Thinking Yourself to Health

Reading Level: Leisurely

A couple of readers asked about health problems stemming from past hurts and how positive thinking brings healing, so let’s touch on both today!

There is an endless stream of little things happening everyday which can irritate you if you allow them to, but they are not even worth the negative thoughts and resulting physical consequences.

The first main point here is “little!” For most of us, it is allowing little situations to consistently irritate or worry us that ruin our health. Medical studies have shown that up to 80% of physical illnesses are caused by emotional issues. Some of us may be experiencing health problems due to living in an emotionally and/or physically abusive environment; if that is the case, health cannot come without a change “in” the environment or “of” environments. (If this is your case, please go to the Cloud Tag in the side column and click on “boundary violations” for posts to help you with that type of situation.) The majority of us, however, allow our health to be ruined by instances that actually come down to a matter of our own choice of thoughts. We can be the cause of our own poor health by allowing a multitude of small instances throughout the day to create irritation or anger or worry. Because we allow these negative responses so often, harmful chemicals such as cortisol are continually being released into our bodies. Studies show that cortisol, a chemical released by stress, increases irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and is associated with numerous diseases (1).

The little things that set you off will vary with your personality. For example, what negative thoughts come to mind when:

  • someone cuts you off in traffic?
  • cuts you off to take the closest parking space?
  • a family member spills something on the carpet or furniture?
  • the kids start fighting?
  • the dog had an accident in the house?
  • a co-worker makes a cutting remark about you in front of other staff?
  • your computer locks up and you forgot to recently save the document?
  • you spill your cup of coffee that you just bought on break?
  • the doorknob catches on your new shirt and rips it?

You should get a clear picture by now that almost any person we come in contact with or anything in our environment can cause stress, anger, and irritation countless times throughout the day if we allow them to.

If we do allow these little things to irritate us, we will experience an endless number of negative thoughts which in turn produce negative emotions and release harmful chemicals into the body. There is an old book, but still a great one, by Richard Carlson called, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff (2).” There have been numerous sequels as the book was a longtime best seller. Don’t be misled by the title. The author is not suggesting that extreme problems and tragedies do not occur, but rather that you must determine to not be bothered by all the little irritations or you won’t have the energy to deal with real stresses when they come. And in addition to that, you will be miserable most of the time! Some people create the same scenario with worry; they allow themselves to consistently imagine unlikely scenarios throughout the day and worry about them coming true even though they know it’s unlikely. It’s time to stop!

Scripture encourages us to quit giving attention to the little, negative instances as they are not worth the harm we bring ourselves by focusing on them.

“Love is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it-pays no attention to the wrong suffered (1 Cor. 13:3,4 Amp.).” If I were to paraphrase this quote, I’d say that to live a loving, positive, healthy life, I cannot be easily irritated or worried or bitter; I will not lose my health, joy, or energy by paying attention to these small, negative instances which have no effect on my overall life. Now I want you to imagine yourself going throughout your day putting this verse into practice by not reacting negatively-even in your mind-to all the little instances that would normally cause you irritation or worry. Now realize how much happier you will be by not allowing all those negative thoughts. Then appreciate the improvement to your health because all that cortisol is not being released by your negative thoughts. Instead, you are releasing healing endorphins by choosing to maintain a state of happiness.

Quit focusing on the myriad of little, negative instances in your day. Choose to maintain a positive mental/emotional state and begin thinking yourself to better health!

(1) p. 39, 7 Pillars of Health, Dr. Don Colbert ISBN#1-59185-815-1
(2) Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff ISBN#0-7868-8185-2
(3) The inspiration for using the above scripture passage in today’s blog and the concept of relating it to one’s physical health was from the June 20th post in Faith to Faith, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, ISBN#0-88114-843-1

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