The Importance of Being Nice

Change Our Thoughts – The Importance of Being N.I.C.E 

By Melanie Medland, Moving Through

Thinking about Thinking

We all know a little kindness goes a long way. Given that what you focus on is what you find, how do you manage when you’re in a mind space that doesn’t lend itself to kindness? How do you get to change your thoughts?
By being N.I.C.E.
We all have the choice to become mindful of our thoughts. That means being aware of the thoughts running through our brains. We have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts every day that makes thought work a big job and overwhelming. My recommended starting point is to look at your feelings. That’s a good starting place, because behind every feeling is a thought.


Notice by asking yourself

“What do I think about that thought?”

If you’re not sure try

“How do I feel about that thought?”

Using the approach of “I know I feel (insert a feeling) about(insert an event)” will help you work out the thoughts that create the feeling.

Let’s use an example.

You may be feeling sad about the fact you had to have a beloved pet put down. The thought behind the feeling of sadness is you will miss your pet so much. Yet, if your pet was old and sick there may also be the thought that your pet was in pain and it was the kindest thing you could do for him/her


Be open minded.

This is a judgement free zone. You’re human. You’ll have thoughts. You don’t have to like them. From the example above, it’s unlikely that you are simply sad about the loss of your pet. There are probably a myriad of feelings and thoughts running through your mind and your body. It can be useful to capture some of them. Aim to notice your top five.


Bring a spirit of detective like curiosity to that thought.

Ask yourself

“Why, exactly, do I think that?”

The thought may be trying to get you to notice something. Perhaps the loss of your pet as an adult brings up unresolved grief issues from a childhood loss. This issue may have buried deeply within yourself, almost forgotten as it waits to be acknowledged


Explain to yourself, your partner, a trusted friend or a coach. Dig deep as you look for an answer. If you’re stumped jot it down then come back to it later. What if you don’t like the answer you’re getting? Fantastic. There might be an excellent reason which is going to invite space for an enormous amount of personal growth.

The more aware we are of our thoughts the more chances we have to respond, not react. When we can respond to others we are able to be more intentional. Our response can arrive from a place of love and kindness.

Metacognition, thinking about thinking, was not taught to us at school and unlikely modelled to us by our parents. It takes time to uncover and unravel our thought processes. To see your thoughts right there in front of you is a gift. Why? Because once you know what they are you can choose to keep them or to acknowledge them before you let them go.

It all begins with your thoughts; they’re like a box of chocolates.

You can choose the one you want to think.

Thoughts are like a box of chocolates.

If you don’t like the one you got, pick again.

This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.

Moving ThroughMelanie Medland is an ANZCAL accredited Life Coach, passionate parent of 3 teenagers and the founder of Moving Through.

After her eldest daughter was diagnosed with suicidal anxiety and depression in 2018, she spent six months nursing her through her illness successfully and now shares her hard won experience and knowledge with other parents who are facing similar battles.  Find out more by visting Melanie’s website