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.
My backpack is heavy. It is filled with all these negative emotions of stress, anxiety, sadness, and depression and panic attacks. It is comfortable – it is more comfortable than carrying suitcase around. If you can place it on your back just right, you can carry a sizeable load and almost forget that it is there. You can walk through life carrying this heavy burden from place to place, time to time, friend to friend and only when you are feeling tired and lonely, do you really become aware of the backpack.
I think I’m fortunate in the way that I have taken the backpack off, and I am aware I have taken it off – it’s no longer this heavy load I am carrying, and that is a far way from where I was this time last year. But it’s still there – resting next to my legs, making me even more aware of its presence. It’s this residual anxiety that I am now dealing with. I want the backpack gone. I want it burnt and destroyed. I want it so far removed from me that even if I am tempted to pick it up again, I cannot – because it is no longer in my frame of reference, no longer in my world, no longer a part of who I am. It is only in destroying the backpack and removing it from my world, that I can then begin to remove all residual anxiety, panic and stress.
In fact, I want to destroy this backpack over Europe, while holidaying with my hubby and our little daughter and enjoying a white Christmas and skiing on some beautiful snowy slopes. And then just leave all the anxiety and panic and stress there, when we come back to South Africa so that hubby and I can continue our life without the backpack.
That is what I am praying for – still looking at the poster on the right.
2 Timothy 1:7
King James Version (KJV) 7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
New International Version (NIV) 28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”