As promised in the last post, I want to share with you five simple tips that can bring you freedom from toxic thoughts and stinking thinking. These might seem overly simplistic, but it’s the simple things in life, when added together, that bring about profound changes.
(1) Keep a Gratitude Journal
Research shows that those that are truly grateful suffer less pain and disability. They enjoy life more. They are generally healthier, leaner and smarter than their negative “glass half empty” counterparts. In the Journal of Critical Care Nursing the authors of one study cite that showing gratitude can increase your happiness by 25%. That’s better than an antidepressant! They also report that grateful people are more likely to achieve goals they have set for themselves.
It goes on to state other physical health benefits of practicing gratitude.
- Higher levels of alertness, vitality, enthusiasm, determination, attentiveness, and energy
- Spend more time exercising
- Report more hours of nightly sleep
- Report a better quality of sleep
- Experience fewer physical symptoms such as headaches, coughing, nausea, or pain
- Show heightened immunity in both healthy and sick persons
So how can you start being grateful? Keep a gratitude journal. Purchase a small notebook, or my personal favorite, a Moleskine that you can keep not only your random thoughts, but also a list of five things that you are truly grateful for that occurred that day. This process helps you to reframe your thinking from the negative to the positive. Counting your blessings is very therapeutic.
(2) Burn Your Toxic Thoughts
One exercise that I have given to many patients and have heard of their great success is to literally burn your toxic thoughts. I instruct patients to sit down with a pad of paper and pen. They are to write down any automatic negative thoughts, or toxic thoughts, that are hindering their personal growth. All their doubts, fears, insecurities and dilemmas should be written down on a piece of paper. Leave some space between each of the items.
Then sit down with a candle (safely of course) or a bonfire and one by one, read the toxic thought, consciously affirm it no loner has a hold on you, place it in the fire and watch it go up in smoke. Make a conscious effort and decision to not pick them up back up from what is now the ruins from the purging fire.
(3) Prayer Works
One of my favorite men of the Bible is David. The Bible says that David was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). For those of you that know David, you know that he had his share of struggles and “stinking thinking”. There were times in his life that David acted like a crazy man because of the trouble he had gotten himself into. Perhaps one of the worst times in David’s life was when he returned back to his home city of Ziklag only to find it plundered and ruined by the enemy. Not only was the city in ruins, but his wife and children, as well as the wife and children of all his fighting men, had been kidnapped. It was in this most desperate time that the Bible says, “David encouraged himself in the Lord” (I Samuel 30:6).
There’s an old song that says, “Sometimes my path seems drear, without a ray of cheer, and then a cloud of doubt may hide the light of day.” The chorus says,
Now let us have a little talk with Jesus
Let us tell Him all about our troubles
He will hear our faintest cry
And He will answer by and by:
When you feel a little prayer wheel turning
and you know a little fire is burning
You will find a little talk with Jesus makes it right
So try prayer…it works.
(4) Birds of a feather
Surround yourself with positive people. Build relationships with people that are enjoying wellness and have a positive outlook on life and a healthy mental component. Avoid those that are constantly dragging you down and discouraging you. Commit to reading a motivational self-improvement book each month. Start talking this new talk and walking this new walk and soon it won’t be foreign to you. Instead it will be a new habit. Give yourself 45 days to form that new habit and wait to see how much better your thinking can be.
(5) Do the Gratitude Dance
Seriously, this is great. I first heard about this from Dr. Mercola’s website. This little YouTube clip shows the gratitude dance. Yes, seems a little silly, but if you were in the Sefcik house you’d find the whole family will be doing this if start losing focus and start complaining. Yes, we will even all hold hands and spin in circles singing, “We’re a happy family! We’re a happy family!” Some might scorn or ridicule such an activity, but guess what? We have a happy family and I wouldn’t trade it for the world! So go ahead…I dare you. Stand up right now and do the Gratitude Dance!
So there you have it. Five easy things you can do today to start thinking in a healthy and positive way.
Do you have any other suggestions for stopping toxic thoughts? Why don’t you take time to comment below and share with the rest of us!