Photo credit: Ales Krivec @

Why Thought Matters

Are your habitual thought patterns helping you live a life of joy and success or do your habitual thoughts sabotage your success and happiness?

In this post, you’ll learn a simple, effective way of becoming aware of your individual negative and positive thought patterns and how to elevate your thought awareness to see the bigger picture for greater clarity, success, and happiness.

Habitual Thoughts Attract More of the Same

We are creatures of habit. Circadian rhythms and the biological clocks that drive them affect physiological processes in multiple ways.

But what of thought? Do we have repetitive thought patterns that drive our emotions and perceptions of reality moment to moment? Are repetitive thought patterns “hard wired” or — like rainwater creates ever deeper grooves in the downward sloping hill with every storm — do our habitual thought patterns create the neurocircuits that become unquestioned “truth”?

In the 1990’s, Standford University professor Dr. Carla Shatz summarized the key aspect of something called the Hebbian theory with the sentence, “Cells that fire together, wire together”. The Cliffnotes version of the Hebbian theory tells us that the more frequently brain activity is repeated, the more likely it will repeat ongoing.

As a Man — and Woman — Thinketh

Photo credit: Yanko Peyankov

What does this mean for managing brain, mind, and thinking? If our habitual thoughts are positive and uplifting, life feels good. We are better people in virtually every way.

If, however, they are habitually negative, life feels like a difficult never ending struggle. Habitual negative self-talk sets the stage for an overall negative life view about virtually everyone and everything.

What can we do? Is there an easy, gentle way out of those deep crevices of negativity?

Climbing Out of the Negativity Crevices

Start by paying attention to your thoughts. Schedule 1-minute periods of thought attention time three times a day. For that 1-minute, simply notice without judgment what thoughts come and go. Jot them down and then return to your normal activity.

At the end of the day, revisit your thought log. Consider each log entry. Is it predominantly positive, neutral or negative? Notice how you feel as you revisit each thought.

Pick one negative thought and sit with it without judgment. Just be with it and notice what happens. After about 30 to 60-seconds, ask yourself, “Is there another way of looking at this?

Then ask, “If I look from a higher elevation, can I see, hear, feel, and understand the situation differently?

Finally, ask, “Is there a positive aspect or opportunity hiding within the original thought? If so, what is it?” Sit silently for 30 to 60-seconds and notice what your subconscious serves up.

You’ll likely find the meaning of the thought changes. You’ll also notice your feelings experienced during the original thought also change.

What are the Benefits?

Applying this 1-minute thought tracking technique has two benefits: first, you are training your brain to be mindfully aware of your thoughts. Mindfulness — or paying attention to what is actually happening in the here and now — is one of the best ways to lower stress and calm your racing mind. Secondly, you’re developing a new habit — a habit of looking and thinking in a far broader and powerful way compared to habitual patterns.

Have patients as you engage with this new practice. Your existing habitual patterns developed over decades. It’s worth investing less than 10-minutes a day to build new mental muscle and thinking skills.

For more stress releasing and success methods, visit us at


Stephen Carter
Stress Solutions, LLC

p: 804–677–6772 | e: | w:

Important Note: This and all other postings to this blog along with any statement or statements made in any podcast, audio, or video associated with this site and on any site associated with Stress Solutions, LLC are for informational purposes only. This and all other written posts and statements in any audio or video recording associated with this blog, Stress Solutions, LLC, or Stephen Carter are not intended to diagnose, treat, or otherwise recommend any treatment for any medical or psychological condition. Anyone using any of the information contained in this or any other posting, audio or video recording linked to this website or blog, or associated in any way with this website or blog, with Stephen Carter, or with Stress Solutions, LLC does so at his or her own risk. You are urged to seek competent medical consultations with appropriate licensed medical professionals for any and all medical, psychological, emotional, or physical issues.