Today I want to talk about the benefits of thought models, which are so important for coaches to use both with their clients as well as in their personal practice.
What is a thought model?
Let’s step back for a moment to see that a lot of time in our lives is spent in our own mind. We spend time thinking about ourselves and our problems, catastrophising things, judging ourselves, worrying what other people think of us. Feeling confused, scared, overwhelmed.
All of that stuff is related to what you are thinking.
For many years I thought that was just the way things were, and that I had to live with it. What I did was try to escape those uncomfortable feelings by doing varying things. And that’s what a lot of people do, turn to over exercising, drinking, drugs, over eating, over working… all sorts of things to escape those uncomfortable feelings. But the consequences of those things are far worse than dealing with the feelings.
So knowing that we all have uncomfortable feelings, what can we do about them?
There are a variety of models, but the principle is this: at any given moment you have an uncomfortable emotional thought that makes you feel a certain way and the goal of using a model is to pull back from the emotion and to look at things objectively so that you can problem solve them.
For example, let’s say you sent a text message to someone and they didn’t reply. At first you think, maybe they were busy. Then and hour later your are wondering why they haven’t got back to you, maybe they don’t like you, and you somehow invest time and energy to create a story around something where you don’t know the answer.
The point of using a thought model is to pull away from that and look at the facts. When you zoom out and look at the big picture, it calms down your brain and makes it easier to let go.
What we are trying to do is turn from catastrophising into factualising. The models are a tool to take that highly emotive thought or feeling and to bring it down to the simple facts.
So instead of thinking “that person didn’t reply to my text message and they are really rude and don’t like me”, you look at the facts: you sent a text message and they didn’t reply.
You see how different that feels?
It’s easy to get wound up about it and it gets in the way of you doing other more fun and important things in your life. The point of using a thought model is to look at things more clearly so you don’t have that intense emotional feeling around it and you can let it go more easily.
It’s about switching off that automatic, compulsive, emotional reaction and becoming a bit calmer about things.
It’s the little things that you do every day that allow you to create a bigger outcome. For me, the bigger outcome of thought modelling is that any of life’s circumstances have become way easier for me to deal with – I spend way less time in my head, feeling uncomfortable, and I have way less anxiety. This is all because I have been doing this maintenance activity of thought modelling.
9 Benefits of thought modelling
- Dial down intensity off emotion – instead of turning everything into a catastrophe you can dial down the intensity of the emotion.
- Get unstuck – when something goes over and over in your head that stops you from doing something else, or a fear that you have – that’s being stuck. Using thought models can help you get unstuck.
- Rewrite thought patterns – rewiring your mental habits so you don’t go down the negative self-critical spiral.
- Maintain mental well-being – instead of those huge roller coasters you can level things out by talking to yourself factually about everything. You maintain a sense of calm and peace and level head space.
- Take action toward goals – instead of being bogged down with negative though patterns, you can persist until results happen. Thought modelling is so powerful when it comes to helping you take consistent action towards the result.
- Better perspective and less judgement – by stripping things back to the facts you have a healthier perspective, you see both sides of the coin, you can be more objective and therefore less judgemental.
- Feel calmer and more balanced – you train your brain to see the good and the peaceful, rather than what’s not working, and the fear and the pain which create that fight or flight response in the body and keep you in a state of stress.
- Change beliefs – when you say something more neutral and factual (and eventually more positive) to yourself repeatedly, your brain will start to embed that as a new belief.
- Become future self – if you want to make significant changes, you are going to have to become a different version of yourself to adopt the habits of that person that will create that different result. To do this, you’ll need to think differently, as well as act differently. If you truly want to do something different and achieve something big, thought models help you become that future self by practicing the thoughts of the new and improved version of you.
Ready to become your future self?
You may find that thought modelling will change your life. If you’re truly ready to break old habits and get out of the rut I encourage you to check out the Habitology membership.
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