Some scientists say that we have about 60k thoughts daily. Others say it's waaaaay less, more like 6k.
And of these thoughts, the National Science Foundation postulated that 80% are negative and 95% repetitive (2005 study). Another study in that same year from Cornell suggested that 97% of our worries are actually unfounded.
Since I'm in the Choose 2 Think business, this information is quite fascinating to me. Why?
Because our thoughts literally affect our brains.
And if I'm having a gazillion negative thoughts daily and I'm repeating them, well, that's a recipe for one very weary, dissatisfied, and downtrodden noggin.
So what's a feller to do?
Neuroscientists and researchers like Dr. Caroline Leaf and Dr. Daniel Amen offer a mountain of expert advice on the impact our thoughts have on our brains and well-being. (Please do your own research on these individuals, their Christian beliefs and practices.)
I've learned a lot from them.
Back in 2016, I went through Dr. Leaf's amazing 21-Day Brain Detox. Let's just say my life has not been the same since!
In his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Dr. Amen grouped Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs) into 9 categories. This helpful article walks you through the process of how to recognize and eliminate them.
What does the Bible tell us about our thoughts and minds? Ah...now this is when it gets good!
In a nutshell we are to:
Over the years, I've learned to employ a proven method to not only take thoughts captive, but to replace them with what I term Truth Leads. Many of the negative thoughts we engage are actually not true, i.e., I'm a failure, My life's a wreck, Nobody loves me, etc. Or they may represent a true feeling, but when repeated, they deplete my emotional tank, i.e., I hate Covid, The restrictions are killing me, I can't stand wearing a mask, etc.
A Truth Lead is generally a Scriptural truth that refutes the lie, worry, or negative thought you may be believing. But my system goes deeper to the roots of what might be generating those lies and negative thoughts. As we rehearse and repeat what is true or constructive, we literally rewire our brains to operate in a renewed state.
Our mindsets shift from a self-focus to a deeply personal attitude of thanksgiving to God. We are filled with purpose, joy, and peace. We are equipped to walk out our days with eyes set like flint onto our Creator God. We live life beyond ourselves and our circumstances.
This process I've developed becomes much easier the longer we practice it. I hope you will give it a try! I've created so many worksheets and free downloadables for you to take you through this process. If you want to go a step further, please join me in January for a 7-day FIRED UP MIND CHALLENGE. More details coming soon!
And all this to say that the mindset shift that has helped me the MOST has been one of gratitude. I have this adage: "Everyday is Thanksgiving."
What does this mean? For most of us, Thanksgiving conjures up images of families gathered together over a festive meal to commemorate the act of giving thanks to God as the Native American Indians and the Europeans did together so long ago. We also think about the parade, football, cooler temps, and the advent of Christmas.
But for many individuals, these idyllic notions are a far cry from their harsh realities bearing down in November of 2020.
These predicaments can really be difficult. The good news is that even if we are alone on this holiday, even if our financial future looks precarious, even if we have to work on this holiday, we do not have to allow our external situation to so greatly impact our internal joy and peace.
We fight back. We become RESILIENT.
And how do we show resilience when we are hit with hard news or a challenging situation?
We pivot to gratitude. There was a time when I was really self-focused, feeling sorry for myself, and making everything about me. What happened to my brain? It became INELASTIC. And my mind and soul? SPIRITLESS.
But I am committed to a new strategy and approach - one that more closely lines up with God's Scriptures and plan for me. I choose to trust Him. And when I don't to ask Him to help me trust Him and to increase my faith.
Although emotions are certainly God-given, they are not meant to rule us nor are they meant to direct us. And we are not meant to become stuck in them, spinning our wheels, disgruntled, sad, and unhappy.
To be sure, the Christian life is not just some simple cake walk. We have trials and troubles--some folks more than others! BUT in some divine fashion despite all our hardships and those agonizing areas of our souls, we are given and we can take hold of God's peace.
Let's you and I both commit to discovering what this means every single day of the year.
So today let's GIVE THANKS:
My prayer for us both is that we remember EVERY DAY IS THANKSGIVING.
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