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It Matters How You Think

Updated on January 16, 2012

Our Thinking Habits Affect the Quality of Our Lives. HOW You Think About Things Matters.

There are effective ways to think about things, and ineffective ways. Using the ineffective ways (bad thinking habits) gets us into all kinds of mental and emotional turmoil. The purpose of this lens is awareness of negative thinking habits that diminish the quality of our lives.

If your thinking is more effective you will feel better and experience more joy in life. It works.

All text in blue boxes are by Lynne McTaggart.

Ineffective Thinking (or distorted thinking)

is thinking in a way that changes reality to fit your memories, beliefs, and fears.

1. Over Generalization - sometimes called Catastrophic Thinking


The Titanic sinking was a disaster, but it never signified that all ships sink.

One painful relationship break-up does not reveal a never-ending pattern of disappointment. One bad grade does not mean you ALWAYS have gotten, or will get, bad grades. One foot-in-the-mouth doesn't indicate eternal stupidity (only momentary stupidity).

2. Mental Filter or Filtering - Don't throw out the baby with the bath water!


Filters are generally used to keep undesirable things out while letting desirable parts flow through. But a mental filter distorts things. It picks out one aspect of a situation or person, blinding you to all other aspects.

If you play a piano piece in a recital, and make one mistake, and afterward focus only on the mistake, change your filter!

Thought Is Powerful

A vast body of research exploring the nature of consciousness . . . shows that thoughts are capable of affecting everything from the simplest machines to the most complex living beings.

3. Magnifying & Minimizing - sometimes called The Binocular Trick


Magnify: to see things bigger than they really are. Inflating something out of proportion.

Minimize: to see things smaller than they really are.

Negative results, or difficult problems, often appear larger than they are. Diminishing (disqualifying) positive personal qualities and experiences can make you feel smaller than you are.

A traffic ticket is not the end of the world. One tiny step toward a goal is a step that needs to be taken.

4. All or Nothing - Also known as Black & White Thinking


What makes the picture above? The white or the black? Of course, there would be no picture without both. Not to mention all the shades of gray in between the two poles.

If you see, or believe, something can be ONLY one of two extremes, you're engaging in all or nothing thinking.

It sounds like this: "I always flub-up when things are going well." "You are always right." "Every time I plan a picnic, it gets cloudy." "Nobody likes me." "Everybody likes me."

Bad Thinking Habits

become automatic over time and need to be examined

5. Disqualifying the Positive - also called Discounting the Positive


Umpires give the thumb to ball players that are "out." Certain things disqualify a player in a baseball game.

In the game of life, we too often disqualify positive evidence about our self or our performance. A game can't be played using only disqualifications.

On the Bookshelf

6. Labeling - Don't point that label gun at me!


Labels are good for differentiating things. They help us organize and keep track of our stuff.

But all too often when we label something or someone, all we see thereafter is the label, not what's "inside" or currently true.

He's dumb. She's a bimbo. I'm a screw-up. That narrows people and things down to one word and will color all our future perceptions of them.

Give first impressions a second, fresh look. Its also healthy to question the labels plastered on you by yourself or others.

Quantum = A Tiny Bit

Living things engage in a constant two-way flow of quantum information with their environment.

Human beings are both receivers and transmitters of quantum signals.

7. Mind Reading - How do you see yourself?


Do you assume the worst about what other people think of you?

If you automatically assume people think ill of you, you are "mind reading" without being psychic. What we automatically believe people are thinking about us is really our own belief about our self.

What others think of you is none of your business!

8. Fortune Telling - Look into the crystal ball


Some people are good at reading the future. Most of use are not.

If you automatically ASSUME you know what is going to happen because it "always" happens that way, you are a quack fortune teller feeding yourself false information.

(On the other hand, it is true that if you always do things the same way, you will give yourself what you've already gotten.)

Your Vibes

At the nethermost level of reality - the realm of the quantum particle - we are not separate 'things' but vibrating energy connected by a vast quantum energy field.

