How Your Thoughts Become Your Reality

This article gives you a glimpse of what you can learn with Shortform. Shortform has the world’s best guides to 1000+ nonfiction books, plus other resources to help you accelerate your learning.

Want to learn faster and get smarter? Sign up for a free trial here .

How do your thoughts influence your life experiences? How can you harness the power of thought to manifest your desires?

Your thoughts become your reality because what you think comes true in a very real sense. This is because your thoughts influence your actions and decisions, which in turn inform your life outcomes.

Here’s how your thoughts become your reality and how you can channel your thinking processes to manifest the life you want.

The Power of Thought

The idea that your thoughts become your reality is at the heart of the Law of Attraction—the New Age theory that you can use your thoughts to attract the things you want. According to Rhonda Byrnes, the author of The Secret, the Law of Attraction is at work at all times, guiding every occurrence in your life. Byrnes claims that you can trace every situation in your life back to what you think about.

For example, you might be in a job you hate and have no prospects for change. If you think about the thoughts you’ve had since starting that job, you can see how they’ve helped create your current predicament. Likely, you often sit at your desk thinking how boring your job is. You may have thought the job was a dead end. You may have thought about how stuck you feel or how you don’t have the skills needed for a better job. 

Those thoughts, based on the Law of Attraction, created a reality where your job was boring. Because you thought you were never going to find anything better, you didn’t. 

So, why is this the case? You wanted a new job, so why does it matter what you think about the current job? The answer is that your thoughts create your reality: What you give your attention to the most is what you will receive. 

It’s like planting a seed in a garden. If you plant a seed that represents being stuck in your job, the only thing that can grow is a representation of you being stuck in your job. To change your life, you have to change your thoughts

TITLE: The Secret
AUTHOR: Rhonda Byrne
TIME: 31
READS: 31.2
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: the-secret-summary-rhonda-byrne

How Your Thoughts Sabotage Your Success and Happiness

In his book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, Joseph Murphy echoes Byrnes’s idea that your thoughts become your reality. He argues that your mind is connected to a powerful force that governs all interactions within the universe. He calls it the “Higher Power” and explains that the negative experiences in your life result from negative thinking. According to Murphy, these negative experiences can manifest in several ways:

Negative Thoughts Create Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

When you allow your negative thoughts to dominate your positive thoughts, you develop unhealthy mental patterns that lead to low self-esteem and psychological problems such as anxiety, addictions, and phobias. These mental patterns prevent you from seeing the best in yourself and others, and they encourage you to develop negative expectations about everyone and everything around you. As a result, your subconscious mind creates failure instead of success and happiness

For example, your habitual negative thoughts make you feel insecure about your relationship with your partner. The more you focus on the negative things that could happen (he’ll leave, he’ll cheat, he’ll get bored), the less able you are to notice what’s working well in your relationship. Instead, you constantly feel threatened and your insecurities make you act in ways that push your partner away (jealous, overbearing, critical). According to Murphy, your fear of abandonment turns into a negative expectation. Your subconscious mind believes this negative expectation and ensures its manifestation by creating circumstances that both align with and fuel your insecurities.

Negative Thoughts Make It Difficult to Access Information

When you struggle to come up with new ideas and solutions, it’s because you’ve blocked your subconscious mind from accessing the information you have stored in your mind. For example, when you’re anxious about an exam, your negative focus blocks your subconscious mind from recalling the information you need to ace the exam. As a result, you feel uninspired and this inhibits your ability to respond to the challenge in front of you.

Negative Thoughts Harm Your Body

According to Murphy, your subconscious mind uses its connection to the Higher Power as a “positive power source” to regulate your bodily functions and keep you in optimum health. When your conscious thoughts align with this force, the positive energy moves freely around your body to heal and rejuvenate you. On the other hand, when your conscious thoughts are out of alignment with this force, you disrupt the flow of energy and prevent your subconscious mind from maintaining your body. As a result, your body suffers from health issues, and it degrades and ages faster than it’s meant to.

TITLE: The Power of Your Subconscious Mind
AUTHOR: Joseph Murphy
TIME: 37
READS: 91.9
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: the-power-of-your-subconscious-mind-summary-joseph-murphy

How to Channel Your Thoughts to Create the Life You Want

Now that you understand how your thoughts become your reality, how do you put this knowledge into practice and channel your thoughts to manifest the life you want? 

Luckily, you don’t have to accept negative thoughts as your unchanging reality. There are ways to rewire your thoughts and channel them intentionally. 

