The thing about thinking positive is that it has to be an active choice. You can’t just passively sit by, try to not allow negative thoughts and feelings to invade your space. You need to counteract each negative thought and feeling with actively thinking something positive. While you may stop eating junk food, you have to actually physically get off your butt and start exercising in order to get fit. One is passive – you’re just stopping doing something. But how long with that last if you don’t proactively fill that void with something else? If you want to quit smoking, you actually can’t just stop. You need to fill that void that quitting makes with something else. Many people, for example, start exercising when they quit smoking. And are then quite successful in never smoking again.
There is a passage of scripture that speaks about casting out a demon and if you don’t fill that void with something else, seven times more demons will come back.
Hang on, going to Google it quickly.
43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
And so it is with negative thinking. You need to get rid of negative thinking and negative emotions, but you also need to fill that void with something positive – if you’re not going to fill the void that getting rid of negative thinking and emotions create, you will just find yourself with even more negativity that in time will be more difficult to get rid of. Seven times more difficult if this passage of scripture is anything to go by. So start proactively getting your mind and your emotions fit. But actively and proactively thinking and feeling positive thoughts and emotions.
What works for me – and you will have to find what will work for you – is I have positive conversations with myself. I am always talking to myself, so I might as well make it work for me.
A negative thought flits into my head – I won’t eat, I’m sick, I’m going to die (believe it or not, I used to wake up with such fear and anxiety with these three thoughts running around in my head). Instead of just trying to get that negative thought out of your head – try to focus on the opposite and positive. Of course I’ll eat – I eat every day at every mealtime without any problems (see how I’m backing up this positive thought with everyday evidence that supports that), and I am not sick. I don’t feel sick and there is nothing wrong with me. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a doctor or actually needed to see a doctor. And yes, I am going to die one day. But today is not that day. And even if it is today, I’m sure of my salvation so there is really nothing to worry about. Then take a deep breath and force (or allow) yourself to feel relief and something positive. Then distract yourself and go on with your day.
You need to be conscious every time a negative thought or feeling comes into your mind – so that you can actively and proactively react with something positive, based on truth and based on faith.
But it will take time. I have been negative for the last 40 years, allowing myself to be lured into the fantasies of negative thinking – I loved the drama it created within me . Sometimes my fantasies or thoughts would be so negative, I would find myself crying in the car on the way home. For heaven’s sake, no wonder I battle with anxiety. Because you see, those emotions I created with negative thinking and fantasizing have to go somewhere – they don’t just evaporate. It is energy being created, and well, it is coming out now. So, this not something that is going to change overnight. But, I figure I have the next 40 years to try to get it right.
Rather than thinking or fantasizing about a car accident, and having my entire family killed, and be drawn into the allure of this fantasy, think about all of us having a picnic together and having fun and enjoying ourselves and each other. The positive feelings associate with the picnic fantasy will go along well to emotional health and wellness and should the event arise – a picnic in the park – you will enjoy it so much more.
Training your heart and feelings
I am still busy reading Emotional Gravity by Angela de Souza. It really is an excellent book and I would highly recommend it (and I am not even half way, yet). And yesterday, I was reading about how if you have a leaning toward a negative emotion, how you need to focus on the opposite positive emotion and to start training yourself to feel, believe and think in that opposite emotion. So, that you can start to have positive feelings, and positive thoughts – and lead a positive life. As Joyce Meyers says,
“You can’t live a positive life thinking negative thoughts.”
Now, I battle with anxiety and fear. For whatever reasons, I do. And I understand all the reasons, and I know how and why I came to be at this point, but none of this has miraculously relieved me of the anxiety and fear that I feel. That is where I feel this book is coming in handy – it is the realisation that I have to control my thoughts, and train my emotions – as if I am training to run a marathon. I cannot give into the anxiety and fear any longer. I need to acknowledge why I battle with this, forgive those that need to be forgiven and now train my mind and feelings.
So, the opposite of anxiety is:
Assurance, calmness, composure, contentment, ease, happiness, nonchalance, peace, tranquillity
So, I need to focus on feeling calm, composed, content, happy, peace and tranquil.
Easier said than done when living with so much financial stress, and working in a very stressful environment and battling family politics, etc, etc, etc…
But, this I can do. Take a deep breath, and allow the calm and peace to flow over you and allow yourself to believe and have faith.
This I can do. I can learn to not have this anxiety that has plagued me virtually my whole life. It is not going to be easy, because I am constantly aware of this anxiety that sits in the corner like a naughty child, just ready to come out and take over.
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
I am currently reading a book called Emotional Gravity by Angela de Souza. It is an excellent book, and although I have only just started the book, I can sense that I am already benefiting from the book. In it, she speaks about (well, what I have read thus far) how to train your mind, your emotions and your thoughts to be positive and not to focus on the negative. She speaks about how you need to look at the reasons for why you feel the way you do – forgive who you need to forgive and move on. And in moving on, you will sometimes have the old negative feelings and thoughts creeping through, you need to distract yourself and continually train your mind on what is positive and good.
She uses the example of a woman who grew up in a household where her father abused her mother, and totally belittled her. Her father would have numerous “girlfriends” and as a result, this woman grew up very insecure concerning her relationships with men. And even though she now has a husband who loves and adores her and is faithful to her, her insecurities rise up and mess in her marriage. She is suspicious of her husband, and constantly fights with him about his “flirting” with other women. She needs to realise where her insecurity comes from, and start training her mind to see her husband as he really is – someone who loves her and is faithful to her. It is this training of the mind that is so difficult, because all the negative and old insecurities can come creeping though at any moment. It is almost like being an alcoholic, in that you always have to be constantly aware of what can creep through to your conscious mind and you need to squash it out immediately. If you’re not attending to the roses in your garden, weeds will creep through without you even seeing them. You have to be vigilant.