Even large matter in the universe exists in a web of dynamic interrelationship and constant influence.

9. Should-ing - Don't "should" all over yourself!


There's a reason why people say "hind-sight is 20/20." Because it is. You can always see after-the-fact what you, or someone else, SHOULD have done or said. Duh!

SHOULD-ing is like trying to drive a car forward with your eyes glued to the rear view mirror. I don't think they teach that in driver's ed.

10. Blame / Personalization - Are you lookin' at me?


Pointing at yourself every time something goes wrong is a bad habit. So is pointing at someone else, if the responsibility is yours.

Feeling as if you've done something wrong does not mean you have done something wrong.

Blaming others does not fool anyone, except maybe yourself.

A little humor . . . hope you don't MIND

A little humor . . . hope you don't MIND
A little humor . . . hope you don't MIND

Ineffective (Distorted) Thoughts

feel like truth, even though they're not.

Thoughts Are Powerful

PLACEBO RESPONSES STEM FROM ACTIVE BRAIN PROCESSES

The latest research has shown that the placebo effect does not always arise from a conscious belief in a drug. Alternatively, it may grow out of subconscious associations between recovery and the experience of being treated, from the pinch of a shot to a doctor's white coat. Such subliminal conditioning can control bodily processes, including immune responses and the release of hormones. Meanwhile researchers have decoded some of the biology of placebo responses, demonstrating that they stem from active processes in the brain. (from Scientific American, by Britt-Maj Neimi)

Its All In Your Head

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

~ Norman Vincent Peale ~

If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.

~ Henry Ford ~

In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.

~ John Lilly ~

The most powerful thing you can do to change the world, is to change your own beliefs about the nature of life, people, reality, to something more positive.

~ Shakti Gawain ~

The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of Hell, and a hell of Heaven.

~ JohnM Milton ~

The last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude

in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.

~ Victor Frankl ~

Watch your thoughts; they become words.

Watch your words; they become actions.

Watch your actions; they become habits.

Watch your habits; they become character.

Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

~ Frank Outlaw ~

Not Grandpa's Science

We can no longer view ourselves as isolated from our environment and our thoughts the private, self-contained workings of an individual brain.

As observers and creators, we are constantly remaking our world at every instant. Every thought we have . . . is having an effect.

Feedback Welcome!

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    • monarch13 profile image

      monarch13 8 years ago

      Great information and tips on creating healthy habits for the mind. 5 stars and rolled to "Healthy Habits Guide"

    • Surreymagic profile image

      Surreymagic 8 years ago

      Really nice lens- CBT explained in easy to understand terms. What's wonderful about cognitive behavioral therapy is it's simplicity, directness and effectiveness.

    • Davidfstillwagon profile image

      Davidfstillwagon 8 years ago

      Very thought provoking and useful lens!

      I'll give it a 5

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      wow!!! this is a really excellent lens. thanks for the shift in perspective. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Jacqueline, this is a terrific lens! I love how you address not just WHAT we think, but HOW we think. sooooooo important!

      Please take a moment to submit this lens to Empowerment & Enlightenment

    • JakTraks profile image
      Author

      Jacqueline Marshall 7 years ago from Chicago area

      [in reply to jacquelinestone] Thank you, and I did!

    • profile image

      AndreaJJ 7 years ago

      A useful lens with a different way of looking at thinking. I especially like the "should-ing".

    • profile image

      grannysage 7 years ago

      Excellent lens! Your illustrations really help get the point across. Lensrolling to my Words Have Power lens.

