The Power of Thought

Think. Feel. Do.
Published January 31, 2017

​Every day we have thousands of thoughts that flood our mind. Our brains are constantly awash in words and images, and we rarely stop to give them a second thought. But the reality is that thoughts are powerful and have the ability to set you up for success, or, conversely, undermine your good intentions and efforts.

The power our thoughts have in shaping our reality can be especially true when it comes to weight loss, a time when we can become susceptible to extreme thinking styles that can sabotage success. To make your thoughts your allies and not your enemy, it’s important to take a step back and understand the thoughts we have.

Identifying your thinking style and working to shift your thoughts from unhelpful to helpful can boost your resilience, empower you to feel more sure of yourself, and even improve your mood[i].

The three R’s: Recognize, reframe, replace


The first step in taking control of your thoughts and thought patterns is to recognize objectively the thoughts you have on a daily basis. When a negative thought comes into your mind, identify the situation that brought it about and the feelings that go along with the thought.


Next, reframe the thought. Say it out loud and assess how true it is. Likely a negative thought will be an extreme reaction, and saying it out loud can help you to realize that it is an overreaction.


Use this opportunity to replace the negative language or message of your thought with kinder, more self-compassionate words. Expressing self-compassion can help you to reach your weight loss goals more easily and help you to keep the weight off. Studies have shown that people who are more forgiving of themselves are more likely to eat well, exercise and take good care of themselves, even when stressed.[ii][iii]

Think happy thoughts

You have the power to replace negative thinking with more positive thoughts. Scientists have suggested that a person’s happiness is influenced by three major factors. Your genetics and natural disposition make up 50 per cent, 10 per cent is determined by the realities of your life and the world around you, and 40 per cent is determined by what you do![iv] You have the power to choose to do things that make you happy.

Happy people tend to have better social lives, stronger community bonds, more energy and better health.[v]

Studies have shown that happier people tend to make healthier choices, are more active, have healthy food habits and even sleep better.[vi]

Use knowledge that you have a great deal of control over your happiness to your advantage. Stop negative thought patterns by recognizing, reframing and replacing them with positive words and feelings, and make small shifts in your day to boost your happiness, bit by bit.


[i] Beck, AT (1976) Cognitive therapies and emotional disorders. New York: New American Library.

[ii] Sirois FM Self-compassion, stress, and coping in the context of chronic illness. Self and Identity 2015;14(3):334-347.

[iii] Terry ML et al. Self-compassionate reactions to health threats. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2013;39(7):911-926

[iv] Lyubomirsky S, Sheldon KM, Schkade D. Pursuing happiness: the architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology 2005: 9 (2):111-131

[v] Lyubomirsky S, Sheldon KM, Schkade D. Pursuing happiness: the architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology 2005: 9 (2):111-131

[vi] Boehm JK and Kubzansky LD. The heart’s content: the association between positive psychological well-being and cardiovascular helth. Psychological Bulletin 2012;138(4):655-691