I have been teased and ridiculed for being skinny my whole life and my parents would take me to a psychologist for being anorexic, and then moan at me the very next day for eating some cake because I’d get fat. My issues now with weight loss and being scared to lose weight stems directly from my childhood. However, I need to realise where my insecurity comes from, and then forgive my parents and all those who teased me and then comes the difficult part – train my thoughts, emotions and feelings to react positively. So, when someone compliments me and tells me I have lost weight, instead of reacting with fear and anxiety, I react positively and graciously and simply say, “Thank you.” That is what I need to train my mind, heart and thoughts to do. If I’m going to constantly think I’m going to have a meltdown when someone tells me I’ve lost weight, well then, that is exactly what I can expect to happen. However, if I train my mind and my emotions to be positive – even roll playing here could help – and to react graciously, then when someone tells me I have lost weight, I can actually take that as a compliment. Make sense?
Well, and now we get to my epiphany…
I was wondering where all my anxiety and fear came from, especially concerning my marriage. Well, the home environment that I grew up in was stressful and full of anxiety and if I had $ 1 for every time my parents threatened divorce or I heard that they’re only staying because of me (not my brothers, just me) I’d be a pretty wealth woman today. That is a lot of pressure for a young child – especially a shy and insecure child as is – to handle. So, all I knew growing up was this anxiety and stress (do not get me wrong, there were some good times, but they were totally overshadowed by this constant stress and anxiety). And that is all I know now. Now, I need to forgive my parents, and myself, and move forward. And start training my mind to think positively and manage all those “weeds” in my rose garden – I am not my mother. Nor is my husband my father. And we live in a relatively peaceful home – this is not the home of my childhood. And I need to keep training my mind; my thoughts and my emotions to think along those lines, until the anxiety of the past and the stress of my childhood no longer have any effect on me.
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
So then, banish anxiety from your heart and cast off the troubles of your body…
Pin Pricks on my head…
Negativity and negative thinking causes anxiety. A thought – negative or positive – causes a feeling. That feeling – negative or positive – causes an action to follow and that action can be as simple as pulling your face, or as forceful as a full-blown panic attack.
That is why the bible teaches us to be careful what we think about. If you are a young girl and you daydream about being attacked and raped, even fantasize about it, how do you suppose that will act out in a loving relationship? No matter how loving the relationship is, you will always feel anxiety if that is what you are thinking. However, if you think about loving and kind sex, you will be excited about an intimate relationship – because your mind, soul and emotions are geared up for that. It is so important to guard our minds.
Every time I have a negative thought, now that I am aware of what the repercussions can be, it feels like pin pricks on my scalp. Our little daughter is growing up and soon she will be on her own – and I am expecting that to cause me huge anxiety. It’s always a thought first – I think, how am I going to cope without her? So, then I start to fear that event happening, then I start of feel anxious, and that brings about another round of fear and anxiety, which then starts this whole cycle.
And you know what?
At the end of the day, all is going to be okay. Yes, it is sad that she is growing up so quickly, but while the sadness is felt as one cycle in life ends, there most certainly is joy in watching her become a beautiful young woman, leading an independent and strong life. Yes, there are always many trials and tribulations to go through – life is hard. I think it is meant to be hard, to sift out the “survival of the fittest”…
But, as soon as I push the negative thoughts aside, and the fear and the worry, and start focusing on the positive – you know what happens? I start to feel a whole lot calmer. In fact, I may find myself starting to enjoy some time out with hubby or by myself. I may even surprise myself.
And that is what I have been trying to say all along.
If you keep putting stress, negativity and anxiety into everything you think and do – well, that is all that you will get out.
I KNOW that everything will be okay. I believe it because I must. And because I can. And I believe it because the history of my life has taught me that it always works out in the end. It always does. And because there is, a part of me that knows it is true. I can’t stress about what may or may not happen in the future, I can only focus on this moment. Right now. In essence, it is all I have. So, with God’s grace, I need to put aside all my negativity and fear of the future, and focus on this little moment I have right now. And it’s amazing how the anxiety that’s always pressing like pinpricks against my skull suddenly feels quite a bit less threatening.
Negative thinking – no matter how unrealistic – conjures up negative emotions. And negative emotions can and will lead to negative actions or reactions.
If that is true, and I have no doubt that it is, then surely, the converse is also true. Positive thinking – no matter how unrealistic – will conjure up positive emotions. And positive emotions can and will lead to positive actions and/or reactions.
Having said all the above though, it is one of the most difficult things in this life to control your thoughts. Sometimes the alluring feelings that come from thinking negatively entice you to entertain that thought – for far longer than is healthy.
And it’s not just a case of positive thinking – you need to get yourself to a point of totally believing the positive thoughts, believing and having faith – so it’s just not just superficial positive thinking, but something that infiltrates your mind, your soul and your emotions. But it is not easy. Not at all and that is why we need to be disciplined and not give in when a negative thought comes our way – we need to focus on the positive, and distract our minds and emotions from the negativity.
Does any of this make sense?
So, my belief is that as our daughter is growing up, and will slowly start to move away from the family fold, I know – deep in my heart – that whatever anxiety I may feel, hubby and I will welcome some much need time to rekindle our flame and nurture our marriage and our relationship, as well as nurture some time alone for ourselves. And those are all good things.
So, I will be strong – I will focus on the positive, because through focusing on the positive, the belief and faith will follow. And the outcomes of whatever situation I feel anxious about will surely be different, than if I just entertained the negative the whole time.
And that is my prayer – thank Heavens the good Lord is on my side.
More Than Conquerors
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?