Recite Affirmations

Mantras and affirmations are powerful tools for changing your habitual thinking patterns. A recent study into the effect of mantras confirms that repeating a single word or short phrase quiets your internal critic. Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging to examine the brain blood flow patterns of people who silently repeated a mantra. The imaging showed a reduction of activity across the brain, primarily in the area of the brain that gives rise to internal thoughts—this is the area that generates self-critical and negative thoughts.

To make positivity mantras most effective, mind coach Vex King (Good Vibes, Good Life) recommends creating honest and achievable affirmations, writing them down in your own voice and in the present tense, making them as detailed as possible. For example:

I am a confident, smart person who can handle any challenge that I face. Nothing can bring me down and make me feel negative because I have an impenetrable bubble of positivity surrounding me all the time.

Do Positive Mantras and Affirmations Actually Work?

In his review of scientific literature on positive affirmations, addictions counselor Steve Rose noticed that positive affirmations don’t often work the way we expect them to. Despite claims that affirmations help us battle our worst thoughts and moods, studies show that isn’t totally accurate. One study found that using affirmations we don’t already believe may actually make us feel worse. Another noticed that while listening to positive affirmations may help boost your mood, reading them may lead to unproductive self-reflection

This doesn’t mean mantras and affirmations are useless, but if you find they make you feel worse, don’t force it. You can’t compel yourself to instantly accept something you don’t believe—yet.So when do affirmations work? Rose says they’re better for affirming beliefs you already hold. One study found stating your values or beliefs out loud can boost your motivation or guide your internal compass.

TITLE: Good Vibes, Good Life
AUTHOR: Vex King
TIME: 14
READS: 39.3
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: good-vibes-good-life-summary-vex-king

Visualize What You Want

Visualizing your desired reality is another way to reinforce positive thoughts. In his book Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Maltz recommends setting aside 15-30 minutes a day to visualize and think about what sort of person you would be if you freed yourself from everything that is holding you back—such as your negative self-image, the expectations of others, or specific fears. Come up with different situations and imagine how your “positive and successful self” would react. Make your images as vivid and as detailed as possible. 

For example, if you imagine yourself driving a car, picture yourself sitting in the car relaxed and confident. Notice the small sensory details to make it feel more real—the weight and feel of the steering wheel, the hum of the air-conditioning, the way the upholstery smells, and so on. The most important thing is to feel successful throughout this time.

TITLE: Psycho-Cybernetics
AUTHOR: Maxwell Maltz
TIME: 58
READS: 139.2
BOOK_SUMMARYURL: psycho-cybernetics-summary-maxwell-maltz

Question Your Beliefs About Reality

Everyone has different underlying beliefs about how and why the world functions, and your reality is shaped by these beliefs. So, if you have negative underlying beliefs, you’ll manifest a negative reality. For example, if you believe that people are inherently untrustworthy or that wealth only comes to people who are born into it, this will become your reality. On the other hand, if you believe that most people are good people and that wealth comes to those who work hard, then this will become your reality.

To change your negative beliefs about reality, identify the opposing beliefs and seek out information to prove them. For example, if you believe that wealth is only attainable for those born into it, look up success stories about wealthy people who started with nothing to counter your previous assumption.

Final Words

Thoughts are powerful, but unfortunately, we don’t have full control of everything that comes to our minds. That said, you do have control over which thoughts you entertain and give weight to. So, choose to entertain thoughts that pave the way to your desired reality because what you think comes true.

If you enjoyed our article on how your thoughts become your reality, check out the following suggestions for further reading: 

The Power of Positive Thinking

In The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale says there is no problem or obstacle you can’t overcome with faith and a positive mindset. This self-help classic outlines the practical techniques of applied Christianity to help you take control of the events in your life rather than be directed by them.

Battlefield of the Mind

In Battlefield of the Mind, Joyce Meyer explains that the Devil makes it his mission to corrupt our minds with negative thoughts. Luckily, we have God on our side. Meyer shows us how we can thwart Satan’s attacks and find happiness and fulfillment with God’s positivity as our guide.

How Your Thoughts Become Your Reality

Want to fast-track your learning? With Shortform, you’ll gain insights you won't find anywhere else .

Here's what you’ll get when you sign up for Shortform :

  • Complicated ideas explained in simple and concise ways
  • Smart analysis that connects what you’re reading to other key concepts
  • Writing with zero fluff because we know how important your time is

Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *