The one thing that can turn your negative thoughts to good…Plus 8 tips for cultivating a positive frame of mind

FIELD

COURSE

So my Michael and I are walking down a country lane, determined to boost our endorphins by getting some exercise in the bright sunshine.

“We’re also making Vitamin D,” he says with a grin.

“I’m not so sure,” I say, noting that nearly every square inch of me is bundled against the chill. {O Summer, wherefore art thou?}

BUNDLED

I have slept VERY little in the last two nights and I am sluggish in body and soul. With every step my thoughts spin further down, all negative and fearful.

“I’ve been worrying too much lately,” I confess.

“Yes you have,” he says.

Then I give voice to my negative thoughts in an effort to diminish their grip on me, and in hearing myself speak them out loud I recognize them for what they are.

Fear-fueled lies.

“What would you say to a woman you were mentoring if she said what you just said?” he wisely asks me. He often poses this question which makes me dig a little deeper and think harder, helping me sort things through and find my way out of the dark place.

“I would tell her that she can change her negative thinking. Right now. Right in the midst of the downward spiral,” I say, “by making a choice to change and think more positively on other, better things.”

Choosing this repeatedly until it becomes your new groove, even though it can seem impossible to begin, helps banish negative thinking for good.

Regardless of how you or I may feel we still have the power to choose what we think. And since we readily believe what our brains tell us, choosing carefully is not only prudent, but obedient.

Here is a last piece of advice. If you believe in goodness and if you value the approval of God, fix your minds on the things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good. Model your conduct on what you have learned from me, on what I have told you and shown you, and you will find the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8 J. B. Phillips

CHIMNEY

Simply put, the one thing you can do to get rid of your negative thoughts for good is to begin by making a choice.

I don’t know about you, but my struggle with negative thinking intensifies in the winter.

Too much dark, and I’m not talking chocolate. And too much cold. It throws my circadian rhythms off and disturbs my sleep. And that sets me up to more easily entertain the wild beasts that come running at me from the cages in my mind as soon as my eyes open, or maybe have been dancing along my neural pathways through the wee hours of wakefulness. 

{And of course, if your negative thoughts are significantly more than mild SAD-induced variety, please seek out a mental health professional today. This can help!}

In addition to choosing to think more positively, here are action steps that help me ascend from the pit. They can get you to the brighter side, too.

  1. Keep your brain and heart flooded with God’s truth each day. Even if you only have five minutes to spare in the morning, make reading the Bible a ritual. A great site when you’re on the go is BibleGateway.
  2. Take a news fast. While I’m not advocating that you completely ignore world events, you don’t need to gorge your mind all the time with graphic images. Set some limits for yourself.
  3. Conduct a self-inventory. Ask the Holy Spirit, who is your best counselor, to show you the areas of unrest in your soul. Dig a little deeper to discover the roots of your unrest that contribute to your negative thinking. Perhaps you bear a grudge against your husband, mother or former friend? Confess to God what is revealed as sinful and then choose to fill your heart and mind with truth that will keep you free.
  4. Remember! Humans are by nature forgetful. You make a decision to turn yourself around but your hurts, habits and hang-ups are so deeply ingrained that you can’t seem to stay out of your rut for more than short periods of time. When you fall back into negative patterns you berate yourself, lose hope that change is possible, and perpetuate the cycle that gets you nowhere. One thing that helps me remember is neon bright Post-its. I make tiny cue cards for myself and post them where I can’t ignore them like the edge of my computer screen or my bathroom cabinet. Plus, all those jots of color makes me happy, too.
  5. Hear your thoughts. When you find your thinking going in the wrong direction tell yourself to STOP! Say it out loud. Speak out your silly thoughts either to yourself or someone else, like I did on my walk with Michael. Hearing what you are thinking helps you realize the negative thoughts are not rational.
  6. Feed your brain. Eating healthy improves overall health and that includes your gray matter. Brains benefit from a diet rich in omega 3s, Vitamin D and B vitamins. Foods like salmon, walnuts, avocados, blueberries, green tea and yes, dark chocolate (85% organic and fair traded) are all great choices. Reducing Candida in your digestive system can also improve your mood and thinking. There’s a reason your gut is referred to as your “second brain.”
  7. Hug and hug some more. Hugging a loved one not only strengthens your immune system, but boosts oxytocin and serotonin levels, making you feel less lonely and angry and increasing your happiness quotient. If no one is around hug the family pet or give yourself a hug! Close your eyes, use your God-given imagination and feel His arms encircling you. Hugs, like laughter, help you let go, relax and feel more upbeat. Virginia Satir, the late family therapist and author, said: “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.”
  8. Sleep. This can be tricky, especially for women, especially during the months of increased darkness. But quality sleep is vital to good health, both physical and mental, because body and mind restoration and detoxification happens during deep sleep. Some ways to achieve this include: setting a positive intention that sleep will come, staying calm and relaxed especially later in the day, getting off the computer at least two hours before bed, being consistent with a bedtime routine that relaxes you, keeping your bedroom calm, clutter free and cool; not eating heavily before bedtime, exercising earlier in the day, getting enough light by braving the outdoors or using this type of lamp.

If you need help transforming your mind from negative to positive, click on my picture below for further information.

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One thought on “The one thing that can turn your negative thoughts to good…Plus 8 tips for cultivating a positive frame of mind

  1. “Humans are by nature forgetful”
    So true!
    I so often forget God’s promises and past faithfulness. That’s why it is so important for me to journal and then go back and read what God has brought me through. He is amazing.
    Phil 4:8 is one of my favorite verses. It helps me focus on the things and the ONE who is really important.

    Great post.