Tips for Purposeful Thought

  1. Let your thought be thank you.
  2. Focus on what we have rather than what we lack.
  3. Always think of your day as a beautiful and happy one.
  4. Think simple and do not over complicate. Overthinking is destructive.
  5. We are worthy to receive the best in life.
  6. Give attention to feeling good.
  7. Do not let insecurity affect your life, rather find solutions for them where you can
  8. Avoid negative people.
  9. Do not judge or compare.
  10. Do not fight circumstances beyond your control.
  11. There is nothing worth being frustrated or angry with.

Quotes about the power of purposeful thought

“One small positive thought in the morning can change your entire day.”

Deli Lama XIV

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old but building the new.”


“The hole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.”

Albert Einstein

“Nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespeare



“Believe that your life is worth living and you belief will help create this fact.”

William James

“Nothing binds you except your thoughts, nothing limits you except you fear , and nothing control you except your beliefs.”

Marianne Williamson

“It’s not the situation that is causing your stress, its your thoughts, and you can change that right here and now. You can choose to be peaceful right here and now. Peace is a choice and it has nothing to do with what other people think.”

Gerald G. Lampolsky (MD)


“The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.”

Norman Vincent Peale

“Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.”

Denise P. Kimbro


Character Dimensions

In order to be a well-balanced individual we need to spread the focus of our lives across multiple facets of our personality. Naturally if we focus too much on one area then we will experience significant mental distress if that dimension falters. If our focus is spread across multiple dimensions we have a stronger foundation for our life and will not fall apart if one area does not meet our expectations


There are various different guidelines for physical health. Exercise has been shown to be more effective than any anti-depressant. The current guidelines to maintain your physical health and safeguard against dementia are 5 * 30/40 minute sessions a week of aerobic exercise and 2 sessions of strength training.


Spirituality is often confused with religion but the overarching notion of spirituality is that there is a life force in the universe that we can draw upon. In religion the universal force is God. Similar modalities are qi (energy in Chinese medicine) and reiki energy.

Although the number of practicing Christians in the UK is falling,  faith in God is actually beneficial to our health. Studies suggest that faith in God and heaven is an evolutionary advantage for sentient beings because it assuages our fear of death. An area of the brain linked to faith and religions belief has been identified and given the moniker of the ‘God Spot.’  Countless studies have also identified physiological benefits of individuals who pray or meditate. Studies have also shown that the is a statistically significant effect on the recovery of hospital patients who are prayed for.


Manage your spending so that your outgoings match your income.


Keep yourself challenged intellectually. Learning a new language is a good example as this will not only challenge you intellectually but bilingual indivuals



Do you have a plan for your career? Set yourself short, medium and long term goals. Goals and targets need to be SMART and re-assessed and evaluated on a regular basis


Quality of Life


Make an inventory of the personality traits, positive and negative. The following personality traits are taken from guidelines for recovery from addiction. These traits also apply to anyone recovering from a life crisis.


Life Vision

What is your vision for your life? Create a vision board. Review it regularly and add new pictures. You are more likely to manifest a vision that is clear and focused

The Wise Man Accepts

In psychological terms, one crisis-survival skill is distraction. A selection of distraction techniques have been described in such a way that they can be remembered by the acronym ACCEPTS. The techniques are also referred to as ‘Wise Mind Accepts,’ and this phrase will help you find relevant information if you search online. The distraction techniques are listed below.  Some of the strategies may sound glib or trite, assuming you have limitless money and time to do them. They are, however, just a guide and the aim is to tailor the idea to see if it has potential to help you.

Distract with Activities:
Do hobbies, watch a video, go for a walk, play a sport, cook, garden, go fishing, go shopping.

Make a list of your activities and put it someone easy so you can find it in a hurry.

Distract with Contributing:
Contribute. Do volunteer work. Babysit so a friend can go out. Do something nice or surprising for someone.

What have you done this week to contribute? What can you do next week to contribute? Plan something in advance. This takes you away from your pain and puts your attention on your concern for someone else.

Distract with Comparisons:
Comparing yourself to other people can be useful if it is positive. I personally do not find this helpful as it is too easy to fall into comparing yourself to someone ostensibly better off. It also consolidates the view that we are individuals rather than a collective consciousness. This latter perspective does not sit well with Western society. This viewpoint, however, has been the foundation of Eastern techniques including meditation, whose medical value has been statistically verified by Western researchers, for many hundreds of years.

