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Article: Change your thoughts and you change your life

Verändere deine Gedanken und du veränderst dein Leben | paigh | Fair & gemütlich

Change your thoughts and you change your life

What we think day after day determines our lives. It determines what we do and how we feel. If we want to bring change into our lives - on whatever level - we first need to change our thoughts and our mindset. Our Mindset is the sum of our mindsets, beliefs and basic cognitions; and therefore quite elementary. But how can I change my mindset? And which specific ways of thinking will get me further in life?

The power of your mindset

Thoughts that we think every day become more and more consolidated with each new day and slowly become part of our identity. Beliefs that we adopt in childhood are now deeply anchored in us. As children we are particularly vulnerable. Situations or events that are “no big deal” objectively or from an adult perspective can brand and permanently shape us as children. Maybe you didn't receive support or affection in an important situation for you as a child and have unconsciously carried around the belief "I'm not lovable" with you ever since. Maybe a teacher told you when you were in school that you were “bad at math” and since then you have thought that you weren’t intelligent enough.

We all had experiences as children, and we all made assumptions about ourselves through those experiences. We have interpreted situations and these interpretations have eventually become beliefs; they are now part of our identity. But does that also mean that these beliefs are “true”? Not at all. We think they are true - why else would we believe them?

Striving for conformity

As humans, we strive for congruence; we want what we think to match what we do. For example, if we think we are not good enough, we subconsciously continually look for confirmation of this belief. If we don't get the job we really wanted, we say to ourselves: “I told you so: I'm just not good enough.” Or we simply don’t apply at all because “we wouldn’t prevail against the competition anyway”.

We reinterpret experiences that contradict this assumption or do not even notice them. What about the studies we completed with flying colors? Or the presentation at work that we were so praised for? What about our best friend who told us yesterday how happy she was to have us? All of these things show that we are enough. And more than enough. We are great the way we are. But we don't want to believe that; we don't see it at all.

Changing dysfunctional thoughts

The fact that you are reading this blog entry shows that you want more. That somewhere deep inside you know that these basic assumptions and dysfunctional beliefs are not true. You know that there is much more inside you and you want to change something. No more thoughts that stop you or keep setting you back. But how do I change an idea that I've been carrying around with me for decades?

It can't be done with a snap of your fingers, but it can be done...

1. Identification

First, become aware of the thought that is holding you back. To do this, it is helpful to observe your thoughts for a few days and see which negative thoughts occur more frequently. How do you talk to yourself? What do you think about yourself? What are the thoughts behind your actions or inactions?

One way to approach a belief is to ask yourself “Why?” over and over again. to ask. To clarify, let's take the example from before: You don't have the courage to apply for a job. Why don't you dare? "Because I'm afraid". Why are you scared? “Because I couldn’t get the job; I would embarrass myself at the interview and everyone would think I was stupid. That would be totally embarrassing.” Why do you think you would embarrass yourself? “Because I could give a wrong answer” … etc. If you keep asking “Why?”, then at some point you will reach your dysfunctional basic belief “I am…” (in most cases it is hidden by “I am not good enough”) or an “I am not lovable enough” behind these dysfunctional cognitions).

2. Awareness

Once you are aware of your core belief, it is time to understand the implications of that thought. How do you feel about this belief? What decisions have you made based on this thought? What kind of experiences have you had? What opportunities did you miss? How is your everyday life shaped by this thought?
It's worth a lot to write all of this down. Take all the time you need and be aware that emotions can arise. When you write these things down, you see them in front of you, you can organize them and explain them. This is the basis for the next step…

3. Transformation

Now we want to “transform” the negative belief into a positive one. To do this, find the absolute opposite of your negative thought. For the belief “I am not good enough” it can be “I am enough” / “I am great just the way I am” / “I am wonderful” / etc. What is important is that the new sentence resonates with you; that you can somehow “feel” it, even if you don’t “believe” it at the moment. Write down this new belief and say it out loud to yourself three times.

Similar to step two, we now want to take a closer look at this new belief. What do you feel inside when you say this sentence? What would be possible in your life if you believed this sentence? What experiences would you have? What would your everyday life look like? What decisions could you make? How would you feel every day if you lived this sentence? Write down everything that comes to mind here. There is no right or wrong; just feel within yourself.

4. Anchoring

For this new thought to become part of your identity, it takes evidence and practice. By evidence I mean that you need to gather experiences that confirm this new thought. Write down three or more situations from your past that confirm this idea (e.g. situations in which you were loved or in which you handled well). The argument “There is nothing” doesn’t count here! Keep searching; you will find suitable scenarios.

Now is the time to “practice” your new belief. Your goal for the next few days is to think this thought as often as possible. Write the new thought on a piece of paper and stick it on your bathroom mirror, or save it as a wallpaper on your phone. Call it around your room every now and then or say the thought three times in a row in the morning. If it makes you feel stupid, that's completely normal  . Each time you do it, it will become easier for you to think or express this thought. The new thought is like a seed you planted in your mind. Every time you think this thought, you are “watering” the seed. But your seed doesn't just thrive in a metaphorical sense: you strengthen true neural connections and association networks in your brain!

Core beliefs are not just sentences that start with “I am.” General assumptions about others and the world itself are also considered beliefs or basic attitudes. Finally, I would like to give you a little inspiration for “more general” positive ways of thinking, which you can of course integrate into your power mindset if you want!

Woman sits in the forest
Photo by Doug Robichaud on Unsplash

Which mindsets help me lead a successful life?

A successful life looks a little different for each of us. And there is certainly no magic formula for “the perfect mindset”. And of course mindset is not everything on the way to a happy life. However, I would like to share with you five ways of thinking that can change the way you look at life.

1. If you are busy, you are not automatically successful.
  • Many very busy people may be successful in the short term, but in the long term it is often not just their health that suffers
  • Just because a person is very busy or successful professionally, it does not mean that their entire life is going smoothly and that the person has problems in their private life, for example
  • Balance is key 
2. Life is always FOR you.
  • We tend to assume the role of victim to protect our ego. We feel like life keeps trying to slap us in the face
  • You are the creator of your life; you can influence your life and steer it in the direction you want to go
  • And from this: you are not a victim of circumstances
  • Things happen; but you can decide for yourself how you react to these things or deal with them
  • Look for the silver lining
3. Mistakes are not the end, but the beginning.
  • Defeats are human. We all make mistakes; We are all on this earth for the first time - no one can do everything right away
  • There is something to be learned from every situation
  • Everyone starts small
  • The world won't end if you make a mistake. You can always start again#
4. Be proud of yourself!
  • Experiences of success are subjective. What isn't a big deal for one person is a big accomplishment for another
  • You are doing great in your life; celebrate yourself for your successes (no matter how big or small they are)
  • We all experience every single day in different ways. Don't compare yourself to others; because no one lives your Life other than yourself
5. Whatever you think, you become.
  • Your thoughts ultimately shape your reality
  • Thoughts are changeable. Your “I am”s are not set in stone!
  • Your mindset is your most important tool on the way to your dream life
  • Be careful with your thoughts and loving yourself 

What are your favorite mindset habits?

If you would like to find out more about the topics of mindfulness, healthy eating or sustainability, take a look here over.

Person looks out to sea at sunset and is in thought
Photo by Philipp Cordts on Unsplash

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