Factsheet 10: How our thoughts govern how we feel

“Nothing can harm you as much as your own thoughts unguarded.” Gautama Buddha

We have between 5,000 and 60,000 thoughts every day. Left unguarded, thoughts can create a myriad of mental, emotional and physical conditions. Left unguarded, our thoughts can make it very difficult to move forward in life, especially after experiencing a significant loss. It is therefore beneficial to understand how thoughts work, how thoughts impact on our health and wellbeing on a daily basis.

Thoughts drive your emotions, ‘what you think you become’ – Guatama Buddha.

When your thoughts appear to be the product of your overwhelming sadness and grief, know that it is your thoughts that are feeding the sadness rather than the other way around. Your thoughts generate a feeling which you then act upon. This action then gives you an end result. 

Change your thoughts and your feelings change. Your action then changes and your results will be different.

This fact is quite liberating and it is immensely freeing to understand that:

  • Your thoughts are not inevitable
  • Your thoughts are self made
  • Thoughts affect your mood - not the other way around

So, how do you control your thinking – especially at a time of great emotional hardship? Firstly, place your awareness on the thought, do not judge the thought, just accept that the thought is there. Then you can ask yourself, ‘Is this thought healthy and beneficial for me?’ If the thought is not of benefit to you, breathe gently three times, smile softly to yourself, look up as though looking up at the sky and let the thought go... just let the thought go. It is as though you breathe the thought out on each and every exhale… accepting the thought is there... then letting it go. You can then choose a more uplifting thought in its place, one that will serve you better. It is, after all, your mind and your thinking process and you are the only one capable of controlling what you allow yourself to think, remembering, what you think you will then feel. Repeat this process whenever unhelpful thinking is present and impacts on your emotional and physical wellbeing.

Lisa Keeley, Director of Tranquil Mind Solutions, is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Master NLP Therapist, Relaxation/Stress Reduction Facilitator & Health Life Coach. Lisa’s areas of expertise are in stress reduction, anxiety elimination, serious illness care and also assisting individuals and their families through their dying process. She works closely with patients undergoing treatments at Pacific Private Day Oncology on the Gold Coast. Lisa has created two successful programs – The New Focus Health and Wellbeing Program designed specifically for the individual diagnosed with illness, and the In Harmony Life After Cancer Wellness Program. www.tranquilmindsolutions.com.au