So many thoughts run through our minds at every moment of the day: before sleep at night, when we wake at dawn, while getting dressed, during breakfast, while driving, during discussions at work, on the way back home, while spending time with family and friends – the list is endless and inexhaustible; because the human brain is fashioned to receive, store, and process different kinds of information daily. Such information could be from experiences of fear, anxiety, anger, joy, happiness, etc. This stored information form the basis of our thoughts.

The thoughts that run through the mind can be positive or negative, progressive or retrogressive – this depends on the kind of information previously stored, and the new ones being added to it. While we may not have total control over every thought that flashes through our mind, each person has the choice to either think more about a particular thought or pay little or no attention to such. It is the choice you, as an individual, make in this regard that would determine the effect of the thought(s) in your life, as there is a correlation between a person’s thoughts and the kind of life he or she leads.

So here are five areas of your life that your thoughts affect:

1. Your Self-esteem

Do you have a low self-esteem? Then much of your thoughts have probably been about past failures or some other undesirable circumstances you found yourself in, in the past. It also could be that you have been comparing yourself to others, which has now made you become unhappy with your physical appearance, character, or abilities.

When you spend much time thinking about being like others, or about past mistakes or failures, it decreases your sense of self-worth, which in turn will make you lose confidence in yourself. The resultant effect is that you would not be able to go all out to achieve your goals, as self-confidence is a prerequisite for the attainment of goals. Also, a low self-esteem negatively affects the way you interact with people. It gradually could lead to you being withdrawn from others and thereby lead to a reclusive life.

2. Moral Standard

It has been said that: “your thoughts become words; your words become actions; your actions become habits; your habits become character; your character becomes your destiny.” The thing you constantly think about is what you will eventually become. A lot of people, especially teens and youths, get fascinated about things they are exposed to, that is, the things they see, hear, read, and most activities happening around them. The exuberance of the youths usually pushes them to want to try out those things, and the more they think about it, the stronger the urge they’d feel to “experiment”. Unfortunately, many of the things that fascinate the young ones are unhealthy and could corrupt them in the long run.

Have you been having unhealthy thoughts persistently? Then, it’s time to daily filter the things you get exposed to; otherwise, you stand the risk of becoming morally degenerate.

3. The peace you enjoy

If you regularly entertain anxiety and fear in your mind, then you can be sure you will not enjoy the peace you desire. Anxiety brings about various kinds of unpleasant thoughts which if not resisted, would instantly lead to great fear. Therefore you must do all you can to give no room to such thoughts. Yes, situations that would make you anxious would always come up, but it is the way you deal with that anxiety via your thoughts that would determine your response to such situations – think more about those unpleasant thoughts, and watch fear overcome you; resist them, and you’d see clearly through the situation. The more the positive thoughts you allow in your mind when confronted with difficult situations, the greater the peace you would have, and the easier it would be to overcome such difficulties.

4. Your success or failure

You being successful or otherwise also depend on your thoughts. The success you enjoy in any endeavor starts with you first believing you will make a success out of it. Any contrary thought would discourage you from undertaking such an endeavor.

Also, talk about any step that leads to success, and the huge role thoughts play would be clearly seen. For instance, when you start having big dreams about a particular project and you’re setting your goals for it, it is your thoughts that are at work; when you start out and you are daily taking the necessary steps to achieve your goals, it is also your thoughts that would keep motivating you to work harder; when unforeseen challenges rise up, your determination to continue and your resolve to not giving up would also come from your thoughts. Likewise, when you become lethargic, and you are not working at the needed rate, your thoughts would also remind you of the need to remain disciplined.

Therefore we see from the above illustration that the success anyone would enjoy in life depends on how positive his or her thoughts are. A non-positive thought will not motivate you to be diligent; neither will it help your determination when challenges come your way. So if your thoughts always tend towards the negative, then you might find it difficult to enjoy true success.

5. Your Impact in the life of others

Jackie Robinson said: “a life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” What kind of impact do you want to have in the lives of those around you, those you come across, and the world at large? Do you want to leave a lasting impression in the hearts of people? Do you wish to leave a legacy that generations unborn will benefit from and identify with? Then your thoughts must constantly be in that direction.

If all you think about is how to amass wealth for yourself and attain positions of power without any thought of using that influence and affluence to help others, then you cannot have a positive impact on the lives of people. Like they say, you can’t give what you don’t have. A heart that helps others is a heart devoid of thoughts of selfishness and greed. A helping heart put the interest of others before his or hers and that is the kind of heart that impacts lives.