Dr. Dan Collins, an ordained minister and licensed psychologist, writes that a person’s state of mind is engineered by thoughts — so start thinking of yourself as being a thought engineer.
Negative thinking is a major source of anxiety. The best way to alleviate anxiety is to eliminate as much negative thinking as possible. That is not to say that negative elements don’t exist in life, but the more negatives you can turn into neutrals or positives, the better you are going to feel about your day.
Dr. Collins lists three steps to being a thought engineer:
- Emotions are created by thoughts. The pioneers of cognitive therapy discovered that depressed and anxious people had a distorted perspective of their worlds. When they learned to correct what was coined “stinking thinking,” many were able to master their depression.
- Untwist negative thoughts. While it is hard work, each of us can begin to challenge the thoughts that bring us down. This doesn’t mean that we can’t acknowledge problems. It just suggests that when we are facing a challenge, we should seize our areas of weakness and vulnerability as great opportunities for improvement. We can use weakness as a springboard to healing and growth by being courageous enough to ask for help and follow through with it. We can choose to examine what we need to work on as our own personal or professional roadmaps to growth. Rather than getting depressed about the list of growth areas, we can look at our owning up to legitimate issues as a way to catapult ourselves forward.
- Choose your thoughts. Since we know that thoughts are the engines that drive our feelings, we can pause and reflect on how we want to feel. There is nothing magic about this approach. We can choose how we view our lives, and we decide how we view our problems. Instead of holding onto a perspective that is filled with negativity and expecting the worst from ourselves and others, we can expect the best. We can look at our challenges and say, “Why not?” We can say, “Today, I will put myself on the path to achieving my dreams.”
Negative thoughts are the most wasteful part of your day. All they do is to make your world a negative place. Try spending tomorrow saying positive things, without saying anything negative. Not only will you feel better about yourself, others will react more positively to you.
STEPS ON THE PATHWAY
- Learn to control needless negative thoughts.
- Untwist negative thoughts.
- Beware of “all or nothing” thinking.
- Give compliments.
- Find a positive element in even the worst situation.
- Believe in yourself.
If you need a guide to help you down the pathway, or if you feel that you need immediate assistance, call the Front Porch at 901.762.8558.