Dr. Deepok Chopra has said that “we think 65,000 thoughts in the course of a day.” A majority of those thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday and we will carry them along with us tomorrow and the next day and the next day. My friend Melody Haines, of Mind over Matters wrote “Our minds get on a treadmill of letting our thoughts think us, so to speak, it happens in the background, unconsciously.” The point is, unconsciously we are reliving the same fears, worries, angers and problems over and over again. A perpetual stream of uneasiness and stress that weakens our immune system, raises our blood pressure, messes up our arteries and causes illness and disease.
In his book Stress Less Dr. Don Colbert MD, talks about a psychiatry professor who was a former dermatologist that shared about the many patients he treated for psoriasis. He told him “that treating so many people with skin disorder led him to the conclusion that people were actually weeping through their skin.” If our mind is continually replaying the same negative story over and over we will always be tense and feeling sick. Unless we make a choice to break the cycle by changing our thoughts we will become part of the 75 to 95 percent that the American Institute of Stress says visit there primary care physician’s office for stress related disorders.
The secrets to reducing our stress:
1) You have to want to change
2) Be committed to change
3) Believe that changing your thoughts will change your life
Wanting to change:
If you want to change you have to consciously think it and say it. It is all about making up your mind that today is the day I will focus on my blessings rather than the so called misfortunes.
Robert Frost put it brilliantly, “I make my bed and make up my mind it is going to be a great day.”
I read about a woman who lost her house and everything she owned in a tornado and while all of her neighbors were complaining she was singing praise that her husband and children were alive. It’s your choice; to sing the blues or be grateful that you are alive.
Be committed to change:
You have to be committed to do what ever you can do to break the negative thinking cycle. One of the easiest ways to take a detour from stress promoting thinking is with a smile. Research has found that smiling is a great way to quickly change attitude and relax us. Mark Shibich PhD writes “smiling can work to counteract the effects of stress.” Scientific American Minds Magazine in its May 2009 issue talks about a studies where patients who smiled actually showed more pain tolerances than others that were frowning. By committing to smiling in the morning and throughout the day you will as Shibich writes “ trick: your body into believing that everything is good.” This will eventually create a new thought learning curve that can help reduce negative thinking and promote a more positive thinking process. My friend Susan Stewart from Live Well Laugh Lots says, “When we are experiencing joy even for a few moments through laughter, our minds are completely focused on the present moment rather than regurgitating the past or predicting the future. Smiling promotes laughter and laughter is what Milton Berle called “the instant vacation” or as Steve Ayan writes, create a cognitive distance between yourself and the circumstances in a way that can be psychologically protective.”
Lastly is that you need to believe that changing your thoughts will change your life….
I am living proof of someone who wanted to change his thoughts and changed his life; someone whose mind was filled with pessimistic thinking and failure driven thoughts. When my wife almost left me along with our first born, I had to make a choice-continue to ruin our lives both physically and emotionally or make a commitment to change.
Was it easy? No! Do I sometimes drift back? Yes! But everyday in good times and bad I still want to be better. I am still committed to smiling, laughing and healthier happier thinking.
Change your thoughts, change your attitude and you will change your life.
Don’t wait start today!
Copyright Richard Paul 2009