I practice Cognitive Therapy, I believe that how we think influences how we feel and how we behave. The cognitive model begins with our thoughts. This means that if we want to change our behavior and emotional responses, we can do so by changing the way we think.
Does this sound familiar? You tell yourself everyday you are going to exercise. You will go to the gym, or for a walk or run. But, somehow it doesn’t seem to happen. You get busy, you are too tired, or you just forget. If you thought about it right now, what goes through your mind when you think about going to workout? Maybe it goes something like this,” I am too tired. “ I don’t want to go by myself.” “I have had such a hard day and I just want to rest.” How do these thoughts make you feel? Sad, down, and maybe mad at yourself? Your negative thoughts cause your negative feelings. Think about how you just gave yourself permission not to go to the gym. What will happen when you get home? You will probably have an unhealthy dinner, watch too much tv, feel bad because you didn’t go to the gym and because you ate too much.
Now, picture this. You are done with work after a long day. And you know you have to get to the gym. You tell yourself, “Yes! It’s time for me now! I really need this workout after today! I am so psyched about going to sweat the stress out! No excuses! I am going to do my workout today!” Now, how do you feel? Excited! Happy! Chances are you are going to have a great workout, feel better afterwards, have more energy, come home and eat a healthy dinner. Here your positive thoughts caused positive feelings.
This was an easy example for me as it happened to me just the other afternoon. I was going back and forth in my mind about whether or not to go to the gym. I finally got dressed and went. Afterwards, I was so happy that I had gotten myself to the gym to work out because it made me feel so refreshed and good about myself! Talking back to the negative thoughts is a great tool to help you in these situations. If you really listen and start to identify the negative thoughts, you can talk back to them and not only change the way you think but also how you feel and behave.[xyz-ihs snippet=”Blog-Post-CTA”]