Does Changing Your Thoughts REALLY Work?

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The first book that opened my mind to the idea that changing your thoughts could change your life was Joseph Murphy's, The Power of your Subconscious Mind. I was 21 at the time and to say that I was a little confused about life was an understatement – I was disillusioned with everything. Although I was at a well-respected university studying a well-respected course, I'd lost all faith in the life I'd been conditioned to live. I was supposed to be out having fun (read getting drunk and experimenting with drugs) but I wasn't. I was supposed to be researching future jobs for my all-important "˜career' but I just didn't care. I was supposed to be full of youth and energy but a string of ailments drained me of all vitality. It seemed that I was trapped. I was barely out of my teens, yet I was having a mid-life crisis.
change your thoughtsThen I discovered The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. In my darkest moments at university I'd tried to figure out why I was so depressed. I'd always believed that my melancholy state was a result of an unfulfilling university experience. This book suggested otherwise. It reversed my thinking and was the first source I'd ever encountered that suggested the opposite – your thoughts shape your reality. The following comment left me intrigued:

Thought is incipient action. The reaction is the response from your subconscious mind that corresponds to the nature of your thought. Fill your mind with concepts of harmony, health, peace and goodwill, and wonders will happen in your life.'

The rest of the book left me inspired. After re reading it a few times, I was experiencing a level of excitement about my life that I hadn't felt since I was a child. So I decided to give it a go. I would commit to the principles in the book and see if changing my thoughts could really change my life.

The Inner Skeptic
At the time, I dreamed of a life transformed by riches, love, success and meaning in the space of 6 months. Feeling the way I did, I was certain that anything was possible. However, a worrying realization occurred to me a few months into my journey. Nothing was happening. Sure, I was feeling a little better and making a conscious attempt to focus on the positives but my life wasn't really changing.
This concerned me. After my rush of inspiration from the book, I was certain there was something to this "˜change your thoughts, change your life' business. However, for the life of me, I couldn't seem to activate the principle. Then I discovered why. As much as I loved the idea and understood the theory, I didn't really believe in it. A lifetime spent living in a system where we're taught to place huge importance on the material had left me deeply skeptical. I just couldn't feel it on a raw emotional level. After all, if I had this "˜answer to life' shouldn't I be elated, happy and ecstatic about what I could now do? I certainly wasn't. It was too much of a stretch for me. How could these intangible impulses in my head have any effect on what was real?
Although I didn't want to admit it, I still believed in the system. Like almost everybody else, I believed that this huge, insurmountable world that I was a part of, governed what was happening in mine, and millions of other people's lives. The system determined the boundaries of my reality and no matter how much I thought about success, if it determined that the kind of success I craved wasn't possible, then it would be so.
With such an outlook, my progress would always be stunted. However, despite my skepticism, I had one good quality "“ dogged persistence. My lack of belief was countered by my determination to master the principles of thought change. What ensued was a battle between these two forces that lasted almost 10 years. Small successes were the determining factor. My skeptical mind needed to see results and as I slowly built the evidence to support my newly found mentality, I began to believe. Eventually, I reached a tipping point. Although my thoughts didn't immediately manifest themselves, I could look back and see how my external reality responded to my habitual thinking.
Lessons Learned    
My 10-year plus journey to change my thoughts, and subsequently my life, has taught me many lessons. I'll now share them with you.
  • Changing your thoughts won't work unless you believe. If you've been struggling to change your life then this might well be the key. You must deny your conditioning. In time, science will catch up with spirituality and somebody will be able to measure the correlation between our thoughts and our lives, but for now you will have to rely on faith. Don't be a skeptic like me. There is already some evidence to suggest that in our purest form we are energy subject to the vibration of our consciousness. Focus on this and not the apparent immovability of the "˜reality' around you.
  • Get excited. This is a sure sign that you are going to be successful at changing your life through changing your thoughts. You're in possession of life's golden ticket. Display an emotional response that corresponds to such a HUGE blessing. If you're struggling with this, ask yourself how you would feel if you won the lottery tomorrow. Overjoyed? Excited? Thankful? Learning that you can change your life through changing your thoughts is bigger than winning the lottery. So get excited, remind yourself daily of what a fantastic discovery you've made and go out and live your life with the kind of energy that will manifest your dreams.
  • Detach your thoughts from the world around you. This is the hardest part for so many people. When you're living in far from ideal circumstances, it can be so difficult to detach yourself from your reality and find a way to feel inspired. It takes a lot of discipline and practice. But above all, you must never let your failures make you believe that the principle doesn't work. Your thoughts will still be shaping your reality, whether you channel them yourself, or allow your environment to take control.      

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About the author

Joe Barnes

Joe Barnes writes for the dreamers. If you're tired of hearing what you want isn't possible, and that you just have to accept life the way it is, then he's got your back. Check out his book, Escape the System Now: Discover your Hidden Power and Live a Greater Life, or have a look at his website for more information. Along with writing, he also works as a hypnotherapist and tennis coach.