Emotional Wellbeing

Mental Health

Mandy Kloppers

This one thing stifles your happiness

You may not believe it but there is only one thing stifles your happiness. This one thing has the power to create heaven or hell for you. There is nothing else as powerful. When you think about it, if this thing has so much influence over our mood it makes sense to harness it and use it to our best advantage.

So you may be wondering what this one thing is. It’s something that you have full control over although there are many times when it seems as if control is not existent. This one thing is your thoughts.

We are thinking creatures and every moment of the day we are trying to make sense of what we see and what we experience. This may seem like common sense but our thinking is one of the least understood principles in our psychological makeup. If your thinking stifles your happiness you will be under-achieving and less competent than you could be.

Every thought that you have produces an emotion and behaviour . Every negative and positive feeling is a direct result of a thought. Think about it, your  “mental diet’ (the thoughts you focus on and believe) directly affect how do you perceive the world and your quality of life.

Thoughts are often automatic

The problem with our thoughts is that over time we become accustomed to seeing the world in a certain way. If you were bullied at school, the way you view schools and feeling vulnerable might be very different from someone who has never been bullied. Over time these thoughts emerge automatically. We don’t realise what our inner dialogue is telling us.  Lack of awareness is dangerous and leads to unhelpful behaviour such as self-sabotaging, addictive behaviours and we find it hard to cope with life in general.

You produce your own thoughts

It’s never a good idea to see yourself as a passive receptacle for your thoughts.  You don’t have to take your thoughts seriously and you don’t have to believe everything you think. It is possible to see the thoughts coming and notice them without reacting to them. When you notice a thought, Say it yourself “oh I can see that I’m worrying about …”. sometimes acknowledging the process allows us more resilience against our thinking. Resilience protects us from thinking that stifles your happiness.

Your thoughts are made up of your insecurities and fears

Our thoughts are tainted by our previous experiences as well as our fears and worries. We are biologically wired to detect threat and because of this we tend to focus on the negatives as a way to feel safe. Just remember that worry is overrated. Worry is different to problem-solving. Problem-solving is efficient in dealing with problems where is worry just keeps you anxious and fearful by focusing on the problems.

Thoughts aren’t facts

Get into the habit of accepting that you will constantly have a stream of intrusive thoughts every day. When you understand the thoughts are not an accurate representation of reality, you will be able to filter the useful thoughts from the inane.

Make your thoughts work for you in terms of focusing on thoughts that makes you happy rather than obsessing over the thoughts that limit you or stop you from achieving your full potential. Negatives thoughts stifle your happiness.

The beauty about your thinking is that you can choose the thoughts you wish to believe. They are your thoughts after all and learning to manage them is an incredibly useful life skill and mental skill.

Accept that your brain will work overtime from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. Being in your head is dangerous so keep yourself busy and practise mindfulness. This doesn’t mean that you should avoid problems in your life but once you have problem-solved and taken the necessary actions, get back to living in the moment.

When you get used to dismissing your thoughts and acting in spite of them, you will increase your confidence and reduce and reduced any anxiety or depression. You will also reduce the likelihood of stifling your happiness by focusing on the negative thoughts.

If you struggle to filter your thinking get in touch with a cognitive behavioural therapist (I am available) and let them help you explore what is holding you back.

Filtering your thoughts it’s one of the best ways to achieve your true potential and live a freer life.

Mandy X