Being in a good frame of mind helps keep one in the picture of health. ~Unknown
We've talked before about why it's important to keep an eye on your thoughts--because you bring about what you think about.
So, hey--remember that "Mr. Yuck" guy from back in the day? That green-faced frowny type who reminded you what to avoid in the medicine cabinet and under the kitchen sink?
Well, dangerous substances can hurt your body, and toxic thoughts can make you sicker than any chemical sometimes.
So, if you're focused on all good things, then more good things will come your way. But, if your thoughts become toxic, they can and will draw negativity and toxicity into your life, and can even cause physical side effects if left unchecked.
Research has proven that the way we think can cause a wide variety of chemical reactions in our bodies. When we're thinking happy thoughts--forgiving people, feeling patient and maintaining self-control, for example--our bodies will release chemicals that make us feel peaceful and healthy.
But when we're feeling negatively and thinking toxic thoughts--like feeling and nurturing rage, holding grudges or wallowing in guilt or self-pity--our bodies release damaging chemicals. This makes us more susceptible to illness and disease.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, author of the book Who Switched Off My Brain, says 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."
Serious stuff, right? The way you think can literally affect not just your day-to-day quality of life, but also your long-term health.
So what do you do when you catch yourself thinking toxic thoughts?
Listen to Yourself Talk
You may not even realize how often you complain or lament about the things in life you don't love. Maybe you are frustrated because you had to wait in line for a half hour at the grocery store, or the traffic on your way home from work was so terrible that you actually got out of your car and sat on the hood to get a little sun. Perhaps you found out that your kid failed Science or you didn't get into the college of your choice--or your dog ate your knitting project.
Does it really help you to rehash and focus on these negative things? Nope, it actually hurts you. So, while you should absolutely feel comfortable telling the people you care about what happened to you during the day, try to focus on the positive side of things, even when there doesn't seem to be one.
For example, if you waited in line at the grocery store, maybe you talked to someone who really needed a good conversation. If you sat in traffic too long--maybe you needed the solitude or you heard your favorite song. You get the idea--find the silver lining in every cloud.
Use Mind Control (On Yourself)
I can't stress enough how important it is to recognize and monitor your thoughts. You may not even realize how often you think negative thoughts. For example, if your friend wins an award that you wanted, you may think "she must be better than me" or "I deserved that award, not her!" But if you can bring yourself to genuinely congratulate and feel happy for your friend, you'll not only do her a favor, but yourself too.
If you find yourself FEELING negatively, take a minute to listen to your thoughts. You might be surprised to find out that you may be subconsciously thinking toxic thoughts.
Take control of your mind, because you can. All you need to do is mentally cancel those toxic thoughts and replace them with positive and healthy thoughts that reflect your true desires. (Because whatever you think about and focus on is what you're drawing toward yourself--so why not think about and focus on what you really want?)
Change Your Scene
When I feel like my thoughts are getting a little toxic, sometimes it helps me to just change the scene around me. Maybe that means just going into a different room or taking a walk--or maybe I need to get in the car and go somewhere. But inevitably, if I make the effort to change my scene, it changes my mind pretty quickly.
Try going out for coffee with a friend, taking a walk or a bath, working out--or even busting out the Wii for a little karaoke or golf. Whatever works for you--just get away from the spot in which you started thinking toxic thoughts for awhile.
What do you do to control and eliminate toxic thoughts? Tell me in the comments!