When NOT to do Thought Work

Jun 20, 2022

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I 100% believe in thought work but it must be acknowledged: There are times it’s actually counterproductive. In my previous episode, titled Thought Work: The Most Important Work You Can Ever Do, I shared many of the benefits of thought work. Now, as promised, I offer you the flip side.

Before we begin, I want to reiterate that I think everybody benefits from developing the skill of metacognition. Understanding your own thought processes allows you to better relate to yourself and others, fostering more compassion and love. That said, I also firmly believe knowing when to leverage thought work and when to back off is integral to its success. In this episode, I’ll address questions which naturally arise from this position such as: When can thought work be ineffective? When can it be holding me back more than it’s helping me move forward? How do I know when it’s simply not serving me? Let’s examine the answers to those questions as we explore when NOT to do thought work.

“When you’re doing thought work… [and] you’re self-coaching… but it feels painful and you feel almost worse, then I would say you’re sort of doing it wrong… It should feel like an exploration, maybe like an opening or an ‘aha’... not like a boxing match, not like you’re attacking yourself.”  – Dr. Sara Dill

What You’ll Learn 


  • A recap of thought work and its benefits



  • 5 times when thought work doesn’t work



  • Strong emotion
  • Resistance
  • Stubbornness
  • Self-affliction
  • Rationalization


  • 4 times thought work can be unproductive


Trying to…

  • Force an agenda
  • Swap your thoughts
  • Over-investigate the why
  • ‘Fix’ yourself

Contact Info and Recommended Resources

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Connect with Sara Dill, MD, The Doctor’s Coach

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