Most of the stress and frustration we experience in life is caused by our own thinking.

We believe there is a certain way our lives and everything in it (including ourselves and other people) are supposed to be.  This list of expectations is actively at work in our lives, whether we are aware of it or not. It is the measuring stick by which we judge and measure ourselves, our lives and others. Our internal list is a thinking pattern which may sound something like this: “I wish she would have…”, ‘it could have been so much better if…”, or “good job, but you should have…”, and the woulda, coulda, shoulda list goes on, and on.  If our list is long, and our standards and expectations are (unreasonably) high, we may get caught in the endless pursuit of the unachievable.  However, by learning to train your brain to think differently, you will improve your ability to make better decisions, and ultimately feel more contentment and satisfaction.

According to Harvey Schoof, Axiogenics Co-Founder, “based on the study of axiology, we know that over 90% of people place too much emphasis on this list, and their perceptions of how everyone and everything in their world should work.”  He goes on to say that “some people have this thinking perspective only slightly out of balance, mildly impacting their lives in a negative manner, however the vast majority of people are extremely out of balance, causing them significant inner conflict and suffering.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

3 Simple Steps to Train your Brain

It is important to know that we are in charge of our list, and here are three (3) things that will help YOU start taking charge of your own thinking now!

  1. Become aware, which you have started doing by reading this article. Notice the “woulda”, “coulda” and “shoulda’s” that come up for you. Listen to the things you say to yourself, this will take practice.
  2. Pay attention to your predominant thoughts throughout the day, the thoughts you wake up with, the ones that pop into your quiet moments, and your thoughts as you go to sleep.
  3. See it and Say it. Instead of letting your predominant thoughts control you, you can make the decision to consciously take charge and look for the good in everything and everyone around you, including yourself.  And then be sure to say something, compliment a friend or stranger, make small talk with the cashier, thank someone for holding the door, waive to the driver who lets you in.  Look for the good, and then say it out loud!

These are not just nice things to do. Practicing these techniques will begin to train your brain to be in charge.  Start by noticing the good around you. Before you know it you will begin to notice your negative self-talk melting away. Changing your thinking habits won’t happen overnight. But, with practice your awareness will begin to improve, and that will make all the difference.


Kristin Clark is a certified Axiogenics Coach, guiding individuals and organizations in leadership development by learning to make better value-based decisions, Linking their Thinking to Create Performance Improvement in their personal and professional lives.  Learn more at: