“ You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.” ~ Isak Dinesen
It has been said that most of our time is spent thinking about the past or the future. Think about your own thoughts, and see if this is true for you. There is nothing wrong with fond memories, or looking forward to what lies ahead. This is all part of life.
The problem comes when time is spent on negative thoughts about the past, and on worry thoughts about the future. This kind of thinking has a huge impact on our quality of life. As I have so often written, negative thinking not only affects our mood and our outlook, it also affects our physical health as well.
There are a couple of things we can do to ensure our thoughts do not negatively affect our health. The first one is to discipline ourselves to focus only on the positives in the past. Everyone has some sadness in his or her past, some regrets, and perhaps wishes that some things could have been different. The past cannot be changed, however, so it is best to let all of those things go.
Similarly, when thinking of the future, we can try always to visualize positive outcomes. Indeed there are times when the future is not going to be positive, as when a loved one has a terminal illness, or when a break up or divorce is immanent, but we can resolve to do the best we can in dealing with these situations. These situations are real. The thoughts we really have to change are worry thoughts about things that might happen in the future.
Another thing we can do, if we are prone to negative thinking, is to practice thought stopping. As soon as you become aware that you are thinking negatively, you immediately imagine a big STOP sign, and do not go any further down that road. It takes some practice to be able to do this on a regular basis, because negative thought patterns are like a worn path across a grassy field. It is easier just to go down the worn path.
Think of thoughts like food we take into our bodies. Are our thoughts nutritious, building strength and good health, or are they toxic, weakening our immune system and contributing to illness and disease? It is important to detoxify our thinking. We eat three times a day, but we are thinking all the time.
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