The famous French philosopher, Rene Descartes, said "I think, therefore I am." He could very well have said,
"How I think determines how I am."
Put it another way, you are what you think. Our thoughts are powerful tools that can determine not only our moods, but also our decisions and actions. Dale Carnegie, the grandfather of self-help and author of the massively successful book How to Win Friends and Influence People puts it this way:
"Remember, happiness doesn't depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely upon what you think."
What are your thoughts like? If they are anything like mine, they are a mix of your to-do list, what or where you want to eat that night. Plus trying to remember where you put the car keys. That’s on a day when the balls are still in the air, and the cat is in the bag. But what happens after twilight, or in those quiet moments when the phone stops ringing and you are left to our own devices. Where does your mind go?
Mine can get bleak sometimes, especially when I am tired. It’s then that I invite people (who have made my life difficult) over for a party in my head. Or forget the people, why not re-visit old memories? Things I shouldn’t have done, didn’t do, or wish I had done. Do you see where I am going? Down, down, down.
Then there are all those worries about tomorrow. Or all those must- have items, houses or jobs to which we aspire yet may never have. The perfect figure? The perfect relationship? The perfect life? It’s exhausting just writing it all down.
Why not forget all that and move on? Yes, really – move on. Let’s tell the miserable people the party is over, consign the bad memories to the bin and give the must-haves or might-have-beens the boot. After all, why set the bar so high that we’re too tired or discouraged to reach it anyway? Andrew Young, Author of A Way Out of No Way explains,
"I have about concluded that wealth is a state of mind, and that anyone can acquire a wealthy state of mind by thinking rich thoughts."
So what is the difference between a rich thought and a poor one? And can you train your mind to think better? The answer is yes. It all starts with your point of view. Here’s a quick test:
Think of something that has happened to you recently that has upset you, depressed you or made you mad. Now think about it again, and find something good to say about it. It's all about your perspective. Here are five keys you can use, starting today, to changing the way you think for the better:
1 "Praise the bridge that carried you over." George Colman
You can probably look back on parts of your life that were extremely difficult. However, you can also probably think of something or someone that helped you through. Maybe a card or a phone call when you needed it, a kind word or a shoulder to cry on. Remember those things, they are the bridge that got you over the canyon.
2 You can turn things around
Bad things often happen to good people. However, real good can come out of really bad situations. Many people turn their suffering into positive action. Many charities, sponsored events and crisis centres have been started by people who have experienced torment. Their hope is to protect others. Getting involved can be a positive step towards getting healed.
3 Love and be loved
Who makes you happy? Who are the people, past and present, that have made your life worth living. Let them know. Celebrate each other. Make your own special occasions. Go somewhere special with someone worthwhile.
4 Look for the good in the day
Today, what happened that you can be thankful for? Sunshine, great coffee, a good book, laughter, a song on the radio, a relaxing bath at the end of a long day? As you go about your day, look for the little things that make it better, the flowers growing out of the wall.
5 Forgive and move on
You may be a victim of injustice, malice or violence. I know how hard this can be. However, with the right help, you do not have to be a victim for the rest of your life. When you are ready, find a professional or friend that you can trust and start to work through your troubles. Forgiveness does not release the perpetrator from responsibility for their actions, however it can bring great release to the one who has been harmed
You only have to pick up a newspaper or magazine to read about people, like you and me, who have been through the most extraordinary circumstances. Those who bear testimony to the simple fact that anger, fear, bitterness, resentment and loss can all be channelled positively. There is a way move out of the shadows.
It’s not always an easy path, but the view is much better once you get into the light.