Your thoughts play a huge role in how you feel and behave.

A lot of times we aren’t even aware of how we are thinking and that is impacting our reactions and emotions. So the more you understand and recognize your thoughts the more power you have to shift your moods and behaviors.

Our thoughts happen first and determine how we feel and how we react. So if you can change your thoughts, you can change how you feel and behave. For example, if you text a friend who doesn’t respond right away, you might think he/she is angry which will likely make you feel nervous and stressed, causing you to ignore them. In the same situation, if you think that perhaps they just haven’t checked their phone, you will likely just go about your day.

So you can change your mood by bringing awareness to your thoughts. Once you have that awareness, you can begin to change your thoughts. It is important to know that thoughts are not facts! Our thoughts are valuable. Our thoughts are changeable. So we do have the power to change what we think.

Here are some tips:

Awareness: The next time you are having a negative feeling ask yourself what you are thinking. Then you can reframe your thinking by rephrasing it from “I am having the thought that,” to making it the truth. Then you can challenge your thought with questions to challenge your assumption that your thought is true.

  • Is this realistic?
  • Is there another way to look at this?
  • What’s the best that can happen?
  • What’s likely to happen?
  • If the worst did happen, how could I handle it?
  • What would I tell a friend?

Now, come up with replacement thoughts that are realistic, helpful, and kind. Rather than thinking the worst, think that I am going to do the best that I can.

  • Nobody is perfect.
  • I am doing my best.
  • I can handle this.
  • Just take it one moment at a time.

Remember, there are trusted adults around you that you can reach out if you need someone to talk to. As always, it is most important that you know, you are never alone.

For more tips visit our Toolbox.

The Child Mind Institute and Erika’s Lighthouse have teamed up to create this Virtual Awareness tip.