We Are What We Think

We Are What We Think

Last update: 28 March, 2017

To follow the success of the book We Are What We Eat, we going to present you with the psychological version: we are what we think. It’s certainly a quite suggestive title, and it invites us to learn more about the relationship between thoughts, events, and the way we define ourselves. With the cognitive resources that it has to work with, the mind has a lot of power in all this.

Our thoughts can change the way we behave, the decisions we make, and the feelings we experience. In short, they have a lot of influence over us, more so than we think.

The mind: friend or enemy?

It all depends. On what? On what you think! It’s common to think, “I’m tired, I can’t handle this anymore,” and then immediately after you feel like sleeping for three days in a row. Don’t forget that the body and brain work to please you, and the body especially tends to do this in the short term. However, it can also be like a genie in a lamp, obeying your every wish without protesting.

universe of the mind

Contrary to popular belief, our minds don’t tell us what we have to do or how we should feel. It’s quite the opposite! We are responsible for how we feel. We can’t blame the environment, politicians, the economy, or our bosses. It all resides within us. Of course, it’s much easier to find something or someone else to blame. That way, there’s no possibility of learning, changing, or improving.

It’s all in your mind

Marathons are one of the most physically and mentally demanding tests of endurance. On top of good physical preparation, they also require mental training. Why? Because as soon as the body feels like it can’t go on, the mind helps it to keep going, even if the pain is so bad afterwards that no painkiller can soothe it.

You don’t have to become a marathon runner to test this theory. Think about the times when you were about to give up due to tiredness, exhaustion, or the tedium of routine, and you told yourself “I can keep going,” or “I’m okay,” or “I will finish this.” In that moment, you probably got a second wind – that didn’t come from a cup of coffee – to finish the task and then flop on your bed to sleep for the next few hours.

You also don’t have to be the most positive person in the world and go through life seeing the glass half full in every situation. Just know that some thoughts help us, while others harm us. Stop paying attention to things that are irrelevant and focus on what really matters. If something keeps spinning through your mind, take the time to resolve it and move onto the next task.

The mind accepts things that are irrational

If you can’t sleep because your mind is a whirlwind of ideas, keep a small notebook on your nightstand and take advantage of this spark of creativity so that you can solve some of your problems. Don’t waste your energy dwelling on the bad things that happen to you. It’s better to use your time and resources to your advantage to find a solution to your problems.

Remember that not everything has to be rational. Allow a little improvisation in your life! While some things in life have a basis in logic, there are many others that are more related to emotions, feelings, and intuitions.

woman in field of flowers

Learn to live with uncertainty, even if it’s just a little. Make decisions that involve a bit of risk-taking, and view mistakes as just another part of the rules of the game. Avoid pressuring yourself and accept the fact that you’re imperfect. This will reduce your levels of fear and anxiety, and as a consequence, the amount of mistakes you make.

How to use your thoughts to your advantage

One excellent exercise that can help you reject your negative thoughts is to laugh at yourself. How absurd our thoughts can be sometimes! Seeing the funny side of things that happen to you will release a bit of the tension and help you learn to see the positive in the situation.

Do you tend to talk to yourself? Do you walk down the street arguing with yourself or talk in front of the mirror as if there were another person in the room? Don’t get tangled up in the games your mind plays with you…they’re a trap! More likely than not, these thoughts are negative, capricious, and selfish, and all they do is make you feel sad, anxious, angry, or vengeful.

If you ignore those words and focus on something else, you’ll be able to take control of your mind and prevent inertia from taking control of you. Once you’ve taken back control of the most powerful tool you have, you’ll be able to spend more cognitive resources on things that interest you so that your mind and body can feel better.

The Value of Being Optimistic

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.