It is easy to blur the line between thoughts vs. thinking. One can easily argue that they are so similar, they are almost the same thing. The fact is, there is a very clear delineation between these two concepts. While for some of us, they may become the same thing, it is in understanding the difference allows us to be more in control of our conscious reality. Thoughts are nouns. They are not an act, but rather are a product, usually of our environment, our upbringing, our concepts of the world, and other influencing factors. Thoughts are patterned and can become very habitual. They may be automatic or reactionary, but they are an object of what happens internally, not an action that we practice. Thinking is a verb. Thinking is an active state, requiring mental effort and consciousness. It requires the individual to be aware and cognizant of their thoughts and to critique their thoughts. When we are actively thinking, we look for coherence in our thoughts. If they do not exhibit coherence, then we are able to use the act of thinking to change them. This is when we have to opportunity to learn and grow and gain new insight or intuitions. In last month’s posts, we reviewed the power of positive thoughts. In the New Year, many of us may have begun to pay closer attention to our thoughts, or our internal dialogue, the endless stream of thoughts in which our reality exists. We may have started to notice the times that we have negative or critical thoughts. In our relationships, we might have noticed that we automatically jump to conclusions because now our thoughts about our partner and what they mean has become a patterned response and reaction. But we might be stuck. How do we move forward and change these thoughts? How do we make them positive? The answer is in positive thinking. Thinking is an action and is not something that happens to us, but rather is something that we do. It is only through thinking that we are able to discover the places where there exists a lack of coherence in our thoughts and we can begin to move forward to create new habits and patterns of thought. There exists both a psychological and a neurochemical basis in our thinking and thoughts, which both play a role in our ability to reach the fruition of having positive thinking and positive thoughts. If we have had patterns of thought that have existed for a long time or if we have functioned at a physical deficit of certain neurochemicals in the brain, it may take effort and time to effect lasting change in our thinking and our thoughts.
Written by: Nicole Schultz, Psychiatric ARNP