What do you think about comparisons? What comparisons would you find useful to improve your mood? Would it make you feel grateful to compare yourself to someone in a war-torn country or would it make you feels worse? If  you can find any comparisons helpful for yourself (e.g. I am better than I was last year) make a list of keep it handy.

Distract with opposite Emotions
The premise of this distraction is to shake up your feelings and move yourself to a different emotional state. For example, if you are sad or angry, watch a comedy, listen to silly music, sing and dance around on your own.

Try and identify the emotions that trouble you the most and consider what activity has the potential to move you out of that emotion. Notice that the word emotion contains the word ‘motion.’ This can be used to help remember that are emotions are not static and can be moved or changed.

Distract by Pushing Away a distressing situation

The basis of this technique is to give yourself a break from the painful situation you are in while still feeling safe that you are managing the issue and not hiding/avoiding. A common method which works well for people is to mentally put the problem in a locked box in your brain. In this way you can temporarily ‘shelve’ the issue to alleviate the immediate distress. You are not dodging or avoiding the issue either as the problem is still in your ‘to-do’ list; you are choosing not to look at it at the present time as it is unhelpful and can revisit it a later date if you feel you want to.

In may cases a period of time away from the painful situation can change your perspective of its severity. It also has less of a grip on you as you have chosen when to shelve it and when to address it.

What metaphors or mental techniques do you think will work for you? As with everything this may take practice or you may need to try other mental scenarios. Alternative it just might not suit you.

Distract with other Thoughts

The typical examples given for this technique are crosswords and puzzles, counting things and writing a journal. I believe that to be truly versatile, the thoughts need to be something you access whether you are at home or in public. One option is a vision board with pictures of your hopes and dreams and the things you love. You can consolidate this by keeping a list of positive thoughts with you when you go out. This can easily be done on your phone with apps for making flash cards. For example, I have a card carrying a list of hobbies and skills I would like to learn and activities I enjoy. If I find my mind being invaded with unwanted thoughts I can (sometimes) distract myself by imaging what potential outcomes could come from my hobbies and activities. Sometimes I sketch it on paper; the activities branch into as many outcomes as I can think of whether they seem realistic or not. I call this the Tree of My Life.

Can you compose a list of positive things to distract yourself with such as a personal goal or dream? Can you think of some other ways of distracting with thoughts?

Distract with other Sensations.

Any strong physical stimulus such as a cold bath, very loud music or snapping an elastic band on your wrist can break your connection to the mental pain you are experiencing (this is one of the reasons people use self-harm as a coping mechanism for mood disorders). Crystals can be useful to distract you with touch and sight when you are out. Small portable roll-on fragrances which can be carried in your pocket are now sold (about £4) to distract people with smell. Smell is the most emotive of our senses and if you can use a specific smell as an anchor by smelling it when you feel positive it is possible to improve your mood by simply smelling the positive fragrance.

Can you think of anyway you can distract yourself with sensations? It is harder to find examples when you are out.


Debating and Evidence

Questions to ask yourself to challenge your negative thoughts:

Is this a thought or fact?
What evidence supports the thought?
Is there evidence to the contrary?
How do I know this belief is true?
Are there facts I am ignoring or dismissing?
Are there other possible explanations?
How realistic are my thoughts or beliefs?
Are there other ways of thinking?
What would a trusted friend think?
What would I think if I was not depressed?
Does it help me to think this way?

Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Mental Filter
This involves a tunnel vision typically looking at the negative parts of a situation and forgetting the positive.

Jumping to Conclusions
We jump to conslusions when we assume we know what someone else is thinking (mind reading) and then make predictions about what is going to happen in the future (predictive thinking).

This involves blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong even when you may be only partly responsible or not responsible at all.

This occurs when we blow things out of proportion and see something as dreadful when in reality the problem is quite small.

Black and White Thinking
This involves seeing one extreme or another and not seeing any in-betweens or shades of grey.

Should and Must
These are statements often based on our core beliefs that we should or must be able to do. They are often unrealistic and put unreasonable pressure on us.

When we overgeneralize we take limited instances from past history and extrapolate to  future situations. We do not consider the alternative that every day is a new dawn.

We label ourselves and othes when we make global statements based on our behaviour in limited situations. We get into the habit of using this label even when it doesn't apply.

Emotional Reasoning
This occurs when we think that the reality of a situation is the same as our mood. Just because we feel bad doesn't mean something bad is going to happen.

Magnification and Minimization
In this thinking style you magnify the positive attributes of other people and minimize your own. Similarly you minimize the negative aspects of other people and magnify your own.