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Take control of your thoughts

Take control of your thoughts

Learning & Development

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

21 Aug 2020, 13:30 — 5 min read

One way I like to spend my weekend these days is to watch some movie or serial. Mostly, I watch mystery or investigation kind of movies or programmes. A habit of mine (I am not going to say good or bad because it does not matter) is to analyse the movies afterwards. I reflect back thinking that the main character could have done this or that, and at times I get upset about the way things emerged. My family members who have seen the same movie would have different perspectives, and we end up discussing it. Later on when I am alone, and while reflecting on the movie, the discussion and the conclusions one thing that struck me is that all of us saw the same movie, yet each one of us interpreted things in our own way and had different reactions to it.

 

If you think about it, this is true in every walk of life. We all get to witness the same events, read the same news, at times talk to the same person and yet have different reactions. Here is another example where two students write an exam. On the day of results, both realise they have failed in one paper. One of them dismisses it off and goes for a movie while the other one feels bad and commits suicide. What makes these reactions different?

 

different moods by different thougths

 

The thing that I emphasise is that every event triggers a specific thought in us. This thought gives rise to a feeling which in turn influences our behaviour.  

 

Events ---> Thinking ------->Feeling -----> Behaviour -----> Outcome

 

The reason we experience these events and interpret them with our own meanings (and the reason why it is different for different people) is that we understand these events based on our thoughts that get triggered as soon as we encounter the event. 

 

Changing your thoughts and your feelings and behaviour can lead to change. As an example, when your manager gives feedback to improve your performance, if your thought is “my manager is out to get me” then you may feel angry at your manager and may choose to reject the feedback or act out your anger. On the other hand, if your thought is “my manager is trying to help me improve my performance”, then you may feel happy about it eager to understand more and see how to improve. 

different thoughts running in our mind

Most often than not, these thoughts are so spontaneous that we may not realise they exist. So then how can you control such thoughts?

 

A simple way is to start listening to your thoughts. This is only the first step, and it takes time to practice and start identifying the thoughts. Having a journal helps.

 

Here are three simple things that you can do as part of your journal.

  • Note down the events of the day (especially the ones that had a significant impact on you)
  • Write down what you felt in response to that event. Keep probing yourself until you can identify your feelings.
  • Write down all the thoughts that you had before the feeling. This could take time since some of these thoughts are there for a few seconds.

 

As an example, take the feedback session I mentioned earlier. 

Event

Feelings

Thoughts

Behaviour

The manager gave feedback based on performance

Anger

Fear

  • The manager is unhappy.
  • He is biased
  • He wants to let me go
  • I don’t have anything to bank on
  • I have too many commitments

I act out my anger and reject the feedback. I blame the manager for lack of support. I go home and express my frustration at others.

 

Maintain this journal for a few weeks and see what the kind of pattern emerges is. This will help in unravelling the underlying beliefs that we may have about who we are, who others are and how the world is. Understanding this information helps us to address the limiting beliefs and improving our self-esteem.

 

Also read: ‘I’ in communication

 

To explore business opportunities, link with me by clicking on the 'Connect' button on my eBiz Card.

 

Image source: freepik.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views, official policy or position of GlobalLinker.

Posted by

Gopalakrishnan Subramanian

As a Corporate Coach, Counsellor, Hypnotherapist, Organization Development Consultant, Behavioral Analyst, I help individuals and organizations to understand their potential and...

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