You CAN Change Habitual Patterns Of Thinking

I bet you didn’t even know that you had habitual patterns of thinking, did you? But you do. All of us do.

Some patterns of thinking serve us better than others.

Here’s an example of a thought pattern that didn’t serve me well. When my child was in middle school and my cell phone rang in the middle of the day, I would immediately experience a tightening throughout my body, especially in my shoulders and neck, as my adrenaline kicked in. I would reach for the phone to read the caller ID, all the while holding my breath, expecting the worse. If the caller ID read the school’s name, I instantly braced for a difficult conversation with either the principal or school counselor.

During those years, every time the phone rang, I expected bad news. So, when the phone rang and it was a friend, my husband or a potential client, I would still have the same physical reaction-anticipating the worst.

You may be wondering, “What’s the big deal?”

The ‘big deal’ is that I was becoming Pavlov’s dog. Each time the phone rang my body was flooded with stress chemicals which put me on high alert. Not only was adrenaline coursing through my veins, but I also had an increased level of cortisol, as well.

Cortisol is a stress hormone like adrenaline. High levels of cortisol can add pounds to the mid-section of the body. It can trigger flushing of the face, cause you to bruise more easily, lead to high blood pressure, diabetes,… You get the picture. It’s not a good thing. Yet, it seemed to happen on a regular basis, all because my expectation, my repetitive, patterned thoughts were driving the chemical exchanges in my body.

Amazing things happen when you change negative habitual patterns of thinking.

When you practice changing your thoughts, you literally change the chemistry of your body. Fewer negative or unsupportive thoughts mean less adrenaline and cortisol surging through your body. But how do you make those changes – sheer willpower? No! It does take practice, but you don’t have to muscle through it like a new workout.

Try this 5-day experiment.

  1. Day 1 – Make a list of the areas of your life where you are dissatisfied or choose a topic from the list below.
  • Fear of failing
  • Fear of success
  • Relationship challenges with your partner
  • Low self-confidence
  • Not feeling strong and capable to take on new opportunities
  • Not enough clients or customers
  • Frustration with another person, child, parent

Select one topic to focus on for the next five days.

  1. Day 2 – Make a second list of the things you say aloud or silently about the topic. Notice how you speak to others about the topic and write down what you say.
  2. Day 3 – 5 – Every time you have a limiting, negative, or unsupportive thought about that topic I want you to scrutinize it. Ask yourself these questions:
    1. Is the statement always true?
    2. Could there be another interpretation of it?
    3. Could I be misinformed or have misunderstood?
    4. Is it worth holding on to this habitual pattern of thinking?
    5. Does this pattern of thinking and speaking cause me to feel heavy or light?
  3. Day 5 – Notice your thoughts. Do you have fewer negative or limiting thoughts? How are you feeling emotionally? Do you feel more positive, light, uplifted?

When you make a conscious effort to change your thoughts, you change not only your body’s chemistry, but you change the energy you exude to others. You’ll start to notice that more of the goodness in life will naturally show up for you. You’ll feel happier. You’ll start getting more clients. You’ll attract happy people to you.

Give this experiment a try. What do you have to lose? You’ll likely lose a series of unsupportive thoughts and nasty emotions.