One of the best pieces of advice I ever heard about healthy eating was this: Think of food as either medicine or poison.
When you are about to put something into your mouth, you know whether it is good or bad for you. The medicine or poison idea really puts that into perspective.
You can apply the same principle to your thoughts. Your thinking can be just as beneficial or damaging to your health as what you eat. Perhaps even more so.
Stress has a major impact on our health. Stress is not caused by our circumstances but by the way we react to them. And that is a choice.
So how can we change our way of thinking from poison to medicine?
1: Take responsibility for your thoughts.
It’s great to have goals and make plans. Essential even. But the truth is that we can never be sure of the outcomes.
The only thing that we have total control over is our thinking. Nobody else can tell you what to think unless you let them. Nobody can tell you how you should react to what happens.
When you take responsibility for your thoughts, you can decide to feel OK despite the circumstances.
2: Plan to think positively.
Most of our thinking is subconscious. Habitual. It tends to run along familiar lines. If you wait to react to situations, that is the way it is likely to go. So don’t wait.
Is something big coming up? A job interview or a social occasion. Decide ahead of time that you are going to think positively about it. Expect to have a good experience. What’s the best that could happen?
This will increase the chances of a good outcome and give you a more realistic outlook on how it went.
3: Avoid negative people.
Other people can’t control you thoughts but they can make it difficult for you to do it. You know who they are. Your heart sinks when you see them approaching.
They have the ability to see the worst in everything. The complainers. The conspiracy theorists. You don’t want to be rude so you either agree or just say nothing.
Don’t let them do that to you. Cut them out of your life if you can. Or minimise your contact with them. If you must be with them, talk about nothing but the good stuff. They might get the message and go away.
4: Write down your thoughts.
At the end of the day, sit down with a piece of paper and write about what you have been thinking. This can be a revelation. most of the time we aren’t really aware of our thought patterns.
Doing this can help you to notice if you have been on a negative train of thought. And flag up worries that you didn’t even know that you had. (That has happened for me).
Sometimes, seeing them written down helps you see how ridiculous they are. This can also generate more positive ideas. Try it for a few days.
5: Consider the repercussions.
What is the worst or the best that could happen? There are times when we know a task needs to be done but for some reason we fear it. We seem paralysed and just can’t make a start. We do anything else to avoid thinking about it.
But what happens when you do think about it? It could go wrong. Maybe the consequences wouldn’t be as bad as you feared. It might not be excellent but could it be good enough and on time?
Now that you are on a roll, you might even start thinking about solutions. It could be easier than you thought. You could rock this thing.
6: Minimize catastrophic thinking.
That sounds dramatic but there are people like that. They just can’t move on from thinking about the worst possible outcome. Well they can but they haven’t tried. They just stick with their habitual thought patterns.
If you are one of these people, you need to take control. Look back at the previous two points. Look for good news stories. Read motivational quotes. Use positive affirmations.
Try an exercise. Think about an upcoming event. Force yourself to consider what could possibly go right.
7: Live for the moment.
Life doesn’t happen in hours or weeks. It happens in moments. This moment, now, is the only thing you have any control over.
If you spend your time regretting what happened in the past or worrying about the future, all you are doing is sacrificing now.
Right now, in this moment, isn’t there something that you could be happy about if you chose to be?
You can control your thoughts and your thoughts create your reality. You can make your reality a happy and healthy one.
That is an exciting and empowering thought. Why not give it a try?
But be careful.Positive thinking can become a habit.