DATING SUCCESS MINDSET
How thoughts influence feelings & behaviour
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you sabotaged yourself by your own thoughts? Ever talked yourself out of trying something, assuming you were doomed to failure? Our internal dialogue or self-talk is the most powerful motivator we have. If our inner voice is the voice of a ‘friend’ it can enhance feelings of positive self-esteem and propel us to act in a way that will move us towards our goals. If, however, our inner voice is the voice of a ‘frenemy’, (a frenemy is a blend of a friend and an enemy), it can lead to feelings of selfdoubt and stop us from taking action towards our goals. Put simply, our thoughts influence our feelings and our feelings influence our behaviour, therefore, our thoughts create our life experience.
We all have an unhelpful inner voice that rears its ugly head from time to time, but we also have a choice about how we respond to it. A disempowered approach would be to believe the negative thoughts and
mindlessly follow them, as if on autopilot. A more empowered approach would be to challenge the thoughts and consciously choose to act differently.
1. Reality checking
• What evidence is there to support the thoughts?
• Are they based on facts or your interpretations and perceptions?
• Are you jumping to negative conclusions?
• How can you investigate and find out if the thoughts are true?
2. Alternative viewpoints
• What other ways could you look at this situation?
• What else could this mean?
• If you were being positive, how might you perceive this situation?
IF OUR INNER VOICE IS THE VOICE OF A ‘FRIEND’, IT CAN ENHANCE FEELINGS OF POSITIVE SELF-ESTEEM.
3. Put it in perspective
• Is it as bad as you think?
• What is the worst possible thing that could happen? How likely is this?
• What is the best possible thing that could happen?
• Will this matter in five years’ time?
4. Come back to your goals
• Are these thoughts helping you feel better in the moment (Band-Aid) or helping you move towards your goals?
• What can you do to solve the problem and move towards getting what you want?
• What can you learn from this situation to help you next time?
By using these questions throughout your day, you can become your own ‘thought detective’. Gather evidence and challenge your thoughts and if they don’t stack up, change them.
Over the next month, your challenge is to make conscious choices about your life rather than running on autopilot.
Week 1: Keep a thought journal, either in a book or in a Moodkit. Record all the thoughts you can recall, positive and negative, helpful and unhelpful. The aim is not to judge the thoughts, but to simply record them each day.
Week 2: This week, divide your journal into two columns and record the helpful and unhelpful thoughts in separate columns.
This will help you to identify the quality and quantity of your thoughts and start to evaluate the degree to which your ‘frenemy’ thinking styles are creeping in.
Week 3: Now that you are becoming more aware of your thinking patterns, it’s time to start challenging them. This time, divide your journal into three columns; one for helpful thoughts, one for unhelpful thoughts and one for challenging questions. Use the third column to jot down questions to challenge the ‘frenemy’ thoughts – your questions can relate to reality checking, alternative viewpoints, putting it in perspective and coming back to your goals.
Week 4: In your final week of the challenge, your objective is to reframe any ‘frenemy’ thoughts. Going back to a two-column page, this time record your ‘frenemy’ thoughts in one column and the new, reframed thoughts in the other.
So, take the challenge, step up and reframe your self-talk to create a friend rather than a ‘frenemy’ within ... and watch your life change as a result!.
Melanie Schilling is a psychologist and dating coach, regularly contributing to Channel 10, Channel 9, print and online publications. In 2014, Melanie was appointed Dating and Relationship Expert for eHarmony, Australia and has worked across the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern Regions. Melanie may be contacted via her website.