Thoughts vs. Facts

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Why You Don’t Have To Believe Every Thought You Have

BY PASCALE POUGNET

The human mind is pretty fascinating. Our minds are capable of incredibly complex cognitive processes like analysing, comparing, evaluating, planning, remembering, visualising, and they’re constantly helping us to solve problems and make decisions, everything from “what will I eat for lunch” to “what career path will I choose?” But as ingenious as the mind is, it has it’s faults and if you let it, it can be your worst enemy.

Are you buying the wrong thoughts?

Are you buying the wrong thoughts?

Take a moment to reflect on some of the mean and unhelpful thoughts your mind comes up with. Maybe it’s compared you harshly to others, criticised your appearance, or even told you that you can’t succeed in things you want to. Your mind may dredge up unpleasant memories from the past or drag you into scary scenarios about the future. If you believe every unhelpful thought your mind produces, you’ll be miserable and anxious. Unfortunately, we don’t often stop and question our thoughts, in fact, a lot of the time we tend to take our thoughts as “fact” and we forget that not all thoughts should be believed.

You know those pesky salesmen who come knocking at your door, trying to convince you to buy random products that you don’t need? Think of your mind as being like that salesman, persuasively trying to sell you thoughts. And just like a salesman who tries hard to pitch to you why you need their product, your mind is very good at convincing you that the thought is true and that you should have it. When you believe an unhelpful thought, it’s like buying a product from a salesman when you know you don’t actually need or want it. Sometimes you even end up buying a product just to get rid of the annoying salesman, which leaves you feeling frustrated over wasted money and time.

It might seem easier to go along with unhelpful thoughts, especially if they’re bombarding you, but longer-term you’ll be left feeling upset and hopeless. Next time you notice yourself feeing sad or anxious, see if you can take a moment to notice what thoughts your mind is trying to sell you. Ask yourself, if I buy this thought, how will I feel, or what will I end up doing? Will buying this thought help me be a better person or live a happier life? If the answer is no, then you can simply thank your mind, as you would do to a salesman at your door selling you a product you don’t need, tell him you won’t be buying that thought today, close the door and get on with your day.

Pascale is a clinical psychologist who is passionate about empowering people to create change. She is warm and empathic and is dedicated to providing evidence based psychological care. Pascale has extensive experience working with adults and adolescents with a variety of psychological disorders including depression, panic attacks, social anxiety, generalised anxiety, health anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.


 

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