How many thoughts do you think the average person has a day? If, I said 30,000 would you be surprised? The greater question is how are you using those 30,000 thoughts each day. Mind and brain research has discovered that 84-92% of the thoughts you think today where the same thoughts you thought yesterday. Not only that, but 82-90% of our thoughts are negative. They have discovered that your mood affects your thoughts, and that we allow our negative feelings, emotions, and disappointments to determine our thoughts. Wow! Now that is self-discovery. I truly am a product of my thoughts.
Do you ever find yourself day-dreaming and your mind automatically goes to a hurtful or painful memory? Our mind has created patterns and paths that are on autopilot, and will naturally go to a certain form of thinking and processing.
Our job (which is our choice and responsibility) is to captivate each thought and determine how to process it.
American author and poet, James Allen said, “ Every action and feeling is proceed by a thought.” Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “ The ancestor of every action is a thought. The Bible says it this way, “As a man thinks, so is he”.
Our thoughts determine our destiny.
“So Tammy, how do I change my thought patterns?” Great question girlfriend!
Let me share with you three exercises that will assist you in controlling your thoughts.
1) Capture your thought.
The word capture means “to gain possession or control of.” If you can capture your thought in the first 30 seconds you can delete and reject the thought before it moves into your memory file. That is why the Bible teaches in 2 Corinthians 10:5 to “take every thought captive by renewing your mind.”
Develop the art of discerning a thought quickly. Learn to reject and refuse a negative thought before it occupies space in your mind. Once you develop the skill of catching your thoughts before they take root, you will be well on your way to rejecting negative thoughts and creating positive thoughts.
*Stop the thought before it takes root.
2) Make a decision.
Research has found that no matter what happens to you in life, you tend to return to a fixed range of happiness. Researchers show that 50 percent of our mind-set comes from genetics, 10 percent is determined by our circumstances (like our job, marital status, wealth) 40 percent is determined by our habitual thoughts, feelings, words and actions. I love this statistic because it validates the power I have to choose my happiness. Why is it that some people can go through the hardest of times, (death of a loved one, loss of a job, house burns down, personal rejection, etc.) and yet they still have a positive attitude and outlook on life? While others get a hangnail and the whole world must stop and send condolences.
The answer: The decision to choose happiness. And that choice starts with a thought.
You have three choices for each thought:
a. Allow the thought to trap you and control your mind and emotions
b. Delete the thought and replace it with a healthy positive thought
c. Meditate on the thought and allow it to develop in a healthy manner
3) Take the Philippians 4:8 test
Funnel every thought through the “4×8 grid”. Brake down each thought and ask yourself some honest questions. Once you have established if the thought is worth expanding, then you can make the decision how to go from there. If the thought is negative and toxic it must be rephrased into a healthy positive thought.
Example: Thought, “No one invites me anywhere”.
Ask yourself on a scale from always to never, is it true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, excellent, or praiseworthy. (See definitions below)
The 4×8 Grid
The Thought: _________________________________________________________________________________
Always Mostly Often Never True
Steps to take to develop healthy thought patterns.
• Be aware of your thoughts. Keep a journal or mental diary. Track your thoughts.
• Keep your mood happy and your thoughts will stay positive.
o Practice smiling through the day.
• Remember you have the choice, and power to direct your thoughts. You’re not helpless in this process.
• Practice thanksgiving and gratitude and not comparison and expectation.
• Rehearse and repeat healthy affirmations and scripture. Phil 4:8 Test
Assignment: Step 1) Write down every negative, toxic thought you can think of—all of them Step 2) Take the Phil 4:8 test Step 3) Now, rewrite each thought in a new positive manner Example:
Toxic: I look so fat in everything I wear.
Healthy: I love my smile and the joy it bring to so many people.
Toxic: I feel stuck in this relationship.
Healthy: I am responsible for my joy and today is going to be an awesome day.
I believe God has an amazing future in store for you. Your job is to walk in the joy and abundance He has destined for you.
Declare this verse throughout the month as you begin to think positive God thoughts.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
Phil. 4:8 Grid Definitions
• True: Consistent with fact or reality
• Honest: Not deceptive or fraudulent; genuine
• Just: Based on fact or sound reason
• Pure: Free of dirt, defilement, or pollution
• Lovely: Having beauty that appeals to the emotions as well as to the eye
• Good report: A positive account of the proceedings or transactions
• Excellent: Of the highest or finest quality; exceptionally good
• Praiseworthy: Deserving of praise; commendable
Remember Thoughts come in 3 time frames.
1. Past thoughts—Memory
2. Present thoughts—Current Situation
3. Future thoughts—Dreams
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