens, tweens, and adults with anxiety/panic, stress & trauma, PTSD, relationship issues, low self-esteem, stress, procrastination, grief, anger, depression, and peer relationships. She also specializes in Emergency Responders. Find her at Private Matters Psychotherapy