The Mind Body Connection
Medical research has proven that our thought life can trigger thousands of chemical reactions in our body. Positive thoughts such as forgiveness, patience, and self-control, help our bodies release chemicals that keep us in a peaceful and healthy state, while toxic thoughts, such as, un-forgiveness, anger and guilt increase the release of damaging chemicals, making us susceptible to sickness and disease. Toxic thinking is the cause for much of the stress and anxiety in our lives. Dr Caroline Leaf I her book, Who Switched Off My Brain states that, “stress and anxiety harm the body in a multitude of ways; patchy memory, severe mental health issues, immune system problems, heart problems and digestive problems”. In this article I will outline what toxic thinking is and how you can train your brain to think more positively. Proverbs 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones,” and as it turns out this is absolutely the truth.
What is toxic thinking anyway?
Toxic thinking results in physical, emotional and mental stress/anxiety and can be a precursor to disease. Here is a list of some common toxic ways of thinking. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list:
- Un-forgiveness (includes: bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred, violence) – towards anyone, mother in law, spouse, co-worker, or yourself.
- Passive aggressive behavior – saying one thing and doing another, not able to say how you feel, fearful of conflict.
- Fear of man – always analyzing what others are thinking of you, being critical of others or yourself.
- Self hatred – saying sorry for things, thinking you don’t measure up, comparing yourself to others, saying to yourself, “you idiot” or “what’s wrong with you”, inability to love yourself. No selfcare.
- Guilt – feelings of worthlessness, shame, always feeling like its your fault.
- Negative words – saying things like “I can’t do it”, “I always mess up”, “things will never change”, “That’s not fair”, “you always hurt me”.
Dr. Caroline Leaf states that, “toxic thinking causes more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses, activates more than 30 different hormones and neurotransmitters, throwing the body into a frantic state”. Being in a “frantic state” for long periods weakens our body’s abilities to be in balance, creating a doorway for disease to develop. The following is a diagram of some of the common symptoms of stress and anxiety:
(click for larger image)
How do I train my brain to think positively?
As we discussed, toxic thoughts impact your body in very negative and harmful ways. In order to rid yourself of these toxic thoughts it is important to do a personal inventory, mentally, and physically, to determine if you have engaged in any of these ways of thinking. For example if you have a physical condition such as high blood pressure it may be an indicator that you have high stress. The next step would be to identify any possible toxic thinking that may be causing you stress. Your strategy in combating these identified toxic thoughts will be to develop affirmations to counteract them. Affirmations may sound like a foreign or weird concept, but the results cannot be denied. Research has shown that a new thought can be created in 4 days and existing thoughts can be changed in 21 days. Proverbs 18:21 states that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” Click the icon “Achieving Goals By Affirmation” for help in developing and implementing your personal affirmation. For more information on this topic please review the books, Who Switched Off My Brain, by Dr. Caroline Leaf, and A More Excellent Way” by Henry Wright. God bless you on your journey.
Achieving Goals by Affirmation
1. Identify a big problem in your life
2. Name the opposite of the problem in a positive way. Do not use any negative words, or words that help to describe the problem.
3. It is important to fill in both your first and last names.
4. Use feeling words that would express your feelings after having accomplished your goal.
5. Example: Problem – Anger; Opposite – Self-control. Affirmation: I, Joe Smith, feel happy and confident as I walk in self-control each day.
1. My problem is
2. The opposite of this problem is
3. Goal statement:
I, ____________________ ____________________, feel ________________________
And ________________________ as I ____________________________
____________________________ each day.