Posted on Jan 05, 2018
We ask ourselves many questions each day. This is usually in response to something that is happening in our lives. When you are feeling hungry, it could be as simple as asking ourselves what is for lunch. While encountering a thought provoking moment, one might ponder on life's greater questions, like "What is the meaning of life?". We might dwell in these questions for varying amounts of time, but will usually settle for a somewhat satisfactory answer. What's interesting to note is that, it's been found that the way we think affects how we feel. When a person thinks to himself "My life is meaningful right now!", he will then be feeling content and fulfilled as a result. On the other hand, when a person thinks "I don't contribute anything to others, and my life has no meaning", the most likely result of that would be feelings of sadness and anxiety.
As such, by changing the way of asking questions to ourselves (and figuring out the answers to them), it could completely transform the way that we think, and as a result, the way that we feel!
This person became famous for thinking a lot and asking the right questions. This method, Socratic questioning, is named after him.
When faced with a difficult situation, it is within our human nature to look for the evidence that supports our distorted view, rather than to look at the situation from a non-biased perspective. We tend to believe that what we think and feel is right, without taking the time to examine them. For example, when a person has just bought an ice cream, and it fell on the floor, this person might be thinking "Bad things always happens to me!", and proceeds to feel angry for the next 5 minutes. However, is this completely true?
A good practice will be to ask some constructive questions during times when you encounter situations that aren't going your way. By doing so, you are taking charge of your own thought process, and making yourself a master of your own destiny, rather than a victim of circumstance!
Let's take a look at the ice cream situation again.
Situation: Just bought an ice cream, and it falls on the floor.
Thought: "Bad things always happens to me!"
Consequence: Angry for the next 5 minutes.
In this situation, ask yourself these questions:
1) What is the evidence that this is true?
The ice cream fell on the floor, I slipped and fell last week.
2) What is the evidence that this is not true?
Teacher complimented on my good work last week, my parents congratulated me on a job well done for my exams.
3) What is the advantage of thinking this way?
4) What is the disadvantage of thinking this way?
I spend my time feeling upset, which makes my time not enjoyable. The reason I bought an ice cream is to enjoy the moment, and by being upset over what happened, I'm achieving the opposite!
As you can see, the goal of asking these questions is not to have an overly positive view of what had happened. Instead, these questions are used to offer a realistic view of what had happened, rather than to be overly involved in our initial thought process. By doing so, we see things as it is, and as a result, would only be emotionally affected to the extent of what the situation is supposed to cause.
Indeed, making this a habit will be difficult at first, especially when we've been listening to what our thoughts has been saying for such a long time. As the saying goes: "Rome wasn't built in a day", and similarly, asking the right questions can transform your life, but only with regular and consistent practice!
Feeling down and in the dumps? Begin writing your thoughts down, and begin asking the right questions. It'll change your life.