What are we thinking? Becoming aware of our thoughts and emotions

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In my last blog I have explored how our emotions affect our life – how they influence what we do and do not do, how do we respond to other people and to the challenges that life presents. But what about our thoughts? Where do they come into play?

Thoughts are as important in shaping our life as emotions are, and the two are closely interconnected as thoughts are often emotionally charged. Sad or anxious thoughts would make us feel sad or anxious, and our body will respond accordingly: we may experience heaviness in the chest, a lump in the throat or butterflies in the tummy.

Thoughts also have a suggestive power. If we repeat the same thought over and over again, our subconscious mind incorporates it as truth. For example, if we are always saying to ourselves “I am useless, I cannot do anything right,” our subconscious mind comes to believe that this is true. And here is the trap! Once the subconscious mind “believes” in something it begins to rule us according to its faith. And thus it may cause us a lot of grievance. It may stop us from venturing to do new things because “we are not good at anything” or from developing fulfilling relationships because “nobody cares about us.”

So how do we take over control?

An important step is to become aware of our thoughts. Developing self-awareness is indeed the key for personal growth. So I would suggest: begin to notice your thoughts in a non-judgmental way, with open curiosity. Simply become interested: “What am I thinking?” Of course, hundreds of thoughts cross our mind every minute and it is not possible to note each one. But as you start observing you will notice that there are some thoughts that occur over and over again. How many of them are positive and how many are negative? As you “catch” a negative thought in your mind’s net consider what has triggered it. Is it a response to a concrete situation or is it a generalization of a sort? Suppose a colleague did not return your “hello” and you think with a habitual sigh “Nobody notices me.” But is it really so? Maybe you are forgetful of a stranger who held a door for you an hour earlier, or of a friend who came to visit when you were ill?

If you start witnessing your thoughts you will be amazed how many of them are automatic responses. A friend of mine has called them an “answering machine.” The “answering machine” kicks in every time when something triggers our stored response. By becoming aware of our thoughts and emotions we gain a greater control over them and a greater freedom to choose our responses. Sometimes, however, certain persistent negative emotions or thoughts may be a result of an emotional trauma that cannot be alleviated simply through an act of observation. In this case it would be recommended to work through it with the help of a therapist.

To get yourself into habit of monitoring your thoughts you may use a weekly thoughts calendar, similar to the emotions calendar that I have suggested in the previous blog. You may want to make a use of the template that I created and uploaded on the Downloads page (www.Soultap.co.uk/downloads). Feel free to change the suggested examples of thoughts to your own. If you need help please don’t hesitate to contact me, and I will be happy to assist you with creating your person-tailored calendar.

I hope you find this information useful and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and insights.

With warm wishes,


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2 thoughts on “What are we thinking? Becoming aware of our thoughts and emotions”

  1. Olga

    Thanks for raising the topic and especially for the templates. Simple as it is I found it very helpfull. I have downloaded emotional template some time ago and found very usefull – when I do it. It gives you sense of control.
    Main problem is how to keep going. Sometimes you know that certain things will be good if you do but keep not doing them! It just seems too much effort at the moment. Having template certainly helps (comparing to blank piece of paper!). But still sometimes not enough. Any thoughts or tips on this? Maybe idea for you next post?

  2. Ludmila Post Author

    Hi! Thank you for your comment and I am very pleased to hear that you found the templates useful.

    Your question (how to keep going and doing useful things when you are already feeling tired with everything you have to do) is a difficult one. 🙂 I have been (and still am!) struggling with it too! But here is what I found helpful for myself:
    – finding a regular time for doing it (once we get into a habit of doing something it becomes easier and requires less effort);
    – not giving up if for some reason I fell out of rhythm and didn’t do it for some time (just start over again! and you may find it easier this time);
    – having somebody (a friend or a therapist) with whom I can discuss these things on a fairly regular basis (I noticed that it helps me to stay curious and motivated).

    Let me know if any of these works for you. And perhaps you can figure out and share your own tips!

    All the best wishes and hope to stay in touch.

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