Did you know that our thoughts are self-fulfilling prophecies? That they define the trajectory our lives will take? Especially in this time of uncertainty, where it’s easy to fall prey to discouragement and despair, the quality of our thoughts is even more important than ever.
Our thoughts are self-fulfilling prophecies because they lead to behaviour that fulfills those thoughts.
In Feeling Fat Can Make You Fat, Meg Selig reviews a study by researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Science and Technology that showed just how powerful our thoughts can be. The researchers found that adolescents who thought they were fat, even though they were not, were significantly more likely to be overweight or obese as adults! And what contributed to their weight gain was not the thoughts themselves, but rather the behavior that these thoughts produced: dieting, skipping meals, and stress caused by negative self-judgment.
“We will constantly alter our relationship with our environment so that our expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies.”
Although these results are from just one research study about how perceived thoughts affect subsequent weight, it shows the power of our thoughts in general: that they are self-fulfilling prophecies because they lead to behaviour that fulfills those thoughts. And many studies show that optimists live longer, are healthier and happier, make better financial plans, and are more successful. Leading neuroscientist, Karl Friston, sums it up nicely in The Prophetic Brain, “We will constantly alter our relationship with our environment so that our expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies.”
What is the quality of your thoughts? Do your thoughts produce behavior that leads to the life you want?