5 ways to change your thoughts and be your joyful self!

5 ways to change your thoughts and be your joyful self!

“And s49bd8b547ef08dc22b76ace42c2e4bdb_She’s buying a stairway to heaven.” —Led Zeppelin

Like many of us, I have a Pinterest account. I began “pinning” earlier this year. One of my favorite boards is listed under “Interior Design Staircases.” When I started the board, I entitled it “Authentically Fabulous.” Naturally, I pinned images of interesting staircases to it, and since its inception, I get anywhere from five to twenty “pins” a day about the new boards others created about staircases. I find this fascinating because so many of us associate these beautiful structures with positive feelings such as joy and happiness.

So, when contemplating this article, I began to think of the correlation I could use between stairways and the process of thinking. When I say thinking, I am referring to the hundreds to thousands of thoughts that each of us generates on a daily basis. They are incredibly important because experts in the field of psychology, including holistic practitioners, have found out that thoughts create our feelings. David D. Burns, M.D., is one such expert. He wrote “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy.” It has been considered to be the bible on cognitive behavioral therapy, which is one of, if not the most utilized models available to help people with anxiety, depression and other thought-induced issues.

His premise is based on the fact that if people keep their thoughts positive, their mood will be the same. By using the stairway as a metaphor for this premise, we could say that ascending the stairway is like creating uplifting thoughts, which puts us in a positive mood. Descending the stairway results in negative thoughts and a declining mood. Ultimately, we decide whether we want to take our consciousness up or down.

Most often, many of us think without really thinking. That is to say, by the time we are adults our thoughts are automatic — learned thought patterns and associated beliefs that have been programmed into us from earlier years. So many of those thought patterns are modeled on societal expectations. But today each of us gets to choose and make our own decision on what we believe and think.

“You become what you think most of the time.” —Brian Tracy from 
“Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life: How to Unlock your Full Potential for Success and Achievement”

When I was looking up the lyrics for Stairway to Heaven, I also looked to see if the composers, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, had a specific meaning for their song. They explained in interviews that they didn’t; the lyrics were a matter of interpretation. Many people today fall victim to negative thinking and “buy” into that.

I have spoken with countless individuals who struggle with changing their negative thought patterns into positive ones and stress that the goal is to constantly practice reframing what they think. For instance, if one keeps generating the thought that a situation is hopeless, it can be reframed by thinking that the same situation has endless possibilities instead. This is just one of a hundred ways to reframe just one negative thought.

Reframing your thinking is the first of five ways to positively transform your thought patterns. A second way to change your thinking is to simply set the intention that you will make a positive thought, such as making “all things are possible” your daily mantra. A third way is to suspend any doubt and simply “fake it till you make it”! Do it even if you think you can’t. Fourth, try to notice if you are addicted to negative thinking and make a commitment to acting out the opposite — by only reinforcing the positive. And finally, fear usually lurks behind all negativity — so find specific ways to release your fears!

“As you think, so you shall be.” —Jesus Christ

“Positive thinking is linked to a wide range of health benefits,” according to the Mayo Clinic. They include: “Less stress, lower rates of depression, better ability to cope, better psychological health and an increased physical well-being,” just to name a few.

What do you think? Here is to positive thoughts and feeling joyful — welcome to heaven!

Jill E. Greinke, MSW, LCSW, SAC, is a holistic psychotherapist and transformational consultant specializing in transformational counseling and coaching, group coaching, workshops, teleconferences, presentations, speaking engagements and consultations. To get her free report, “Five Steps to Miraculous Living,” visit her at http://jillegreinke.com.

This article originally posted Natures Pathways Magazine August 2013


  1. I love the staircase analogy, Jill! I often tell clients that, since they cannot be sure why something went a certain way or someone did a certain thing, they may as well put the best possible interpretation on it. Given that we are all making up our interpretations anyway, we might as well select the one that makes us feel the best.

  2. The reminder of Burns sent me looking for his books on my shelf; great resources. This type of information can never get too old, for those lingering thoughts that tend to not benefit anything at all. Whatever brings about good, healthy, positive, helpful, energetic thoughts, are worth having; anything less, just isn’t. Thanks for sharing Jill.


  3. Great post Jill!! Love all the ways you list on how to change your thoughts. It is so true, the more positive we are, the better we feel and we’ll live better lives, creating a ripple effect around us. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  4. As I was reading this blog post, the quote from Martin Luther King, Jr came to mind. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” ~ I think “having faith” is a positive action – which requires a positive mindset.~ It will all work out in the way it’s intended – and we will “see what we see.” ~ So perhaps I don’t need to see the whole staircase. I just need to have faith that each step will be a beautiful experience. And when I reach the top, I’ll be in awe of the journey I’ve taken. ~ Many thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

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