How to Upgrade Your Life by Improving Your Thought Life

Barb Nangle
Published in
18 min readOct 23, 2020

Some frameworks to improve your internal dialogue

Mountain and sky scene with Emerson quote that says, “You become what you think about all day long.”
Photo credit: Samuele Errico Piccarini

Managing our thoughts and our minds is the most powerful way to change our lives. We’ve been taught what to think and why, but not really how to think. When we let our mind go on autopilot, the results can be disastrous. In this article, I illustrate several ways for how to think, and especially how to change your thinking. These frames for “thought work” take very little effort, with monumental payoff. What you think, you become.

A metaphor for the mind.

Imagine the reservoir that provides the water supply in your community being dosed with poison 10 times every day for 20 years. That’s 730,000 doses of poison! Now, imagine you find out that you were the one poisoning the reservoir! Would you stop? Of course! In fact, not only would you stop, you’d probably add an antidote to speed up the purification process.

This is a metaphor for how our minds work. If you’ve been thinking negative things for the last 20 years, you’ve poisoned the reservoir of your mind. If you only had 10 negative thoughts per day (likely a very low estimate), that would equal 730,000 negative thoughts over a 20-year period. That’s a lot of poison!

Stopping the negative talk will eventually purify the reservoir of your mind. But you can dramatically speed up the purification process if you use an antidote to the poison. This is where managing your thoughts and your mind comes in. Counteracting the effects of the “poison” will increase dramatically when you choose your thoughts on purpose. Remember, your mind’s job is to think. It will be thinking about something anyway, so you might as well make them purposeful thoughts!

Fortunately, the “antidote” of purposeful, affirmative thinking is much more powerful than the poison of negative thinking. It will not take 20 years of thought work, 10 times a day to purify the reservoir of your mind. In my experience, the process goes much more quickly than that. But it will take repetition. In fact, repetition may be the most important part of thought work. It’s important to choose positive thoughts (of course), but you need to think them repeatedly in order for them to work. As they say — consistency in small…

Barb Nangle

I’m a boundaries coach who works with women who focus on what others think and neglect themselves. I've coached hundreds using my exclusive BUILD framework.