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Life is . . . I am . . . People are . . .

Have a think for a moment about your response to these questions. You can answer honestly because no one is listening! So when you have, take a moment to consider your responses. Do they seem right to you? Can you justify them to yourself?

Everyone’s response to these statements will be different, and an individual’s responses might be different at different times. If you are feeling good today your responses may be more positive than if you had just had a stressful day.

The truth is that we each live in our own separate reality; this is a physiological fact. Our brains filter information through the five senses – sight, sound, touch, smell and taste, and then make representations of that information inside our minds. We then experience these representations, first as thoughts and then as emotions. But as we make sense of all this information in our mind, certain bits of the data are inevitably deleted, distorted and generalized. And since we all delete, distort and generalize that information slightly differently, we all have slightly (or sometimes completely) different perceptions of what is going on around us.

In other words, the way in which we think determines what we see, hear and feel, regardless of what is actually going on around us in the world. Or, to put it slightly differently, there’s what happens . . . and there’s what we think about what happens, and the meaning we give to it.

The quality of our thinking impacts how we feel, which in turn affects our behaviour. Difficulties occur when this perception is too rigid or distorted or too negative. In my practice as a cognitive hypnotherapist, most of my focus is on shifting clients’ perceptions to enable more choice in their lives. Distorted thinking patterns can often be linked to past negative experiences which can be reframed. If you find yourself saying to yourself ‘I can’t…’ or ‘I should….’ or labelling yourself ‘I’m useless’, you might be limiting your own potential to achieve things in your life.

What’s the quality of your thinking like? Is that how you want to think?

Catch yourself out and change the quality of your thinking.

Jill Tonks

Jill Tonks

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