What purpose are your thoughts serving you? 5 ways to check in and change them

Almost every time that I attend a yoga class, I’m asked to check in with myself on this very question. And almost every time, I am able to think about some of the daily thoughts that go through my head and nix out certain ones that aren’t serving me a healthy purpose!

Whether you want to admit it or not, there is always room for improvement when it comes to daily living and thinking.

Our thoughts have a direct impact on our actions. If you are crippled with anxiety then the results will be manifested in your daily choices. Maybe you decide not to go out to lunch with your friend because you’re worried about navigating through traffic to arrive there. Maybe you aren’t able to start on that work or school assignment because you’re experiencing paralysis by analysis.

Thoughts are very important. Examining your inner self-talk is the first way to understand what purpose those pesky negative thoughts are serving you.

1. When you wake up in the morning, check in with yourself each day.

Take a mental inventory of what is going through your mind. Are you berating yourself for eating that extra piece of pie last night? Are you worried about the lunch meeting? Identify what is going through your mind to cause the discomfort.

2. Ask yourself—what benefit am I getting from having that anxiety/negative thought about A, B, and or C?

How will that positively serve me throughout the day. Let’s think back to the person who is upset with themselves about eating the extra piece of pie. Instead of giving up on healthy eating for the day, use that feeling of angst to propel you to make healthier eating choices throughout the day. Skip out on the bread at lunch and go with a salad. Do you see what I mean? Use those negative thoughts to make positive choices.

3. Examine the self-talk.

What you tell yourself in your own mind will manifest itself daily. We all have self-talk. We all have preconceived notions about what is going to happen throughout the day—some people have the notion that ‘no one will like me’ while others may have the notion that ‘I can’t wait to see who I will be working with today, maybe I’ll meet a new friend’. If you are experiencing negative self-talk, identify what those messages are and work proactively to counteract against them. Examine where those messages have come from and consider the source.

For example, I work with many women who have come out of an abusive relationship. Some have stayed for 6 months, others for 5 years or longer. These lovely ladies have received all kinds of messages from their abusive partner that have negatively impacted their self-talk. Much of our work is identifying the negative messages that their partner has implanted in their minds and listing reasons why they are untrue, and replacing them with positive messages that are true.

Telling yourself that ‘no one will ever love me’ is essentially a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead of constantly allowing that message to pass by in your brain, replace it with ‘I love myself’ or ‘I choose to love myself’.

4. Be kind to yourself.

Some people believe that they are undeserving of receiving kindness from others, being in a healthy relationship, etc. Instead of focusing on being on the receiving ends of external kindness, start with being kind to yourself! Work from there. People are fallible. They will have good days and bad days—sometimes another person will go out of their way to be nice to you, sometimes they won’t even speak to you. The common denominator in the equation is you. If you can learn that kindness starts from within, then you will save yourself a lot of heartache that can come from depending on others to provide kindness for/to you.

5. Seek out a therapist to assist you in identifying your self-talk and where it comes from.

Therapy is what I do, so of course I believe that a skilled therapist can help a person with their self-growth exponentially. If you are still struggling with changing your self-talk and thoughts, then seek out a trusted mental health professional to help you with this process. Change can be very difficult, especially if the things that you need to change are deeply engrained in who you are as a person. The very act of talking about what ails you is healing. That release, or cathartic experience, is freeing in itself. You don’t have to do everything on your own, seek out assistance if you have noticed that your self-talk and thoughts are negatively impacting your ability to carry out activities of daily living.

Tying it all together…

I have said it before, but definition is clarity. Experiencing the aha! moments about why you are thinking and acting the way that you are is beneficial to your mental health and daily living.

Thoughts only have as much power as you allow them to.

Understanding what purpose your thoughts and self-talk are serving is the beginning of understanding what must change in order for you to be the best version of yourself that you can be.

Wishing your freedom to understand and thrive today and every day,

Rachel Ann

What are you here for? The importance of knowing your purpose

“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive,

but in finding something to live for.”

― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

What comes to mind when you are asked to define your purpose in life?

