Many of us will do anything to obtain the lives we envision for ourselves. We’ll work hours into the night, sacrifice sleep, sacrifice time with friends and family and more to gain momentum in our goals and aspirations. Honestly, we should celebrate ourselves for such resilience and dedication.
But some of us want more of a mental edge over our lives. Maybe we want to become more positive or learn to react differently in life’s crucial moments.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely a spirited person yearning to enhance your mind. You might really be questioning how to think differently in order to move forward more efficiently.
Everything begins with how we think. How we think dictates how we feel and act. How we feel and act will determine what we attract.
So let’s look into some powerful techniques on how to think differently.
Wanting to change is a good start
Wanting to change will give you the humility to follow through. You’ll become willing to acknowledge that your previous thinking may have been flawed. This is a crucial, yet hard first step. It isn’t easy practicing vulnerability nor is it easy placing yourself in the position of student.
Learning how to think differently also takes support. You must be willing to ask for help and even speak with successful people about growing and changing.
Have you known any of those people? The ones who seem to not even try, yet their lives shine full of positivity and growth? What’s their secret? They learned how to think differently and use their innovative thinking to their advantage.
Recognize any conditioned brain responses
Common distortions in the way we process situations include anxious thinking, jumping to conclusions, and catastrophizing. Let’s examine these one at a time. They’re common and important to consider when learning how to think differently.
If you have anxiety and often fear for the worst, you’re not alone. Research shows it’s an integral part of human biology.
Unfortunately, this survival mechanism hasn’t caught up with rapidly-evolving, modern society. So be easy on yourself and know that it isn’t entirely your fault. It’s easy for the body’s adrenals to go haywire while under the many stressors of the modern world.
Yet know this can be fixed through deep reflection and meditation. With practice, positive thinking and momentum will become notably easier.
Jumping to Conclusions
Jumping to conclusions can fill us with negative emotions. Fixing this distortion is a matter of choosing to assume the best in any situation. Whether the situation includes someone who interacted with you angrily or cut you off on the road, you have the choice to perceive any situation through a positive lens.
By assuming the best-case-scenario, you’ll set yourself up to feel empathy, which science tells us restores human vitality.
Have you ever met someone who loves a crisis? It’s almost as if they wait for the slightest inconvenience for an excuse to dig into their anger, depression, or other emotional crutch.
These emotional explosions are a form of catastrophizing. Catastrophizing brings its sufferers on a draining emotional ride and often works in unison with anxious thinking. For example, someone experiencing this mode of faulty thinking may break down in fear of being fired after a project didn’t go as planned. Or they may explode in anger over a slight change in plans.
Honesty with oneself is key for releasing catastrophizing and other faulty thought and behavior patterns. Only then do we clear enough space in the psyche to learn how to think differently.
Thinking differently restructures our lives. As science is showing, happiness makes us successful while success alone doesn’t guarantee happiness.
So now that you understand the types of unproductive thinking, let’s run through some effective strategies for learning how to think differently to attract happiness, success, and abundance.
Focus on your physical health, especially brain health
My mentor taught me to focus on my physical health, particularly my brain health, in order to make other areas of my life healthy. It turned out to be the best advice I have ever been given.
With my health on track, everything became clearer. I began to feel empowered to be there for myself and others. My new level of energy even surprised me. Everything became more effortless.
Here are some powerful ways to bring about a healthier self.
- Eat the right food. Physicians suggest that food affects our brains and mood. Eating clean foods free of unnatural ingredients actually changes brain chemistry on a very physical level. For example, did you know that most of our serotonin is produced in the gut? A popular, growing body of research is linking gut health directly to the brain and how we feel. Here’s a rule of thumb: eat a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet high low in vegetable oils, packaged foods, and artificial sugars. Reach for avocados, leafy greens, wild blueberries, and walnuts.
- Move, but don’t stress out your body. Try to create a lifestyle around physical activity instead of spending hours in the gym. Surprising to most fitness enthusiasts, long, intense workouts can actually create stress in the body. Just aim to do plenty of walking, stretching, and other lighter forms of exercise while still completing a couple of short, intense workouts a few times a week. Also, do your exercise outdoors when possible for an extra mental health boost.
- Try fasting. Intermittent fasting is a promising method for improving cognition. Researchers believe that when our ancestors fasted, a boost in their cognition occurred to give them an extra edge over hunting and finding food. Our digestion also benefits from fasting. Our digestive enzymes usually have to focus on the food we bombard our bodies with. But when we fast, the enzymes are able to turn to our cells and clear out toxic waste. Be sure to not fast too much though. Like over-exercising, fasting often can create stress in the body. Make your fasts 12-16 hours and only do them a maximum of 2-3 times a week.
Practice innovative thinking
After recognizing your ineffective thought-patterns and building your health, it’s time to reconstruct your mind.
The key is trying to think innovatively. This can be practiced in most situations.
If you’re having trouble with your spouse, for example, try planning a date where you both sit down, have tea together, and take turns saying what you love about each other.
When work-stress is about to send you up the wall, you can decide to close your office door and meditate while feeding your mind with positive affirmations. Don’t you think this is a better solution than storming out of the room or saying something out of frustration?
Thinking differently is often about learning to respond positively rather than react negatively. In a state of negative reaction, our emotions take control. But it’s possible to heal that reactivity and become a positive responder. To respond positively, you must be willing to take a deep breath and gather yourself in order to act in a helpful manner. Responding with positivity is highly effective and leads to solutions rather than tension.
You can gain momentum quickly on this path. Being willing to do anything to achieve your goals isn’t always about working extra hard. Often it’s about changing your mind to effectively change your life. But then life gets easier!
After only a week or two of clearing your cognitive distortions, eating well, and restructuring your thinking and reactions, you’ll feel great. Your life will feel on track!
Want to find more ways to live your life to the fullest? Visit the TelMD Upstream Blog for more wellness insights!
Let’s Make Wellness Contagious!™
Jacob Lopez Wellness aficionado, traveler, and holistic ulcerative colitis warrior based in Huntington Beach.
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