Let’s disentangle the concepts underpinning the idea of the human belief system. Cogito, Ergo Sum, In English: I think; therefore, I Am.
These 3 Latin words owe multitudes of meaning that have been interpreted a countless number of times by writers, poets, and critics. Here I’m going to add one more dimension to it.
- I think, therefore I am; healthy, happy or … sick and devastated.
I am one of those who believe that people are neither good nor bad. They just oscillate between the two poles. It is our thinking and belief system that makes things and people good or bad for us. Thinking is a process; round the clock and across the lifespan.
Psychologists believe that humans never stop thinking except when asleep (although the last thoughts before deep sleep linger in our sub-conscious as dreams).
Our thoughts, belief system, and expectation are the brushes that not only paint the reality of our own life but carve the shape, intensity, and nature of others around us. Your thoughts not only dwell between you and your self; these are the signals that you constantly and continuously radiate to the whole universe.
We, human beings are radars
But do we have evidence of our radar-like behavior? Plenty! Here is one; Robert Rosenthal, and Lenore Jacobson did an insightful experiment on a belief system in an elementary school of California. They went on to investigate how the positivity of thoughts and expectations of teachers towards their pupils impacts the real-time performance of students.
From a cohort of newly admitted students, the teachers were asked to identify -based on intuition – the students which they expect to perform well. The students they expected would get higher grades were assigned to those teachers (while the students were unaware of the experimental design).
When they evaluated the students eight months later, they found that the students who were believed in by the teachers surprisingly outperformed their peers. The kids got smarter by the mere fact that they were thought and expected to be smarter. Incredible stuff, right?
The cause of every incredible happening is our belief system
In fact, a belief system is nothing but aftermath of thought in repetition. Often, psychologists argue that your current beliefs and thoughts can potentially predict the pattern of your near future.
A convincing piece of scientific evidence appeared when in a behavioral study in the United States of America, 30,000 adults answered questions like, “how much stress have you experienced in the last year?”; “do you believe that stress is harmful to your health?”
After eight years of consecutive interviews from those respondents, psychologists analyzed the public death records to confirm that people who used to experience a lot of stress and perceived stress as a health-damaging factor had a 43% higher probability of dying earlier. Now, the purpose of sharing this study is not to induce stress about the stress but to make you rethink how your thoughts shape the condition of your life.
Establish a positive belief system; you’ll receive vibes of positively from life
Unfortunately, there is no perfect recipe for inducing positive energy in life. However, there are ways and practices advised by behavioral psychologists using which we can brush away the black clouds of stress and negativity and enlighten ourselves to a better state of positivity. Here are four quick tips to start reshaping your thoughts right away.
Events may be uncontrollable, reactions are perfectly controllable
Yes, bad things happen – to almost all of us. importantly, we have potentially no control over the events happening around us. But what we can control is our reaction to the event, and this is what actually matters. By constantly thinking of stress and bad events, we build a negative momentum of thoughts.
Instead, it is advisable to stop talking about such events. Try to find a lesson or blessing in it for you. And if you can’t, try to focus on other things. Whatever has happened is now part of the past, don’t let the past take control of the present.
Do not advertise your sufferings
We have scientific evidence to prove that the more you talk about something – be it positive or negative – it accordingly affects your psychological and physical health. Many psychologists believe that it is one of the human instincts to advertise pain to gain sympathy. Suppress this instinct.
If you keep telling a patient that he doesn’t look well, he is most likely to remain unwell. Indulge in positive conversations. Instead of saying, “I am terribly ill,” say, “I was really ill, but I’m glad I am getting better every day now.” Say good of yourself, therefore you will feel good of yourself.
- Do not let others manipulate your belief system
When you think and talk too much about what others did, you are letting them command your belief system and inducing stress. Trust me, you do not want this; If somebody hurts you, do not value them by constantly thinking of them and what they did. There is a lot around to you to admire and praise.
Know what you love to do and Do It!
Consider what many behavioral psychologists stress upon, “expression is the essence of life.” Find what you love to do – writing, singing, painting, sports – and do it. Besides, when you do what excites you, you express yourself. Expression lets you settle down, attracts others towards you and breaks the momentum of negatively inside you.
Our belief system and thoughts are very important. Let’s spare a thought for them!
Amna is a final year student of BS (Hons.) in the Department of English, Bahauddin Zakariya University. She is an enthusiast with the motivation to read and write on human behavior