Have you ever noticed that a single thought can change your mood--can alter the course of your day, maybe even your life? You get up in the morning and look in the mirror and have a negative thought about your appearance. That thought can then become the wallpaper for your whole day!

Someone says something to you. What is the next thing that happens? Before you respond or even before you start feeling one way or another about it--your mind makes a meaning out of what you think you heard. Then, your mind decides to label it 'good' or 'bad'. Then you start to feel something based on what you have decided and finally, your mind chooses (consciously or unconsciously) how to respond.

Most of us have based our present lives on the meanings our minds have made about events in our past. Do you want to change how you feel about your past? You can do this by changing the thoughts you have logged into your mind. I'm not suggesting you deny the truth. When you make a mistake you have a choice. You can say to yourself "I am stupid for making a mistake," or with self-compassion: "Oh well, I made I mistake. Maybe next time I'll do this differently." Often it just means creating a little more space in our minds or choosing a more positive presentation. Want to change your future? You can do that by changing what you are thinking right now.

The first step is to notice what your mind is thinking. Then--dialog with it. Is this the only way to think about it? Is it a thought that supports you or is it a critical thought? When your mind makes a meaning about something that is happening--is it a meaning that will lead to positive change in your life? Thoughts are just thoughts and can be un-thought, re-thought, or changed to ones that works better for you.

If you don't like the 'stories' your mind has made, follow the formula: notice them--dialog with them--change them. However, any story our minds make is limiting, an attempt to nail down and control the uncertainties of life. What if we could just experience our experience, just notice what is going on in us--without making a story? What if we could just welcome all that life brings without labeling it 'good' or 'bad' 'I like' or 'I don't like'?

Author's Bio: 

Leila McKay uses mindfulness and cognitive therapy working with adults and children in her office in Austin, TX and internationally by telephone and Skype. For more information: www.HeartQuestCounseling.com