Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Teach Your Mind to Work for You

OK, so now we get into what my dad used to call, "The Hard Work of Change" We've talked about why we think like we do and how that affects us in every area of our lives. So now we are going to look at how do we change the way we think. The two key words to this is "Hard" and "Work." Not to discourage anyone but we need to be realistic. We have spent all of our lives thinking a certain way, we have ingrained patterns of thinking - habits of reacting a particular way so it only makes sense this isn't going to happen overnight.

I have been working on this for quite awhile and I still at times fall into old thought patterns, the difference is I know it pretty quickly if not right away so I don't stay there as long as I used to. I know if I do the result is only going to be harmful to me.

We all have different areas of struggle but these tools will help no matter what your particular toxic thinking may be. The key to remember is that your mind will either work for you or against you - it's up to you to train it in the right direction.

One of the first and most obvious things we need to change is to make an intentional decision to think positively. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a leading Neuro-Metracognitive learning specialist and committed Christian, says that the "human brain takes eighteen years to grow and a life time to mature" The good news is that you don't have to be stuck in old thought patterns, your brain is in the continuous process of maturing.

I'm not going to go into all the benefits of positive thinking because I think most of us know that - we get how good it is for us but how do we do it on a constant basis? In our next few posts I'm going to give some practical tools that will help in this process. But for today lets begin at the most basic part of changing our thought process, Joyce Meyers calls it "on purpose thinking" secular therapy calls it, "Challenging and correcting self-defeating thoughts." Its all the same, it's becoming very aware of our thoughts, what triggers them and then challenge and correct them.

The best way to start this to log on a piece of paper for a week what your "automatic" thoughts are, especially when they are connected to a distressing emotion, such as anger, sadness or worry.

So this is how you do this:
Begin a "Thought Journal" Divide your paper into 3 columns, 1. the situation 2. your feelings, 3. Your automatic thoughts. As you go through your day and you experience an unpleasant emotion, see if you can identify the situation and the thought that went with it.

"For we are God's (own) handiwork (His workmanship) recreated in Christ Jesus, (born anew)that we may do those good works that God predestined (planned beforehand) for us (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time) that we should walk in them (living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live.) Ephesians 2:10 amp

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