Mental Health, Motivational, Philosophy

Challenging Thoughts and Reality

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Marcus Aurelius

If you think of yourself as the best thing since sliced bread, that will become your reality.

Likewise, if you think you are broken, or a failure, then in all likelihood, you will feel broken and miserable.

If you feel you have some faults but are working hard to improve them, you might also feel differently.

Individual thoughts become your reality.

If you feel the future is hopeless, it is extremely hard to find a solution.

Even if your reality is realistic and accurate, intrusive thoughts have a way of sneaking into our mental vocabulary. Ann Koplow had some great pointers to remedy those. Perhaps it is useful strategies for all of us?

Challenge Labels.  If you label yourself negatively, such as “a fool” or “a loser,” remind yourself that such absolute terms are subjective and meaningless, and that human beings are too complex to be reduced that simplistically. Also, consider the possibility that somebody else may have given you that idea about yourself, and that they were wrong.

Reality testing.  Ask people questions to find out if your thoughts and concerns are realistic or true. This is a particularly effective response to the distortion of mind-reading.

Thought stopping.  If you notice an unhelpful thought, cut it off immediately. Typical techniques include visualizing a big stop sign, saying “STOP!” to yourself, and giving yourself a sensory cue (e.g. snapping a rubber band you wear around your wrist). A “gentler” version of this is to notice an unhelpful thought and tell yourself, “That’s just a thought.”

Something to Ponder About this Sunday

34 thoughts on “Challenging Thoughts and Reality”

    1. It is common for some Aussies, at least, to be modest/ self deprecating, but self-hate can be so damaging to the spirit. The hardest thing is to make the person believe that other people don’t think the same way.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Is this the Banksia with the water behind? I have never heard of this name. Neither of Warratah nor Grevillea. As for the thoughts, yes, I believe we can decide which to nurture and which to send away. Amore here doesn’t believe that. He thinks every thought comes for a reason and doesn’t fight it. No wonder he is depressed so often.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that is the Banksia. It was named after the botanist on explorer Captain Cook’s voyage when he mapped the East coast of Australia in 1770. There is a better photo/s on this old post:
      The Warratah is a magnificent flower. The many Grevillea don’t live more than about 6- 7 years but are structurally amazing too.
      As for thoughts, I like that Amore doesn’t fight the thoughts, and that there may be a reason behind them but can he be seeing the glass only half full as his reason?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yes, I googled them, truly magnificent, especially Warratah. He is an interesting mix. As an Italian he is an extreme and excessive optimist. And then sometimes everything is baaad. Drama. And then he gets angry because he is convinced that it’s better to be angry than sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This is why I love so much to read your posts, dear Amanda! Yes, I truly believe that the energy of our thoughts greatly influences both ourselves and our surroundings. We do indeed live in the world of our own creation…
    I have been reading John Kehoe recently, and Ann Koplow’s advice is in many ways an amazing reflection of his. 🙂
    Wishing you a most beautiful and light-filled reality, my friend! May your good wishes always come true! 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your beautiful wishes, Elena. It is so nuce to hear from you.The author you have been reading sounds intriguing and practical, especially if the advice is similar to Ann Koplow’s.
      How did you get on with the Danish lessons/exam?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good morning, dear Amanda! It is so nice of you to remember!! 🙂 🙂
        Yes, it went really well with the examination. But I don’t have a citizenship yet – the bureaucratic paperwork required is a nightmare. They want *all* our travels – including one-day shopping excursions – with dates and destination and reason, for the last 12 years! No exceptions allowed! Hope to get that sorted out over Summer though 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Who knows?? I mean, if they were looking for anything, I guess it could actually make sense… maybe. But honestly, I think they are just trying to discourage applicants…
            The official explanation, such as it is, is that applicants have to be resident for, if I remember it right, “at least 9 months out of every 12”. Or something like that.
            But at least it gives me an excuse to go through our vacation photos … 😉 😀

            Liked by 1 person

    1. They are important, Lisa. Although trying to convince someone with entrenched negative views is difficult. It us not theur fault however, it is the well worn neural pathways of the brain that are difficult to overcome.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It is worth taking, for sure, Paul. I do think we need to actively refuse to let our minds wander into negative territory. We need to train them to follow positive pathways or at least encourage these brains to do that, for our own contentment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I am glad these words were uplifting for you, Francis. We can all did with a mental pep up at times. I find it helps to read a different perspective when one’s mind is in a negative whirl.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great positive info. Love the photos. I like to achieve something in a day, either a small task or a big one, even getting out of bed can be an achievement. I like the stop sign visualisation, my vis is the road runner sneaking up behind me, meep meep, it puts a smile on my face thinking about it. Not always great for my, ptsd, haha. I have friends who are completely honest with me I don’t have to ask, they know me. Have a great rest of the week.


    1. The road runner! That brings back memories of black and white TV on a Saturday night in the sixties. The Stop sign can be helpful in breaking the cycle of recurring thoughts, as can mindfulness and the stream analogy, which I find useful. The Banksia photo is from Stradbroke Island and the featured image from Japan. I am glad you liked them. Cheers, Amanda

      Liked by 1 person

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