Yeah…Immaeatthat

Apr 21

You don’t have to believe what you think.

I have a therapist friend who says we all have, “monkey brains.” Meaning that sometimes our brains can jump around from thought to thought.  And at times a thought pops into your head and you may be like, “AHHH. Why did I just think that?!”

Now I’m not a therapist, so you can take or leave everything I’m about to say.  But there are certain things I’ve learned that have allowed me to live a better life and I want to share those things with you as often as I can.

One of those tidbits of knowledge is: You don’t have to believe what you think.  

you don't have to believe your thoughts | immaEATthat.com

Many thoughts we think can be distractions.  

We don’t have to latch onto all thoughts.  There are some thoughts we should acknowledge and let them flow by.  We only want to grab onto the thoughts that are in line with our values.

Something I discuss with clients is how their thoughts and feelings can impact their behaviors around food.  

For example, take the below situation…

how your thoughts impact your eating | immaEATthat.com

Now.  

You can’t change the thoughts you have.  Again, we have monkey brains that will come up with completely unhelpful thoughts.  

We just want to start making room for new thoughts.  

For example, if I was to say the nursery rhyme, “Mary had a little _____”.  You would automatically say “lamb.”  That it the first thought you had.  But what if we made room for new thoughts? What if Mary had “a little plane ticket to Bali“?

The idea is to make room for new thoughts so you can interrupt the current unhealthful thoughts-feelings-negative behaviors cycle BEFORE you engage in a particular behavior.  

how your thoughts impact your eating | immaEATthat.com

As humans, we can think about our thoughts.  As far as I know, animals can’t think about their thoughts.  That’s why when I’m on a walk with my dog and she see’s the mailman she thinks, “I have to get that mailman.” She can’t think, “Oh.  Let me see if the thought to get the mailman is in line with my values.”  She doesn’t have the brain development to realize that acting according to instincts and acting according to values typically results in different actions.  Honestly.  I don’t think I realized this when I was in my eating disorder.  I viewed the thoughts I had as facts to live by.  I needed my frontal lobe to develop before I could reason better.

But now I know that as humans, we can think about our thoughts.  And then we can make room for new thoughts when we have self-awareness of where those old thought patterns take us.  

So what does this cycle look like if we can make room for a new thought? See below.

how your thoughts impact your eating | immaEATthat.com 

The first step is having self-awareness.  Realizing how certain thoughts and feelings drive you to act.

The next step is defining your values.  How can you know if your thoughts are getting in the way of living out your values if you don’t know your values?  If your value is being thin…realize you don’t have time for that shit.  Go to a coffee shop.  Sit down for an hour and think about what you value.

When you have a thought, think “is this thought in line with my values? Should I cling on to this thought, or acknowledge this thought and then let it float away?”

If you have a difficult relationship with food and your body, I hope you will look into my online course and see if it is something that resonates with you.

If your value is being thin...realize you don't have time for that shit. | immaEATthat.com

41 comments on “You don’t have to believe what you think.”

  1. Yes! I love your diagrams! That kind of visual would be helpful to me if I was a client. And the last picture is gold.
    A handful of years ago, I had a therapist ask me to write down my values and then write down the behaviors I engaged in, just to demonstrate how they don’t always match up. There is definitely a lot of garbage running around in our minds, so it’s important we don’t act on all of it. 

  2. I LOVE this!! Especially the last one. I think we’re all afraid to admit what things we place “value” on. Nobody wants to admit that they value being thin over other things in life – but the truth is, your behaviors reflect your values, and the more you obsess over your body image, the less time you have to learn and create and make yourself and the world better. 

    THANK YOU for making it so straightforward! Your blog is truly one of a kind.

    • Seriously, Gillian!! I so agree! Just think of all that beautiful, creative brain space we get back when NOT obsessing over our body. Love it.

  3. Seriously, Kylie, I love your posts and your insights.  This is exactly how to train yourself to build yourself up instead of tearing down/cycling into that unhealthy mindset.  We have to talk to ourselves constantly and be our own cheerleader with truth and reason!  

    • I so agree. Our society can make it so hard to surround ourselves with truth and reason. It’s definitely something you have to seek out on your own:)

  4. This is AWESOME!!! Thank you thank you! So cool to think about!

  5. YES! Love this post so so much. Such an important message too. Sometimes we have irrational thoughts about ourselves and recognizing those irrational thoughts is crucial! Not acting on them and engaging in that cycle is so so important <3 

  6. I’m actually reading this while eating oatmeal dough so I think you just get me :)
    I love this and strive for this and hope one day to get there…

  7. This is so great!! I’m going to remember those visuals the next time I have that kind of self talk with myself.

    • Awesome, Kira! Hope it helps. I know for me when I wake up to negative self talk I’ve gotten into the habit of asking myself, “why am I being so hard on myself today?” Helps bring awareness to everything going on in my head/life and makes sense of where the less than ideal self talk is coming from.

  8. amen amen amen and amen

  9. I love this!
    For me, I use similar thinking when I start feeling anxious and to help get myself out of an anxiety spiral. My thoughts tend to start with “something happened, that means I don’t have value” and end with “I’ll end up homeless in a box”. Obviously, none of those things are true, so stopping the cycle is hugely important for me.

  10. This is absolute gold, Kylie! Thanks for sharing!

  11.  Seriously this is what I say to myself EVERY DAMN DAY-  If your value is being thin…realize you don’t have time for that shit.  – love this post! So refreshing to read this kind of truth, it has actually made my day xx

    • I think it’s a great something to say to yourself daily;)) Takes a while to re-train the brain against societies messed up messages and repeating truths daily can be so healing. LOVE getting feedback from you, Kate<3<3

  12. I love this SO MUCH. Your diagrams are beautiful and they help make your point so well! And that last picture is something so many people need to hear. Life is short and there are an infinite number of positive adjectives that are more worth embodying than “thin”. You are incredible and I kinda want to be you.

  13. I love this, although I know it can be so much easier said than done. My therapist used to talk about monkey brain but I admit, as my eating disorder and anxiety manifested themselves, I tended to face much more whirlpool brain than monkey brain–the downward spiral of thoughts that I felt I couldn’t get out of. : ( One thing I would say to anyone with anorexia is that you will think so much more clearly once you are weight restored and eating enough!
    That said–I absolutely love what you’ve said here about being able to interrupt the thought spiral. Even when we have thoughts, we can choose not to act on them. That’s so key to getting to a healthier place!

  14. Kylie, another GREAT blog post. Thabk you, thank you, thank you!!!

  15. I seriously love this! Especially the last part about defining values. I may or may not have laughed out loud at the ‘realize you don’t have time for that shit’ part. Great post. Thank you so so much!! 

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