Ever had a feeling like your mind is out-of-control?
Ever wondered why you had sleepless nights thinking about things in the past and negative thoughts that kept on haunting you? Did you ever wonder why you resort to external gratifications to relieve the sadness that you feel within? Have you ever felt like you've reached the end of the line thinking that you will forever be stuck in an endless cycle of problems? If you have answered yes to most of these questions, then congratulations! You, my friend, are a certified human!
Studies suggest that humans are prone to negativity. Negative experiences have a bigger psychological impact on us than positive and neutral experiences. For example, when we receive both good news and bad news at the same time, it is more likely for our brain to dwell on the negative news than on the positive one. This is what we call “Negativity Bias.” This happens on an unconscious level that is why we are not aware that for years we have been training our brain to adapt this kind of reaction process. So does that mean that we’ll forever think this way? The good news is that we can rewire our brain to think positively!
Our thoughts play a major role in our lives whether we are aware of it or not. Most of the situations and circumstances in our lives started with just a single thought. As Proverbs 4:23 states “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” Therefore, in order for us to change the quality of our lives, we must first change the quality of our thoughts.
A lot of information has been circulating in the web about how to achieve a positive mindset like mindfulness techniques, daily affirmations, exercise, engaging in fun activities, etc. I have tried doing these in the past, and in all fairness, these techniques worked quite well. However, there are several methods that I have considered as more effective and have produced lasting effects on my way of thinking.
Practical Ways on How to Train Your Brain to Think Positively:1. Exercise positive self-talk by reminding yourself about your true identity in Christ.
What you think about yourself is crucial in shaping your life. If you think that you are incomplete or you are not good enough, your actions will be geared towards failure. However, if you think that you are destined for greatness, you will become unstoppable in pursuing your goals. The Word of God holds all the truth about your true identity in opposition to what the world says you are. You are loved, accepted, forgiven, and you are capable of doing all things.
When you constantly believe and declare these things about yourself, you will start to have a positive perspective about life because inner belief is always more powerful that external circumstances.
*Verses for reflection: John 3:16, Romans 5:8, Colossians 1:21-22, 1 John 2:12, Philippians 4:132. Meditate on the Word of God
There is power in knowing the truth about our circumstance. God’s Word tells us everything that we have to do in order to maintain inner peace even when going through the worst of times. It gives us an assurance that everything happens for a reason and that all things will work out for our good.
*Verses for reflection: Romans 8:28, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Philippians 4:83. Welcome the day with prayer and praise. Involve yourself with like-minded people who will help you in your spiritual growth.
Praise leaves no room for complaining and negativity. Once you start your day with praise, your brain activity starts to shift from negative to positive. The results of a study by Koenig (2012) explain the effect of prayer in mental health in a nutshell. “The benefits of devout religious practice, particularly involvement in a faith community and religious commitment, are that people cope better. In general, they cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being because they have more hope, they're more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often.” Koenig (2012)
*Verses for reflection: Philippians 4:6, Hebrews 13:15, Ephesians 5:19-204. Start and end your day with gratitude
Gratitude helps us acknowledge all of life’s goodness and develop a sense of appreciation for what we have rather than what we don’t. As a result, we start looking at life in a positive perspective and become more excited for the days to come. Likewise, it helps us recognize that all the blessings we receive come from a Greater Source outside of ourselves, therefore reducing our need to take control over our life and completely surrender it to God who has the power to provide everything that we need.
*Verses for reflection: Psalm 107:1, Psalm 9:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – THINK ABOUT SUCH THINGS and the God of peace will be with you.”