    • profile image

      Beas 6 years ago

      These are some extremely valuable insights!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you! ~ This has helped me today, because I have been stressed due my laptop taking a dive last night. I've been trying to wrap my mind around more time effective work, and been in a bit of a panic this morning. You talked me down, and reminded me of what I already know to do, just gotta do it and all will be well. You have some awesome reading material here, and I would recommend them to everyone. ~ Very good!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      RuthCoffee 6 years ago

      It's easy to slip into some of those negative thinking patterns. It's kind of like smiling and laughing though, if you force yourself to smile and laugh pretty soon you start to feel like you want to smile and laugh. Same with more open and positive thoughts. Sometimes I think we stereotype and label people, think in terms of all or nothing and so forth because we don't want to think too hard, it's easier to just know the answers than to be temporarily confused.

    • HealthBug LM profile image

      HealthBug LM 6 years ago

      Its an excellent lens on thinking, I liked the technical explanation with illustration. I myself believe in thoughts and the way they effect our life which we don't even realize. 5*

    • HealthBug LM profile image

      HealthBug LM 6 years ago

      Its an excellent lens on thinking, I liked the technical explanation with illustration. I myself believe in thoughts and the way they effect our life which we don't even realize. 5*

    • mom-247 profile image

      mom-247 6 years ago

      Interesting page. My husband is prone to negative thinking and is constantly reading books about how to changing his thought habits. As somebody who likes what she thinks and generally thinks in a positive way it is sometimes hard to understand how he has go into this pattern but this helps to spell it out. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Goodpal 6 years ago

      A truly wonderful lens emphasizing the power of thoughts. It is something most people understand but fail to put into practice. Thanks for great ideas.

    • mywebcontent profile image

      mywebcontent 6 years ago

      This is a good lens that takes a complex and huge topic and breaks it down into concepts that can be easily followed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Some very interesting information, thank you!

    • kwj profile image

      kwj 6 years ago

      Makes you recognise the bad habits you can sometimes have. Very interesting.

    • avorodisa lm profile image

      avorodisa lm 5 years ago

      Very interesting! What about good thinking habits?

    • profile image

      PeaceLoveHarmony 5 years ago

      Great job of providing an easy-to-understand summary of some our most common thinking flaws. Thanks for the info!

    • profile image

      dirkthedog 5 years ago

      Thanks for the ideas. My coping mechanism has been to just stay too busy to let my brain wander where it doesn't belong!!

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 5 years ago

      thought provoking...and I bet that is the dsired effect.

    • kimark421 profile image

      kimark421 5 years ago

      I have been known to be a quack fortune teller from time to time, and I have to bring myself back into the present. Meditation and talking to myself usually takes care of it.

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      PerCeptionNimaGinatIoN 5 years ago

      I loved the way you presented it!!! I wrote something like this when i read a book. Do let me know what you think. Here is my post : http://www.squidoo.com/i-can-think-i-can-wait-and-...

    • mgs249 profile image

      mgs249 5 years ago

      The "should" module made a lot of sense to me. I'm going to work on that. I tend to "over should". Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You really demonstrate that happiness and satisfaction depends on getting control of your thought life. Great stuff.

    • profile image

      iMorpheus 5 years ago

      Great lens. A quick reference for "cognitive distortions" :-)

    • profile image

      Pressure-Cooker 5 years ago

      Labeling is sooo true, negative or positive. We have to be careful to see if someone else has labeled you. I once had a doctor that labeled me and it did not matter what was wrong with me, it was always the same.

    • youthministry profile image

      Paul Turner 4 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      Realt good lens. How we think determines and explains quite a bit about we live.

    • GregKuhn profile image

      GregKuhn 4 years ago

      Once again, Jaktracks, kudos to you! We do not see what we want, we see who we are. And there are as many universes as observers (and, as I'm sure you already know, that is literally true - not a "feel good philosophy). Thanks again!

    • cbjones profile image

      cbjones 4 years ago

      I used to rely on mind reading, maximizing, should ofs, and other thought patterns. It only served to make my life miserable. Changing my outlook on the world turned out to the the only way for me to start enjoying life, and getting things done.

    • SusanAston profile image

      SusanAston 3 years ago

      Very though provoking lens - thank you.

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