By Stevi Dinizio
“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”
The human mind has been the tool that destroys, creates and significantly influences the course of history and nature itself. A unique power lies within the complexity of our own minds which can be unlocked if we choose. We have that kind of power in us.
I want to explore the ideas and health benefits behind our thought lives. Yes, plenty of scientific evidence exists, but what I want to give you right now is not only facts but also simple tips on problem solving and choice-making. Like Buddha says in the above statement: what we think, we become. And I want you to be someone purposeful and happy.
First off, the negative use of our brain effects our overall health in more ways than one, and can lead to even worse results. As you probably have guessed, negative thoughts contribute to depression and anxiety, but they can also lend themselves to feelings of helplessness and even impaired problem solving. When we choose to continually think on negative thoughts, we choose to not do something about our situation which therefore causes us to not problem-solve in others areas of our lives. For example, I have a tendency to put off getting help when I’m sick because I secretly fear that it could be something worse. This usually leads to some kind of infection or just a few weeks of suffering (I’m prone to sinus infections).
On the other hand, positive thinking has been viewed as a way to lead a healing, resilient and joyful lifestyle. The act of positive thinking goes beyond affirmations; it shifts your perspective from inward to outward. You begin to focus more on purpose than on self-satisfaction. When you choose – because this is a conscious choice – to live with purpose (whatever that is for you), failures are opportunities and roadblocks lead to new paths. Physically, people who keep their thoughts positive are more proactive and will respond in a healthy way to their physical needs, whether getting themselves to the doctor in a timely fashion or just choosing to eat right when they gain weight.
Lastly, I want to suggest a top three tips for positive thinking:
- Laugh a lot – Use any and every opportunity to laugh. I have heard that even just finding an excuse to smile can trigger a hormone shift. Personally, laughing with my friends or family provides me with a needed release at the end of a long week.
- Distract yourself from negative thoughts – I was skeptical of this one at first, but it has proven to be quite effective. When you feel negative thoughts letting themselves in, just say no and find something that distracts your mind, whether running, Sudoku puzzles, Jenga, video games, etc. Eventually, those annoying thoughts will stop knocking and disappear altogether.
- Give yourself purpose, and live a good story – I know I’m not the only one out there who loves a good story. So why not live one? I recently discovered author Donald Miller’s book and blog, “Storyline.” It takes you through the structure of story and character via psychological and spiritual guidance. In the end, you will have a better understanding of who you are, what you want and how you can get it.