Psychological tools

In the past sections, we went through common unhelpful thinking patterns that can contribute to one being unhappy. Now that you understand these unhelpful thinking patterns you will be able to recognise such thinking when it happens in your own mind. However, while recognition itself might make you feel better, the real changes will only come when you are able to change unhelpful thinking patterns into more helpful thinking patterns. 

It would have been wonderful if there was a magical brain surgeon who could magically rewire our brains so that we would be able to think in more helpful ways. Unfortunately, such magical surgeons do not exist, and I doubt something like that would be even possible in our lifetime. While scientific understanding of how our brains work has progressed hugely, we still know very little and there is a long way to go before seeing exactly how “thinking” happens. However, luckily for us, the human mind has an amazing power, which is the power to heal itself. Our minds have the ability to analyse our thoughts and change themselves.

So how can one’s mind change itself? This can be done using certain “mental tools”, somewhat like how a car mechanic would use various tools to fix a car not running well. Of course, the tools one can use on the mind are not made of metal! Instead, the mental tools that I will share with you are made of psychological techniques that one can use to change how one thinks. In the next sections of this website, I will share with you these psychological tools which you can use to change your thinking into ways that promote happiness in you (i.e. Happy Thinking!).

Some of the psychological tools will help you better notice when you are thinking in unhelpful ways. i.e. you will become more “sensitive” in detecting unhelpful thinking patterns when it happens in your mind. Other tools will help you to change unhelpful thinking patterns into helpful thinking patterns. 

Some tools will be more useful to use right at the moment that you detect unhelpful thinking patterns in your mind, whereas other tools will be more useful at times when you are able to reflect on how you were thinking on the day. i.e. some tools are “immediate use” tools whereas others are “use later” tools, to be used when you are relaxed. 

When an engineer uses tools to fix a machine, they have to choose the correct tool. Not all tools will be useful to repair a given fault. Also, sometimes, a fault will need multiple tools to be used together. The use of psychological tools is no different. You will need to try various tools to see which one works for you. And also, you may well need to use more than one tool at the same time. 

You may find that some of the psychological tools may appear to be “simple”, and this may put you off. Do not confuse simple as being the same as being “ineffective”! Many solutions in life do not have to be complex, and the key is to try and judge for yourself how useful or not useful something is. Do not prejudge, rather, give the tools a chance before putting them away. 

Unhelpful thinking patterns can develop over many years and get entrenched into one’s mind, making one’s mind resist change. Therefore please give time for the tools to work. Do not expect instant cures.

In the next sections of this website, you will embark on learning about the various psychological tools that I will share with you. As you start your journey, remember to open up your mind to change.

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