A few weeks ago, I started a Podcast called ‘Truth Serum’. The objective is to help people understand how they can manage their mental health, practice emotional hygiene and modify behavior to improve their quality of life. This, off course would also make them more productive. I decided to start with what I believe is the foundation for mental health; Thoughts & The thought life. In this case, limiting thinking styles or thinking errors. By this I mean ways of thinking that limit us and which in fact, can be very dangerous. So, for two weeks I talked about the following twelve thinking styles or thinking errors:
1. Fortune telling
3. Mental Filtering
4. Demand thinking
5. Mind Reading
6. All or nothing thinking
7. Emotional reasoning
9. Personalization and blaming
11. Awfulizing and Catastrophizing
12. Discounting the positive
I find it very interesting that most of us think thoughts ‘just happen’ to us. Newsflash; WE are the ones doing the thinking. Therein lies the good news too; we can also be the ones to not think those thoughts or the ones who are thinking the new, better thoughts. Actually, we are naturally endowed with this power.
This made me think about COVID-19 and how it affects the human immune system, and how we can beat the virus when our immune system is strong or not compromised ‘due to an underlying health condition’. Thoughts and thinking styles are the equivalent of the ‘immune system for your mental health’. Anybody who has any of the thinking errors listed above is compromised- how? their mental health is compromised because these thinking styles have become the ‘underlying condition’ that make them more prone to depression, suicidal thoughts, giving up on their dreams, unable to innovate, trouble in relationships, living a life of defeat etc. A depressed person with one or more of these thinking styles would find it much harder to overcome depression. A crisis, sudden adverse turn of events in life happens and the thinking error is an underlying (existing) condition that makes it difficult to recover. Like in the instance of COVID-19, if your immune system is strong you will pull through: so too, if your thinking style is better/different, you will pull through or overcome that adverse situation. Thinking errors can make life a hard experience.
This is why it is so important to be aware of how you think and what you think, in other words - your thinking style and the thinking errors in them. Then, purposely choose to do something about them. A healthy ‘mental immune system’ is a must have, and it comes down to thoughts and thinking styles: this is where the rubber meets the road.
5 Far Reaching Effects of Changing Your Limiting Thinking Styles or Thinking Errors:
1. It will boost your mental immune system: Your mental immune system is better able to handle life and any curve balls life throws your way. Think of this like having a top-notch immune system that can handle any disease; wouldn’t that be great? Everyday can actually feel good and it is not about lying to yourself. It is your reality.
2. Beating the odds: With a great mental immune system you become one of those people who usually ‘beat the odds’, overcoming stuff that would usually take other people out and finish them off. You become an inspiration.
3. Live a more fulfilling life: Not held down by emotional weights and mental baggage, you can really allow life in, living fully present in the moment and embracing opportunities.
4. Achieve more: A great mental immune system is fantastic for your vision and frees you to see your handicaps or obstacles as stepping stones so that you achieve more in life.
5. Speaking into the future and leaving a legacy: You are better able to leave a lasting legacy because your own ‘light’ gives others permission to shine. It encourages them to. You open the door for others to be more (think; children learn from you, what do you want them to learn?) if your children learn to be better because you choose to be different, then you have spoken far into the future; they will teach their own children to be better and it goes on down the line until it’s a brand new, better family (and society) and it all started with you. Long after you are gone, your influence lives on in powerful, enabling ways, just because you changed a thinking style today.
To change your thinking style, practice must become a habit. A habit is something that happens as a result of repeated and regular use. To change thinking styles, you must be a doer not a hearer or reader only and you can start to build your mental immune system today, by ‘choosing and washing or sanitizing’ your thoughts to rid them of bacteria and viruses. You can treat your thoughts and ideas as if you are taking your tablets of vitamin C to guard against CORONAVIRUS; think sunny, positive thoughts purposely and regularly not sporadically. You can deliberately seek out and ‘eat/consume’ fresh, healthy, organic mental diet that is not somebody’s leftover, societal/cultural conditioning or processed old thinking that is the equivalent of junk food. We can liken the ability to challenge and rearrange our thinking to the preparation that goes into the thorough cooking of meals and then deciding if the food/ thought/idea is okay and ready/fit to ‘eat/consume/assimilate.
We can all choose to become more aware of our thinking styles and our thinking errors. This one thing, is definitely worth doing. We all deserve better.