7 Reasons Why Thought Work Will Change Your Life

Thought work

My therapist had brought up the term “thought work” many times before I finally had the courage (and space) to ask her what it meant. Once I decided to dive deeper into the subject and do my own research, my entire mindset began to shift for the better.  

That’s why today I decided to share everything I have learned about thought work so that it hopefully can help you as well. 

What Does Thought Work Mean? 

Thought work has two parts. The first part is becoming aware of our thoughts, and the second part is learning to control them. 

The theory of thought work can sound intimidating, or like it is something straight out of Star Wars, you know with all the Jedi Mind Tricks going on. In a way, you could say it is like mind control, but the only mind we are working on controlling is our own. 

Many of us know what we are normally thinking. We know when we are stressed or are running through our mental to-do list or figuring out how to solve the latest problem that has popped up. But most of us do so automatically, we don’t really give our own thoughts our full focus and attention. 

The reason that we do that is because it takes so much time and effort to really be mindful of our thoughts. Our brains like to run on autopilot, and in doing so they become more efficient.  

Why Is Thought Work Some Of The Most Important Work You Can Do? 

Thought work is essential because once you understand your own thoughts and how they control every aspect of your life, you are better able to control them. 

Thought work puts you back in the driver’s seat and it gives you back ownership over your own life. 

What Are Some Signs That You Need Thought Work 

Thought work could be beneficial to you if you are: 

  • Unhappy 
  • Burned out 
  • Sad 
  • Feeling stuck in your life 
  • Stressed
  • Not living the life that you want

thought work quote 7 Reasons Why Thought Work Will Change Your Life

The Main Five Principles of Thought Work 

The foundation of thought work has five main principles. They are: 

1. You are not your thoughts

There is a separation that needs to happen before you can fully embrace thought work, and that is the realization that your thoughts are something you do, not who you are.  

Read that again. 

Good people can think bad, or intrusive thoughts sometimes, just like bad people can think good and positive thoughts. Those thoughts don’t equal the sum of who you are as a human being. 

This principle alone can be incredibly freeing. Sometimes we often feel guilty, or like something is wrong with us, for thinking a certain way, or for an errant thought that scampers across our mind.  

Thoughts happen, and sometimes we aren’t even aware of them until they are already happening. 

2. You can choose what thoughts to accept

Sometimes we just accept our current stream of thoughts without digging any deeper. However, just because you think something doesn’t make that thing true.  

And that thought might be true, but does that thought benefit you?  

What if I told you that you could choose to only focus on the thoughts that added value to your life instead of the ones that removed value and caused you more stress and upset? 

Everything that we think, gets filtered through us first. We depend on things like our senses and our own observations when it comes to interpreting the world around us. We also have our own history, biases, and preconceptions.  

But that isn’t how the rest of the world may be interpreting the same information or even the same experience.  

What if many of the things that made us upset, or that we get worked up about were just how we chose to interpret a situation that was happening.  

Have you ever had an experience with multiple people, but you were the only one that reacted in a certain way? It could be something your boss said, the tone of an email, or the way a family member posted something on social media. But you were the only one who reacted in anger, or hurt, or frustration. Have you ever stopped to think about why that is? 

It’s because everyone interprets things in different ways.

3. How you feel is controlled by how you think

Many people believe that their feelings run the show, and that forms how they think about the situation. For example, if something makes you sad, then obviously you will be thinking sad thoughts. Or if you feel happy then your thoughts will be happy.  

One of the principles of thought work, however, is that your thoughts about what is happening around you, or to you, actually form your emotions—not the other way around. 

So when something is happening, how you choose to think about that situation, and how you interpret what is happening will then form your feelings about it.  

For example, if your husband forgets to take out the garbage again, you could think something like: “This is so annoying. I’ve asked him to do this one little thing a million times, and he can’t seem to remember it?” And your feelings will follow suit. You will probably be feeling annoyed and frustrated by your husband’s lack of action.  

But if your thoughts on the same situation are: “That is weird. He normally is on top of things like this. I wonder if he is overwhelmed, or if something distracted him?” Your emotions are more likely to be curious, and maybe even prompt you to search for more information before reacting.  

4. Being mindful of your thoughts can change everything

Simply making the shift from ignoring your thoughts, or considering your thoughts as background noise, and making a conscious effort to pay more attention to them and consider what you are thinking can give you space from any negative emotions or experiences.  

Getting some distance from your thoughts, and taking control of them can help you make better decisions that are based on information and logic instead of emotion. 

5. You get to choose how you respond to your thoughts

Knowing that it is our thoughts that form our emotions, means that our thoughts also affect how we react.  

So by controlling your thoughts, you are also able to control your reaction, and any of the repercussions that may happen based on how you react to something. 

Instead of blindly reacting to a situation and lashing out, if you are able to really think about something first, you are able to retain power in any situation. 

What Are The Benefits Of Thought Work?

There are many benefits of thought work, but the main ones are:

  • Increased happiness 
  • Decreased stress 
  • Better decision making 
  • It helps you take action 
  • Enables you to better process your emotions 
  • Better sense of self-awareness 
  • Gives you the ability to shift your thoughts to more positive ones 

quotes about Thought Work

How can you start using thought work right now?

1. Focus on your thoughts as they are happening 

What are you thinking in this exact moment? Why? What is currently happening around you?  

By becoming more mindful and anchoring yourself in the moment, you will be better able to examine your thoughts.  

2. Use grounding techniques to help you 

Have you heard of grounding techniques before? Grounding techniques help to ground you in that present moment and are a tool to help you be more mindful.  

One of the most popular ones is to use your senses to help bring you back to this moment. By focusing on the things you can see, touch, feel, and taste, it helps to pull you away from your own mind. 

Grounding techniques provide you with space from your own feelings so you will be in a better place to be able to observe them.  

3. Closely examine your thoughts 

Are your thoughts coming from a place of emotion, or are they coming from a place of fact? If you fully removed yourself from the situation and it wasn’t directly happening to you would you still feel the same way? Is there anything that is preventing you from examining a situation with a clear point of view? 

4. Ask yourself some questions 

One of the biggest questions you can ask yourself is do your thoughts serve you? Are those thoughts helping you to grow? Become happier? Healthier? Or are you self-sabotaging? Are you trying to be perfect (which isn’t possible)? Are you participating in negative self-talk? 

Thought work helps you realize that thoughts aren’t something that just happens to you. You control your own thoughts. So you are capable of doing the next step. 

5. Reframe your thoughts 

After participating in the previous step you might realize you have some thoughts that you don’t want to keep thinking anymore. You can change those thoughts or shift those thought patterns all on your own.  

You can choose to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.  

All those thoughts that used to keep you up at night, or used to torment you, can disappear with practice, you just have to do the work and put in the effort. 

Final Thoughts On Thought Work… 

There is something extremely empowering about realizing that we have the power to change our whole reality and reframe the way we think with our minds and some willpower.  

I have heard the saying we are only one thought away from a completely different life, and that is something I truly believe.  

We have the potential to do anything that we want in our lives. To fix any problem. To make any dream happen. We just need the tools, knowledge, and resources to figure out how to do it, and thought work can help with that. 

Take care of yourself.

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