Posted by: Jo Banks
Managing your thoughts is key to building long-lasting resilience...
As the demands placed on us both professionally and personally, increase on what seems like an almost daily (or even hour by hour) basis, I have seen a steady rise in requests for my full and half-day resilience workshops.
These are structured courses which provide delegates (of all levels) with easy to use tools and techniques specifically designed to increase resilience (mental toughness/emotional intelligence). I teach skills which enable them to manage the stresses of modern-day living, gaining greater control over both their professional and personal lives.
Learning outcomes typically include better inter-department working, less conflict (grievances/disciplinaries), lower absence rates = happier employees.
In this and my next two articles, I will share my three top tips for creating immediate, long-lasting change; enabling you to build your resilience, and deal more effectively with the extremes of today’s world, in a constructive way.
You and Your Thoughts
Most people never consider where their thoughts come from and, therefore, don’t realise that they can control them. It's accepted that we have up to 75,000 thoughts per day, and up to 95% of those can be the same as the day before. So, if you're a negative thinker/worrier, that's a whole lot of negativity!
Here’s the thing, YOU create every thought you have, they aren't plopped in by some superhuman being! The good thing about knowing this is that you don't have to live with a negative thought; you can change it. The hardest part is actually noticing you're thinking something that isn't serving you, especially if that's your default.
Changing Your Thoughts
To change your thoughts, firstly, check if the thought has a message, e.g. is there something you should be doing but aren’t? (Incidentally, managing procrastination will be covered in a following article.) Unfinished 'things’ have a habit of coming back to haunt us until we do something about them. If this is the case, either do the thing as soon as possible or create a workable plan with structured timelines for its completion.
If there isn’t a message, then simply change the thought...
IMPORTANT: You can’t have two thoughts at once, it's impossible. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that if you deliberately think of something else, the original thought won't be at the forefront of your mind.
As soon as you notice an unhelpful/negative thought:
In my workshops, I physically stand up and sing 'Let It Go' - complete with actions - when I’m teaching this subject. I can’t sing at all, so it acts as an unpleasant but funny anchor and pattern interrupt. As a result, it sticks in the minds of delegates, making it easy to recall and use to control their unhelpful thoughts going forward.
In my next article, I’ll talk more about increasing resilience by managing excessive worry.
P.S. I realise that for many people stress and anxiety runs very deeply and the 'positive thinking' described here may seem impossible. If you're feeling low, please reach out and talk to someone you trust. (Samaritans call 116123)
Visit the website for Jo Banks' first book, Thoughts Become Things now available in paperback and Kindle formats.
Visit the website for Jo Banks' new book, Land Your Dream Job Now! now available in paperback and Kindle formats.