Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Thoughts over circumstances - Part 2

Tapping a PencilImage by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

In my last post, I wrote about the wisdom from God's Word regarding controlling our thoughts. Here are some additional tips on ways we can control our thoughts in difficult circumstances:
  1. Analyze your thoughts. Take time to really dissect the thoughts that run through your mind on a regular basis. Try this exercise: take a pad of paper, pen, and one free hour, then write down all the thoughts you encounter on a daily basis. Uncover the source of these thoughts and classify whether they are destructive or empowering ones.
  2. Decide in advance to stop the thoughts. Now that you have a written list of destructive thoughts, write down a new list of empowering thoughts to replace the destructive ones. Through Scott, The Name Tag Guy and The Complete Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, I discovered a great way to get negative thoughts out of my brain first thing in the morning - morning pages. Try this, it really works and is extremely therapeutic.
  3. Seize the thoughts as soon as they arise. In the moment you first recognize one of your recurring, negative thoughts, mentally grab it and don't allow it spiral out of control into additional, negative thought patterns.
  4. Focus on something else. When your negative, destructive thoughts arise, consciously plan on focusing on something else. Read your Bible or other uplifting book. Call a friend. Check your Facebook or Twitter page. Listen to some music. Take a walk. Do whatever it takes to shift your focus from bad to good.
  5. Choose a positive attitude. Dwelling on negative thoughts doesn't help anyone, especially you. Choose, in advance, to be positive and upbeat.
  6. Recognize and replace the thoughts that have been "pre-programmed" from your past. If you have completed the exercise in #1, you have not only uncovered your negative thoughts, but their source as well. Many of these thoughts have been ingrained in our minds at an early age and run on autopilot. Replace these pre-programmed thoughts with new, empowering thoughts until they run on autopilot.
  7. Control the verbalizing of negative thoughts. Once we have these negative thoughts running through our minds, it is extremely easy to regurgitate these thoughts verbally on to those around us, especially those we love the most.
  8. Pray. Prayer really works. Ask the Lord to help you release the grip of negative, destructive thought patterns.

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