Have you ever just stopped and wondered about how your life came to be the way it is?
For better or worse, the life we have is a running tally of all the decisions that we have made up to this point. Some of those decisions may have been out of your control, but the result is still the same. Your life is your life.
The question is, are you happy with your current path? If not, can your life path be changed? Is it even possible to change your life?
The proverbial mid-life crisis is no longer exclusive to the over 40 crowds but is beginning to introduce itself decades earlier to people who are trying to find greater meaning.
Here’s a secret… The way you think affects the direction of your life path. If you want to change your life, this is where you should start.
Your thoughts construct your reality.
Don’t believe me? That’s alright, most other people don’t either – that’s the problem.
The way you relate to people and your environment are all stored by neural networks that are arranged in your brain and which come to consciousness as thoughts. In other words, your environment shapes your thoughts. Your brain in turn regulates these thoughts, personality traits, and beliefs which are then presented back to your environment in the form of communication and… decisions.
Your thinking creates your environment
So, if you are unhappy with your environment and want to change it, how do you start? Do you change your life to be able to form new thoughts, or do you change your thoughts to eventually bring about a new environment?
The answer is yes, to both.
You wake up each morning and generally follow the same routines. You go to work and interact with the same people, then come home and unwind in the same way. Every day you do this, you are programming and reinforcing your mindset to expect more of the same. Your environment and routine will activate and stimulate specific regions of your brain which confirm your thinking.
It’s you that continue to create and reinforce this life.
Now ask yourself. If you perform the same acts every day and reinforce the same mindset every day, how can you expect anything to change if you don’t do anything to disrupt your routine?
Producing change requires that you learn to think beyond your current circumstances and environment. Yes, I realize that’s a very tall order, especially if you feel stuck and unhappy.
But here’s the thing. The more you continue to feel stuck and unhappy, the more likely you are to make decisions and create circumstances to support and reinforce that unhappiness. It becomes self-fulfilling.
This is not mysticism, it’s psychology.
What can I do to break the routine?
Before we move on to how to break this mental programming and install a new one, you need to accept two uncomfortable facts.
- You must take responsibility for the direction of your life. It may not be your fault, and it may not be fair, but that’s the reality of it. You must take responsibility and take charge. Once you realize that you are in control, changing direction will not seem nearly as daunting.
- You must be willing to accept feelings of being uncomfortable. Change can be scary, and there will be days when you just want to go back to the way things were. This is where you want to work with a trusted mental health professional to help guide you in your journey. Someone who can help you see the path ahead more clearly.
I’m ready for a change! Now what?
There are two important components to enacting the change you want to see in your life. Learning and repetition. If repetition got you to where you are today, then learning and repeating a new way of thinking will get you to where you want to be.
If you want to break the programming that is keeping you stuck, you must first learn to think differently.
There is a direct correlation between the way you think, how you act, and the way you feel.
(THINK -> ACT -> FEEL)
Your thoughts lead to actions, which result in feelings. We want to experience feelings of happiness and success to reinforce the thoughts that lead to happiness and success. It’s not enough to just think good thoughts, we need to feel what the result of those thoughts would be. That’s the secret and the key.
When you feel the way you think, you begin to think the way you feel. It’s the same reinforcement as mentioned before but in a positive life-affirming way.
The think/feel paradox
The greatest barrier to change is that even if we want to think differently, we still feel the same!
If thoughts are the language of the mind, then your feelings and emotions must be that of the body. Your thoughts and emotions must agree for you to enact the change you desire.
Moving forward requires that you “become” someone new. You must remind yourself every day of who this new person is and what they want. Most importantly, you must FEEL it. Slowly, this will begin to make changes in the neural networks your brain develops. As this happens, your thinking will change. As your thinking changes, so will your environment and the people you attract to it.
Techniques for change
Make sure to read next week’s blog post where we discuss powerful techniques to help you through the think/feel paradox. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful week!
Next, read these interesting related articles from the Healing Arts blog:
“How Changing Your Story Can Change Your Life – Dr. Joe Dispenza on How to Reprogram Your Mind.” YouTube, uploaded by Dr. Joe Dispenza, 26 Apr. 2021, www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdaNcYDo5sg&list=WL&index=2.
Ruffino, Megan. “The Think, Feel, Act Cycle and How We Can Use It to Be Happier.” Happiness Is a Decision, 25 Aug. 2020, happinessisadecision.com/the-think-feel-act-cycle-and-how-we-can-use-it-to-be-happier.
Shaffer, Joyce. “Neuroplasticity and Clinical Practice: Building Brain Power for Health.” Frontiers in psychology vol. 7 1118. 26 Jul. 2016, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01118