Have you heard a new phrase, song, or proverb for the first time? Then in the next few days or weeks you start hearing it everywhere? , you may come to see in every parking lot. Or maybe you learn about home styles while watching HGTV, and then you find yourself spotting home styles that are all over your city and town? Are more and more people buying style homes?
This is a concept known in psychology as: frequency bias again frequency illusion, and it can happen almost anything. A fancy name for this is the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. If you haven’t heard it before, chances are you’ll hear it after today (see what I did there). The main idea behind this phenomenon is that the frequency of these things isn’t really increasing, it’s just that you’re aware of them.
There is so much going on around you in any given 24 hour period that it is impossible for your brain to absorb it all. But when we give our attention to something commonly called selective attention, we tend to pay attention to that particular thing more often. Your brain will tune in to it now!
So what if we could apply this frequency bias to our thoughts? What if we could raise awareness and start seeing and understanding our thoughts in ways never before possible? What if you could tune into your thought patterns instead of your own? The incredible thing is that we can.
To identify patterns, you have to work with something. To do so, take a moment to write down 5-10 negative thoughts you had in the last week (write more if you can). It could be a negative thought you had about yourself (I don’t have what it takes to do this!), negative thoughts about others (he doesn’t care about me), or negative thoughts about the situation (All this is hopeless!), now look at what you wrote down and start reading one at a time.
Are there patterns or themes that have started to emerge?
Is there a theme you tend to default to over and over again?
Let’s separate them today. Because I’m trying to get to the root of why you think that way.
Philippians 4:8 remind us, “Think of what is true, what is noble, what is right, what is pure, what is beautiful, what is admirable, what is excellent, what is admirable.”
The great thing about this Bible is that patterns can be changed.A reminder that we have power and control select What thoughts do you listen to and meditate on throughout the day? Much of the Bible is consistent with sound psychology and counseling. God knows that we tend to default to the negative, so make it a habit, a daily habit, to listen to what is good, what is pure, what is true, and what is beautiful. We are called to raise our awareness of the right thoughts and beliefs in our daily lives and in our lives. We are challenged to: Don’t just default to the usual ignorant patterns.change patternBut to do that, we must first stop and pay attention to both good and bad patterns. Then you can start changing the way you think. If you want to replace them, you have to recognize patterns. And when you do that, everything starts to change because a change in thoughts leads to a change in your life.
One of my clients, Hannah, came into our counseling session with a 24-hour list of negative thoughts. Here’s what it read:
i don’t fit
They just pretend to like me.
He feels sorry for me, so he’s just kind.
I can’t believe I yelled at my kids. I’m the worst mother
If I don’t get it together, he will leave me.
They invited me out of sympathy, but they didn’t want me in there.
I don’t have what it takes to get it done today.
And those were just a few of the ones she had on her list. When I asked her if she could spot patterns, she found herself in a spiral of thought on the subject of inadequacy. It wasn’t. She is not in her personal life, her marriage, her friendships, her mother, her housewife, or her business. Her thoughts always pointed out where she didn’t measure up, and she clung to everything she lacked. Her thoughts didn’t just hurt her. They were hurting her relationship. As she recognized the theme of her own negative thinking, she began to see it in nearly every aspect of her life.
connect the dots
Why did Hannah fall into a toxic thought cycle? Why did she always feel that she wasn’t good enough? , was starting to default to this way of thinking. This wasn’t a conscious decision on her part as she should understand that she was really young at the time. To do for us – Without our permission or knowledge. It attempts to make sense of the world around us, whether or not the interpretations it gives us are actually based in truth. False beliefs can be planted in our minds and hearts. .
It took something inside young Hannah to make sense of the fact that she was adopted. There was no conversation about her adoption, even within the context of a loving, wonderful, and caring family. I didn’t. In her young mind, the problem lay either with her parents or her. And it was less painful for her to believe that something was terribly wrong with her parents than she was to believe that she had a problem with herself. They must not have liked me. Something must be wrong with me. I bet it wasn’t what they wanted. I shouldn’t be good enough This is where the seeds of her default thoughts were planted, watered by life’s circumstances, and fertilized by more unhealthy thoughts. It was part of her thought process.
In order for Hannah to be free from the default mindset, resetShe started by recognizing her negative thoughts. And with the help of a counseling process, we began to get to the root of where those negative thoughts and beliefs started. But that wasn’t enough. Now she had to replace them with truth. It is not enough to simply stop thinking negative thoughts. You have to take the next step and start thinking with sincerity. Substitute the truth over and over until something starts to change. until you start to change. Debra, are you saying that if I think just sound thoughts are enough, I’ll actually start believing it??That’s exactly what I mean.? It took years to build a default mindset, so don’t expect things to change overnight. But when you begin to fill your heart with truth, your life begins to be filled with truth. Things start to change.
It may not seem like you’re doing much, such as repeating truthful statements in place of negative default thoughts, but when you start replacing negative thoughts with truth, your brain changes how it works. Every thought you think releases some type of neurochemical. Negative thoughts release stress chemicals, and positive thoughts release feel-good chemicals. So if you change your mind literally change your brain Your brain is neuroplastic. In other words, they are malleable and subject to change. By changing your thoughts, you have the power to change how your brain works, which in turn has the power to change how you feel and act.
God made our brains. God knows best the value and importance of thinking about what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and praiseworthy. Philippians 4:8 Not a sweet, sentimental verse from the Bible. It’s life or death. Your thoughts have the power to seriously improve your life or completely destroy it. When you see , it’s time to acknowledge it and start the mental battle. If you change the pattern of your life, you will change the pattern of your relationships.
This article is based on one of Debra Fileta’s new book 31 Practices. Reset: A Powerful Habit to Own Your Thoughts, Understand Your Emotions, and Change Your Life Used with permission.order a copy of reset today!
Photo credit: ©Reset/Debra Fileta
Photo credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Ildar Abulkhanov
Debra Fileta Licensed Professional Counselor, National Speaker, Bestselling Author, Relationship Expert, and Founder of Debra Fileta Counselor NetworkShe has written six books including; choose to marry true love date, love in every season, Are you sure you’re okay?, married woman sex, and resetShe is also a hotline style host love + relationship podcast, answers listeners’ questions about love, relationships, and mental and emotional health. Her popular dating advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, reaches millions with the message of healthy relationships.connect with her Facebook, Instagramand twitteragain Book an online session with her or someone on her team today.