Sunday, November 5, 2006

Positive or Negative Thinking

by Donna L. Watkins

At this moment you can find ample evidence to prove that your life is miserable, boring and depressing. You can also find evidence to prove that your life is joyful, abundant and exciting.

Let's do an exercise!

Look around the room you are in. Do you see any dust and dirt? Any disorder? A closet or drawers that need organizing? A pile of papers that should be filed or recycled? Does the room need paint or repair? Is the light switch plate smudged?

How do you feel? Did you find enough evidence that life is awful, depressing and too much to handle?

Look around the room again. Do you see something given by a friend or family member that is special to you? Does it bring sweet memories? Are you sitting on a comfortable chair? Do you have a computer to stay in touch with friends and learn all kinds of exciting things? Do you have flooring that is nicer than a dirt floor? Anything there that produces music for you? CD player, radio? Isn't it marvelous that we can flip that switch and have light any time of day or night?

How do you feel now? Did you find enough evidence that life is grand, wonderful and full of good things?

Our thoughts are powerful! Those thoughts control hormones in our body and those hormones make us feel good or bad. They also determine whether we have good health or bad health. Whether we are depressed or joyful.

Yes, there is a chemical imbalance when people are depressed, but we must ask why? God did not create us that way. There is plenty of research out there on what thoughts to do our health.

If you looked around the room and didn't find anything good that didn't come without a sad or negative thought, I would say that you don't feel very healthy in that state of thinking. It takes a major overhaul to get your "stinking thinking" out the door, but you can do it!

What about positive thinking? That can be just as bad for you!

Positive thinkers sometimes use positive thinking as a way to justify their inability to accept the moment. They have a long list of "shoulds" and unless their circumstances match up with perfection (and it rarely does), they retreat into positive thoughts, thinking they will provide a better world for everyone with positive statements.

In other words, some positive thinkers have a holy sounding form of denial.

To quote from the book, You Can't Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought (Subtitle: a book for people with life-threatening illness):

"To focus on the positive is not to disregard certain warning signals of a "negative" nature that, if ignored, eventually lead to inconvenience at best and disaster at worst. If we use these negative signals to avoid disaster, then they're not negative after all. "

In the case of disease, we can acknowledge the symptoms of a disease and learn all we can to overcome that disease and move towards that goal. Or, we can begin saying that "we have" that disease. After claiming it as ours long enough our mind tends to believe it and our body may be less likely to get rid of it.

We are told to live in the moment, but most of us are thinking of the past and/or the future most of the day, so if we are going to do this, at least make it pleasant. Think of the good things from the past and the good things that will be happening in the future.

Keep it balanced! Negative thinking makes everything bleak and awful. Positive thinking imagines anything wonderful whether realistic or not, whether it's related to the event or not. Some people do this by quoting wonderful (unrelated) Scriptures any time somebody mentions a negative event.

Focus on the positive! That's not positive thinking!

There is a time for sadness and realizing the present facts. It's about how you deal with it. Realizing that you do not do something well is not negative thinking. It's evaluating life and how to make it better for yourself.

To quote the above book again: "Positive thinking only puts a gap between where you are physically and where you think you "should" be. There are no "shoulds" to a life-threatening illness. You'll be happier, and probably heal faster, if you let go of as many shoulds as you can....... It took a lot of negative thinking - decades in some cases - to bring on an illness. Why should a week or two of positive thinking get rid of it?"

Meet in the middle with wisdom somewhere between the sewer and the clouds. Focus on the positive, but make it real. Your brain and body knows the difference. Wellness doesn't come without believing what you think and say. Your brain will not believe the unbelievable.

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