Change Your Thoughts, And You Change Your Day

(Read in :025)“Change your thoughts and you change your world”~ Norman Vincent Peale

Sometimes, from out of nowhere, bleakness overtakes me. It dawns without a warning signal. I may have felt confident and strong yesterday, but today I feel weak and worthless. On days like that my responsibilities seem impossible and they overwhelm me. I feel completely inadequate to tackle things. I get lightheaded and feel all wild, unable to corral my thoughts. Please tell me, “I’ve had days like that, I understand.”

The inner critic

All of us have a constant internal conversation in our head. I’m not sure who counted it or how they did it, but experts say we have about 60,000 thoughts a day and most of them are negative! Even though our circumstances haven’t changed, our inner critic can sometimes have a heyday with our feelings and our self-worth. Buddhists call the chatter our “monkey mind.” I believe these bleak feelings can also be a case of spiritual warfare.

Regardless of your religious beliefs, most would agree that evil exists in the world and sometimes we’re attacked. Thankfully, these days come along less often and I’ve learned to understand the hateful things I say to myself are lies. Still, once in awhile the self-deprecation threatens to suffocate me. Most of the time I can shake it off quickly but sometimes I need the help of others. I am so thankful for loving friends!

Replace the hurtful thoughts

Clearly, there are times when the only emotion we can feel is sadness. Tragedy strikes, jobs are lost, loved ones die. All of us wrestle with a list too long, a day too full, demands too heavy,  but we are able to soldier on. The sort of sadness I’m talking about comes without reason.

How can we change it? It can only happen when we replace the hateful thoughts with loving ones. As corny as it sounds, we need to spend some time in what Matthew Kelly calls “the classroom of silence.” Just ten minutes a day reflecting on our blessings and listing the things for which we’re grateful can change things in an amazingly short time. Try starting the day with some new thinking. Change the channel on those inner thoughts from “good God, it’s morning” to “Good morning God!

Be kind to yourself

Learn to differentiate between what’s necessary and lasting and what will be quickly forgotten. Dare to try it- lower your expectations a bit, push a little less and see what happens. The relief will be enormous and it’s unlikely anyone will notice or remember anything other than how wonderful it was to be with you.

If you strive for anything, let it be to have more of a Mary heart in our Martha world. You’ll have to buck your tendencies but the rewards are enormous. I’ve been a card-carrying member of the beat-yourself-up club, so it’s been the toughest battle I’ve ever fought. One more thing, slow down your runaway thoughts and stop to see things as they really are. You’ll see tiny wonders and miracles everywhere, even in the most mundane, chore-filled day. Then with God’s help, you’ll find your way through the most difficult times.

Happy day! Spring starts right now! See you Thursday!

 

2Comments

  • Gail

    Thank you for some great thoughts to “spring” us into the week and into this waking up season.

    • Betty Streff

      It’s hard to miss the symbolism of spring isn’t it? When the brown dead landscape comes alive with color?

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