“A man is but the product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Values, beliefs and experiences drive our thoughts. What we think about we become. Our thoughts are transformed into emotional energy, fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, or happiness, peace, joy, confidence, self-assurance, and contentment which ultimately shapes how we live our lives. Most people experience far more negative information in their lives than positive. The messages that are received from others begin to transform our beliefs about ourselves over time. Messages that we receive as children enter our mind in the formative years and become a strong part of our story. It is not that the story is true, it is that we believe that the story is true for us and we start living in that story rather than the story of our own making. In other words for some reason we focus on the impacts of negative thoughts more so than positive thoughts. It is as if we are taught to believe negative thought as being true and positive thought as wishful thinking. Martin Seligman writes “Frequent and intense negative thoughts about the past are the raw material that blocks the emotions of contentment and satisfaction, and these thoughts make serenity and peace impossible.”
What can one do in order to shift the thoughts that drive emotions so that there is more positive thinking being done?
- Focus on positive events in life and opportunities to be grateful.
- Forgive the people in the past that may have strongly influenced the negative thought patterns.
Positive emotions lead to better health, both physical and mentally according to research done by Sarah Pressman.
Positive thinking leads to positive emotions which increases the overall satisfaction with life. Who wouldn’t want more of that?
What can you do when a negative feeling or thought comes screeching at you?
- Take a deep breath. Acknowledge the emotion (“I feel …. “)
- Shift the energy of that emotion. (This is mental Aikido …) and gently push the emotion to a different place.
- Replace the thought with something better, a favorite vacation, sunset, something admirable, peaceful, enjoyable and inner smile event.
- Take another deep breath.
Read the words of David Whyte and see what message is trying to convey. We are often trapped, bombarded by information, and most of it is negative information, sensationalized news, stories that are all designed to pull us into believing everything in the world is negative. Negative information sells and is profitable but it is not the world of truth, it is only a speck of truth in the total amount of information that is available. Sometimes it is the negative news that provides momentary relief from personal suffering that people seek. However a constant bath of negative information soon becomes the truth about the world and about the self and it takes more depressing negative news to feel just a tiny bit better.
Surround yourself with positive news, positive thoughts and positive people and you’ll start feeling better about whom you are, and what you can accomplish. It turns out that the more positive things you bring into your life the better your life becomes.
Loaves and Fishes
This is not
the age of information.
This is not
the age of information.
Forget the news,
and the radio,
and the blurred screen.
This is the time
People are hungry
and one good word is bread
for a thousand.
— David Whyte
from The House of Belonging
©1996 Many Rivers Press