Managing my thoughts

Managing my thoughts

Managing my thoughts

So far, you have named your feelings and identified the type of help you might need right now.

Next, it’s time to examine and question your thoughts.

Our thoughts are not always helpful and they are not always true. Learning to question your thoughts gives you back control over the emotions they bring up.

We share three examples of how to question thoughts. Read through them and try the same process with any thoughts that are troubling you.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Many people would say this thought could not be completely true. Why might they say that?

Many people who have failed would not be considered failures. Failing is just part of life:

  • Beyoncé lost the Star Search competition.
  • Bill Gates’ first software company failed.
  • Doctor Seuss’ first book was rejected 28 times.
  • Henry Ford’s first company went bankrupt.
  • Jim Carrey was booed off of a comedy club stage.

Even painful thoughts can serve a purpose. How or why might you delay moving forward by thinking this thought?

If I believe I’m a failure, then I may also believe there’s nothing I can or should do about it. I may not feel like trying again right now.

If someone you loved had this thought, what advice would you have for them?

You might say to a loved one, “Failure is an event that you experience. It is not who you are.”

What is a more realistic and objective thought for you?

  • I failed at something
  • I can try again or do something different
  • I will learn from this failure and use it for future success

Ask yourself the following questions:

Many people would say this thought could not be completely true. Why might they say that?

We all heal and recover from loss and change at our own pace. Accepting that you feel what you feel is a first step. If you have not already done so, go to Where am I now?

With most losses, we don’t get over it, we get through it. We then ease into our new normal.

If we don’t do the work to deal with the loss, the really painful feelings can continue to arise on a regular basis. When we do the work, the painful feelings may arise from time to time but are less likely to interfere with our daily living.

Even painful thoughts can serve a purpose. How or why might you delay moving forward by thinking this thought?

Sometimes we like to punish ourselves for what we feel was our mistake. It’s also true that we may be using this thought as wishful thinking – I should be able to snap my fingers and be over it.

If someone you loved had this thought, what advice would you have for them?

You might say to a loved one, “There’s no rule about how quickly you should be able to move on. One day at a time.”

What is a more realistic and objective thought for you?

  • I’m doing the best I can
  • I’m in the place where I need to be right now as I work through this
  • Many people would have a difficult time dealing with what I have

Ask yourself the following questions:

Many people would say this thought could not be completely true. Why might they say that?

Think about others who have had losses:

  • Freedom – Nelson Mandela
  • Health and mobility – Rick Hansen
  • Job – Oprah Winfrey
  • Marriage – J. K. Rowling

And those who deal with chronic illness

  • Anxiety – Ryan Reynolds
  • Addiction – Demi Lovato
  • Diabetes – Tom Hanks
  • Dyslexia – Richard Branson

Each of these individuals struggled in life. By managing their thoughts, they gave themselves permission to move forward despite their challenges. You deserve no less.

Even painful thoughts can serve a purpose. How or why might you delay moving forward by thinking this thought?

If I believe that my life will never get better, it means I don’t have to take responsibility to make it better. I may not have the energy to do this right now. Check out Increasing my energy.

If someone you loved had this thought, what advice would you have for them?

You might say to a loved one, “I know this is a very difficult time but it will pass and I promise you it will get better.”

What is a more realistic and objective thought for you?

  • My life is not ideal right now but this will pass
  • I need to make changes to improve my life
  • I need to identify what’s wrong so I can begin making it right

Try using the process to question your own thoughts. You can simply write your answers out, think them through or use the form below to type them out and save your work. You can also download this PDF to complete this task.


Now ask yourself the following questions:





Dr. Joti Samra explains how managing our thoughts can change how we feel.

Used with permission from Dr. Joti Samra and My Workplace Health.

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