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How Deeply do Your Thoughts Impact Your Behaviour?

January 13, 2016

 Thought Series Part 4

 

Welcome to part four to my January Thought Series! Thank you for joining me in this process of identifying and eliminating our negative thoughts. This first part of the series focuses on becoming aware of just how much even one negative thought can affect us, emotionally, physiologically and behaviourally.  When you break it down, like we are, it’s pretty damn amazing.

 

The Thought Series So Far

 

So far we’ve covered the first three steps involved in changing our negative thoughts:

 

Step 1: Identifying Automatic Negative Thoughts (“ANTS”)

Step 2: Identifying the Emotions That Arise When You Have an ANT

Step 3: Recognizing the Physiological Changes that Result From ANTs

 

If you missed either of the first three blog posts, you can go back and catch up by clicking HERE, or you can simply read this post as a standalone.

 

Today we are going to look at the fourth step:

 

Step 4: Becoming Aware of the Behavioural Consequences of ANTS

 

I’m going to continue using, “I’m going to be alone forever.” So far I’ve recorded the following for this thought:

 

ANT: I am going to be alone forever.

EMOTIONS: Sad, defeated.

PHYSIOLOGICAL IMPACT: Heaviness in my chest, tightening around my mouth, twitching near my eyes and fluttering in my stomach.

 

Step 4: Behavioural Consequences of ANTS

 

Thoughts lead to emotions, which lead to behaviours. When you have a lot of automatic negative thoughts you can end up feeling a lot of distressing and uncomfortable emotions and sensations in your body. When you experience upsetting emotions, you tend to change your behaviour accordingly.

 

 

For example, if I have the thought, “I am going to be alone forever,” I feel sad and defeated and experience quite a few unpleasant bodily sensations. What am I likely to do when I have that thought? I can tell you what I’m not going to do. I’m not going to go out and put effort into meeting somebody. I’m not going to put my best self forward when I meet someone new. I’m not going to show the universe that I am open and willing and excited to meet my forever partner. As a result, having the thought “I am going to be alone forever,” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and doesn’t do anything to help me change my situation.

 

 

 

ANT: I am going to be alone forever.

EMOTIONS: Sad, defeated.

PHYSIOLOGICAL IMPACT: Heaviness in my chest, tightening around my mouth, twitching near my eyes and fluttering in my stomach.

BEHAVIOUR: Withdrawing, stopping efforts to meet new men, seeming uninterested and distracted when I do meet potential mates.

 

Now it’s your turn. Choose the ANT you are going to work with today and consider the following:

 

  • What are you most likely to do when you have that ANT, feel the associated emotions and bodily sensations?

  • What is that ANT going to stop you from doing?

 

Take note of all the behaviours (or lack thereof) that are likely or possible to stem from that one ANT that you’re working with. It is pretty incredible what one thought can lead to, no?

 

To what extent are your thoughts holding you back? We often like to think external factors that are to blame for creating obstacles between us and what we really want.

 

 

The truth is more often than not it’s our own thoughts that are holding us back. We have the power to change our thoughts and as a result achieve what we really want.

 

 

Up until now we’ve identified our most common ANTS and uncovered their impact on us. Next week we’re going to cover two more quick steps before then moving on to create thoughts to replace our ANTS. We’re halfway through. Keep up the good work!

 

 

 

 

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