A characteristic of positive mental well-being is understanding that there is a purpose for your life. Each individual is unique and has the potential to offer valuable contributions to the world that we live in. However, many individuals get caught up in the day to day grind, ambling throughout life with a passive existence.

Finding your purpose can become muddled when we have to carry out seemingly menial tasks on a daily basis. Sometimes it can become quite difficult to not lose sight of our overarching goals, especially when we are not where we want to be—career wise, relationship wise, or with our educational endeavors. Keep in mind, every struggle that you encounter has the ability to define what your purpose in life may be. From struggles come clarity and realizations that you are able to persevere despite the odds.

Purpose can be found by overcoming weaknesses.

Purpose is so powerful that research has shown that people who have a sense of purpose actually live longer. Creating life goals creates purpose and gives us something to strive for. Purpose provides direction, giving us a sense of meaning in our lives, even when we believe that we are not where we want to be at that given moment.

Think about it. Have you ever had to work at a job that you did not like because you hadn’t finished your degree or obtained a particular license/certification that you needed to work at your ‘dream job’? When you have a sense of purpose it is easier to see the light through the trees so to speak.

Purpose drives us as human beings to improve and reach the goals that we have set for ourselves.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.”

― Robert Bryne

What is the driving force behind your daily decisions?

Purpose provides a sense of meaning in that a person is able to appreciate the hard work that goes into creating a life that you want to live. Why would doctors slave through medical school in order to become physicians? Why would a military service member risk it all to fight for our freedom or complete the rigorous training programs that are required of them?

A sense of purpose. Understanding that the end goal is more important than the immediate existence. Having a sense of purpose creates an understanding that achieving major goals does not happen overnight. Realizing that important and sacred achievements require hard work and getting through the trials of everyday existence.

Ask anyone that has achieved a difficult goal and they will tell you that they had to make sacrifices in order to get where they wanted to be. Whether it was changing eating habits to lose weight, obtaining a degree while raising a family, or saving every penny in order to purchase a home—never losing sight of your goals in life will have heavy implications for how you live. Achieving those goals will contribute to your purpose in life.

What do you love? What are you passionate about?

Develop and articulate what it is in life that really causes you to feel happy and impassioned. Through our differences in passion and interests, we as a society are able to create meaningful lives that are developed upon our own specific interests. What one person specializes in is completely different from the next, yet they each bring a value that is unique to them.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born

and the day you find out why.”

—Mark Twain

A lack of purpose in life can induce depression and anxiety. A person may begin to feel worthless, or as if they are not meaningful in the world.

Everyone is here for a reason.

Finding out what you were brought here on earth to do is one of the most freeing and exhilarating feelings—keeping that in mind can be the challenge, especially when you’re stressed and feel as if you are not making a difference the way that you want to be.

Always keep in mind the end goal that you are working to achieve.

If you’re struggling to understand the why of your existence, experiment with trying new activities. Whether it’s volunteering at an animal shelter, taking an art class, or joining a fitness club to discover your likes and dislikes—the beauty of the world that we live in is that there is an outlet for everyone to plug into.

Lean on your Higher Power for direction. Spirituality and religion have been found to increase life satisfaction, coping skills, and hope. So even after finding your purpose in life, leaning on your religious and spiritual beliefs can aid you when and if you feel discouraged.

Tying it all together…

Purpose in life helps to define who we are. Having an end goal(s) creates a life where we seek to provide meaningful contributions. As we age, our purposes will become different. As we achieve our goals, purposes will change. Seek to always set new goals and strive towards achieving the things that you want out of life.

Realize that patience and kindness to yourself go a long way. Patience in the pursuit of achieving your goals and kindness in realizing that you are trying your best. Remind yourself of your purpose daily and take the steps—no matter how big or small—to make it happen.

You are not here merely to make a living. You are here to enable the world to live

more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.

You are here to enrich the world. You impoverish yourself if you forget this errand.

Woodrow Wilson

 

Wishing you a purpose filled life today and everyday,

 

Rachel Ann

 

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/spirituality

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/having-a-sense-of-purpose-in-life-may-add-years-to-your-life.html#.WOotDoWcFPY