Last month, we talked about the fact that childhood secrets, deep wounds from your past and holding onto feelings like bitterness, anger, resentment and unforgiveness can profoundly and negatively impact your health and weight loss goals. And since your thoughts precede your emotions, toxic thinking and negative emotions go hand in hand. Many of the roots of how you are thinking and thus feeling today can be traced back to the seeds of negative thoughts planted years ago.
Like I stated previously, according to Dr. Caroline Leaf, anywhere from 75-95% of illnesses that plague us today are a direct result of our thought life. Considering the average person has over 30,000 thoughts a day, you needn’t be a mathematician to conclude that what you think about really does matter and can significantly affect your health—for better or for worse. In fact, through an uncontrolled thought life, we can actually set the scene for and make ourselves sick!
So then what’s the solution if you struggle with health and weight loss issues and find it difficult to keep your mind free of toxic thinking? The good news is you actually have the ability to change both.
While traditional health models and the media may make it seem otherwise, our bodies were created in such a dynamic way that they really can be healed from the inside out. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t start with your plate or what’s on it, but begins with your thought patterns instead. If you have trouble wrapping your mind around this, you can simply Google anything along the lines of medical research + positive thinking + health/healing and you will see a slew of results from the Mayo Clinic to Psychology Today to Harvard University that scientifically prove exactly what I am talking about.
Well then, where should you start? First, take some time to think about what you think about on a daily basis. To help you take a good long look at where you currently stand, consider the following statements to see if your thought life could use a little detoxing:
- How many times have you replayed in your head a painful conversation or situation from the past that you just cannot seem to get past?
- How often do you find yourself getting upset with or focusing on negative situations that haven’t even occurred yet?
- Are there people in your life, past or present, you feel you are unable to forgive or that cause you to feel very angry if you start thinking about them?
- Do you take an unhealthy ownership of health issues? In other words, when you talk about them, do you find yourself saying, “My arthritis” or “My allergies” etc.?
If you read these and thought to yourself, “This is totally me—but I just assumed it was totally normal to think like this!” Actually, it isn’t. In fact if your mind is constantly consumed with toxic thinking, then your body will eventually follow, if it hasn’t already.
If you could use a little help uprooting your toxic thinking, here are 4 simple ways to get you started in the right direction:
1) Begin by taking an honest evaluation of what your thought life (and hence your health) actually looks like. Are you enjoying the benefits of positive thinking, good health and energy…or are you struggling day in and day out, just barely surviving?
2) Next, you need to begin to take each and every thought captive. In other words, you need to be aware of what you are thinking so you can determine if a thought is toxic or not. “You mean I can’t just let random thoughts float through my mind all day; I actually have to think about what I am thinking about?” Exactly!
3) If you determine a thought to be negative, you need to stop right then and there and get rid of it. But there’s more—next you need to immediately replace it with something positive. If it sounds difficult, guess what, it’s really not! Why? Because YOU determine what you think and whether or not you are planting toxic or positive thoughts. Don’t know what to think? A simple way to do this is to focus instead on what you are thankful for. Think of how beautiful your children are or how grateful you are for your spouse. Think of all of the things you really like about yourself (trust me, you can find plenty of things, if you actually try). Think of how blessed we are to live in America with clean, running water. Think of the fact that you are alive, which means you are here for a purpose! The options are endless and you can always, always, always find something to be thankful for!
4) Do you feel burdened by past hurts, either from childhood or from relationships over the years with friends or significant others? Are you struggling to make peace with your past? If you feel you cannot overcome negative feelings from past circumstances, then I strongly urge you to consider meeting with someone who can help you. As I said last month, I have been talking with clients or potential clients about whether I can help them move forward with life coaching or if seeking help from a counselor or another professional would be a better fit. I highly encourage you not to bury negative emotions from your past because how you think about them may be negatively affecting your health today.
Let’s review: The easiest way to get rid of toxic thoughts is to THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT! Am I saying you need to be consciously aware of what you are thinking about at all times? YES! Because if what you think about really can make you sick, then what you think about really does matter. As the ancient proverb says: So a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. You actually can determine how you feel inside and out. So start thinking positively and watch in amazement as you automatically begin to cultivate a healthy, balanced life!