Did you know that your thoughts affect your health? The type of thoughts we have can affect our breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and every cell in our bodies. Dr. Daniel Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, says that negative thoughts can create cravings for fattening, sugary or salty foods and rob your sleep. Stress can make you fat, wrinkled and sick! Does that motivate you to harness your thoughts?
I want to share a tool that I find helpful in renewing your mind and corralling the renegade thoughts and feelings that make us sick. REAP your thoughts.
Recognize your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we are so used to living with the static of negative thinking in the back of our minds that we aren’t even aware of the story we’re playing until we start overreacting or manifesting health issues. Learn to tune into your thoughts and emotions. Ask yourself, “What am I thinking and feeling?”
Express your thoughts and feelings to God. I find journaling my thoughts and emotions helps me gain a third person objectivity. For this to work you must be completely honest and specific. God already knows what you are thinking so you don’t have to whitewash it for Him. For example, “I feel so embarrassed that the owner criticized me in front of the team.” “I hate my job and my boss. I think I’ll quit.”
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you assess your thoughts (Psalm 139). After you have listed your thoughts, ask, “Is this thought true?” Considering biblical knowledge, does the opposite of my thought sound more true than my original thought or feeling? For example, which sounds more biblically accurate? “Nothing will ever change. This is hopeless.” Or “God is with me and for me. His plans for me are good.” See Romans 8:31; 15:13; Hebrews 13:5-6; Jeremiah 29:11.
Practice. Immediately put into practice what God shows you. Thinking about changing won’t change you! You must take the renegade thoughts captive to Christ and replace them with thinking that is true, lovely and biblically right (2 Cor. 10:5, Phil 4:8). When you slip back, practice some more. Soon you will become aware of your thoughts and able to kick out the ones that don’t belong. Don’t worry if it takes a while for your feelings to catch up with your new perspective. Practice pondering and living the truth.
The prophet Jeremiah openly expressed his hurt and disappointment to God. He even called God an uncaring beast! However, he gained a whole new perspective when he recalled the truth (Lam. 3:21-25; 56).
The next time you find yourself tossing in bed, grabbing a candy bar or snapping at your friend, take a moment to REAP your thoughts so you can reap the rewards of a healthy thought life. Healthy thoughts translate into a healthy life. It takes practice, but the reward is great!
Give Yourself a Break is a great resource to help you renew your mind. We have some copies at our office or you can order it online.
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Sandi Brown says
Recognize — you are absolutely correct when you say sometimes we don’t recognize the thoughts. I am so used to putting myself down that the negative words flow from my mouth. So, thanks for the reminder. This must be one of the disciplines God calls us to.
Teresa Hamby says
I have read about Dr. Amen’s work and it is very fascinating. thanks for the reminder. I continue to work on taking captive my thoughts and renewing my mind. Sometimes my thought life can get in a negative rut. Teresa
Diane Allen says
I KNOW this and try to encourage other people with this truth. Then I come home and fail to practice what I preach! Thank you for the reminder. I got here from the sequel to this post.