The Power of our Thoughts: How Our Thoughts Can Impact Our Mental and Emotional Well-Being

Did you know that negative emotions are often caused by our negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves, the world around us, and other people. Every single one of us has thought these things at some point, but have you ever wondered - where do these thoughts even come from?

And why does focusing on negativity make us feel so bad? Could it be our thoughts about events that have occurred in our lives causing us to feel this way?

The answer to these questions is YES – our thoughts do have the power to impact our mental and emotional well-being, and they can even have an impact on our physical health if we allow them to negatively consume us.

Image: Mindful colouring (free to download) 

Being Mindful

Learning to be mindful has been a life-changing skill. For me, being mindful means living in the present moment instead of letting my thoughts travel down paths that do not lead to joy or contentment – triggering anxiety, fear, and sadness and overwhelm. Who wants that???

It's a continuous practice, but as with any other skill, it takes practice to get better at it.

Mindfulness also helps me when I'm feeling frustrated or angry with someone because I'm able to step back from my initial reactions and not act impulsively out of anger. Instead, I take a deep breath and remind myself of how important this person is to me - even if they are driving me crazy at the moment.

Once you have that realization, everything else changes! You can choose to respond differently knowing your love for them is greater than whatever annoyance you're experiencing. In those moments, mindfulness offers an alternative perspective so you can make a different choice about how to respond next time.

Positive Thinking

It is possible to change your thoughts so that you feel more confident, in control, calm and happy. The key is focusing on the thoughts that make you feel good – take a break from those that do not, get rid of them altogether. How does that sound?  

Keeping positive thoughts at front of mind can change the energy in your body, release the negative hormones cortisol and adrenalin, lower blood pressure, boost immunity system function, and create greater brain activity.

Here are some ways to maintain positive thinking throughout your day

1) Positive self-talk: Reframe your thoughts by saying

  • I am strong instead of I am weak.
  • Saying affirmations out loud or writing them down helps them stick.

2) Take time for yourself to exercise or read something uplifting before getting out of bed in the morning.

3) Keep a gratitude journal and write at least three things you're grateful for each day.

4) Change your perspective by looking at an old problem with new eyes. What would have made it better? Ask yourself how this could be resolved differently next time so it won't happen again.

Negative Thinking

Negative thinking involves thoughts that focus on something being bad, not good enough, or in some way not what you want. Many people think these thoughts during the day. For example, someone might think I can't afford this when looking at an item in a store window.

These types of thoughts may be experienced as negative because they create a feeling that something is wrong with our situation. When negative thoughts are constant over time they can have an effect on your mental and emotional well-being. That’s why it’s important to learn how to switch them to positive ones by focusing on something else.

It may take practice but it is possible! The first step would be identifying the thoughts that are triggering and replacing them with more positive ones. Start small and work up to thoughts that at first may seem out of reach or overwhelming.

For example:

  • I keep thinking I am not enough
  • I am looking forward to thinking I am enough
  • I keep thinking I can’t ….
  • I am looking forward to ….
  • I am feeling…. and know I can take care of myself through this process

To do this, we could try saying STOP out loud after every thought which reminds us of its frequency. Next, we could challenge ourselves to find two positives about each situation instead of just focusing on the negatives. Perhaps start with what is fact so you can differentiate from the thought and the feelings and energy attached to them.

Finally, we could use affirmations like

I am strong because …..

I am happy because…..

I look for reasons to feel good. This includes…..

Good riddance to decisions that don’t support, my self-care, self-value and self-worth

Which will replace negative words with more positive ones in our mind and leave us feeling better about ourselves overall!

Changing Negative Thinking Patterns

Most of us have been taught to live with a certain degree of fear. We go through life with the belief that life is dangerous, something could always go wrong, or we are all susceptible to some type of harm. This way of thinking not only leads to increased feelings anxiety and stress, but it also takes up space in our minds.

When we stop allowing fear to drive what occupies space in our minds and instead choose gratitude, there is a significant shift in how we feel physically as well as mentally. Research has shown that people who identify gratitude as an important part of their lives experience higher levels of happiness and well-being on average than those who do not incorporate gratitude into their lives.

Image: Affirmations (free to download) 

Positive Affirmations

Opportunities to be grateful can be in the everyday, such as when you take a sip of your morning cuppa or someone tells you a funny joke. They can also be more grandiose, like when your family member sacrifices for you, or there is an act of kindness from a stranger.

Either way, it's beneficial to find ways to be grateful every day because that means that you are living in a state of appreciation, which has been proven to help foster positive feelings like happiness and gratitude. In other words, being grateful gives your mental health the biggest boost!

Finding Opportunities for Gratitude

It's all too easy to get into a habit of being negative about the things going on in your life, which can lead to greater feelings of depression. I know for me that felt heavy, suffocating and overwhelming at times.

Some ways to start refocusing your thoughts include taking time for gratitude; reflecting on how good it feels when others care about you or how great it is when everything is going well; and focusing on what you're grateful for instead of what's not working. Also taking the time to acknowledge what you already have in your life that means something to you. For me this is always stemmed in gratitude for my health, support tribe around me, steady income to live the life I enjoy, and a home that provides me comfort, security and joy.

These little exercises may seem insignificant at first, however they can have a lasting impact on your moods. Practicing these skills for just five minutes each day has been shown to lower anxiety levels, increase happiness levels, and make people feel more satisfied with their lives overall.

Can you make some time in your day today to start?

Final Words

While we cannot control all the thoughts that come into our minds, what we can do is let go of the judgment and the influence it has on our moods and energy levels.

Use your thoughts to bring you love, peace, and happiness rather than fear, anger, or self-judgment.

By incorporating this practice into your everyday, you will notice an increase in overall positivity in your life (thoughts, feelings and decisions).

There are many different techniques for doing this including mindfulness meditation, gratitude journaling, setting intentions at the start of each day/workday etc. Find what works best for you.

I would love to hear what you thought of this month’s blog and what resonated most with you. To share, feel free to post on our socials on Instagram and Facebook or reply email.

Can’t wait to hear from you x

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