The Immense Power of our Thoughts

The Immense Power of our Thoughts. Positive Thinking.

Most people have heard about the power of positive thinking. That is, how we can think positive things for them to become a positive reality.

We should never underestimate the immense power of our thoughts. They are extremely powerful: they shape our lives.

Consider just how many thoughts we have, and it can be seen this has to be the case. According to the University of Southern California’s Laboratory Of NeuroImaging, the average adult has 70,000 thoughts a day.

It’s a fact that anything we focus on gets bigger – whether it is positive or negative. So, if we choose positive thoughts, it’s clear that we will see more positive things in our life in an emotional, mental, spiritual and physical way.

Ask any physician about who is more likely to be free of illness and in good health – the person who is stressed and anxious or the person who is calm and relaxed – and they will tell you it’s the latter.

Mind over matter

The immense power of our thoughts is most easily visible when someone works it to overcome a physical issue or illness. Doctor of chiropractic Joe Dispenza’s story is a powerful example of this.

In his early 20s, he was on his bike when a four-wheel drive hit him at 55mph. Six of the vertebrae in his spine were broken. He was told by doctors that he would never walk again. But he refused to accept that.

“I thought I might as well take a chance here,” said Dispenza, now aged 61, and the author of bestselling books, including You Are the Placebo: Making Your Mind Matter. “I think that this voice kept coming up in my head, saying the power that made the body heals the body.

“And I thought: ‘… This power is intelligence. And intelligence is consciousness. Consciousness is awareness. Awareness is paying attention. It must be paying attention to me… .’

“And I said: ‘I’m not going to let any thought slip by my awareness that I don’t want to experience.’ … I just started reconstructing my spine in my mind, vertebrae by vertebrae.”

He thought, imagined, believed, felt and expected his spine to mend and that he would walk again. For a few decades now, he has gone around the world and is a hugely popular social media personality talking to audiences about this as well as publishing his bestsellers on our ability to have the power of mind over matter.

“We now know that if people are given an opportunity to learn vital information about what’s possible—based in science and reason—and then given numerous opportunities to be stretched beyond their limits to experience the truth of that philosophy,” he says, “some immaterial energy emerges in them.”

It works if you work it

After reading Dr Dispenza’s books and hearing about this from other self-help experts such as Dr Wayne Dyer, I have also started to put this into practice. 

Firstly, I totally avoided two bad colds that ran through my household.

Maybe I was just lucky… but then last year, I fractured my ankle. Doctors told me a fractured ankle usually means wearing a cast for four to six weeks. My cast was removed after just nine days.

I had spent those nine days visualizing it healing. I looked at pictures of ankle bones, studying how they should be. Seeing where the fracture was from my X-rays, I pictured the fracture repairing itself.

I imagined, felt, believed, and expected it to heal and how I would be out of the cast and back walking and playing sports. I especially did this as I fell asleep at night.

I thought in a completely positive way about how I needed to be fit and healthy – to be there as fully as possible for my family and friends again, for my work, and to do the sports I love so much.

Man Positive Thinking

Of absolute importance, I worked on catching and then casting away with strong intention any negative thoughts that often tried to creep in, like: ‘I bet when I next see the doctor she’ll say the cast needs to stay on,’ or ‘Maybe you’ll never be able to run again like you could before.’

Using the phenomenal power of positive thinking to work wonders such as these is something I’ve been working on for several years now. Everyone can do this.

Placebo and nocebo effects

Our thoughts are so powerful that someone who fears, for example, spiders can be physically sick from just thinking about a spider. 

In sports, we can all understand the power of positive thinking.

If someone played a game of tennis, for instance, thinking constantly that they were going to lose, there would certainly be much less chance of them winning. They might even be a much better player than the person they were up against, but the thoughts would create a feeling that would hinder their game by robbing them of energy.

Consider the ‘placebo effect’ that nearly everyone is aware of in the modern world. Most drug trials today include comparisons between the medicine being trialed and a placebo.

There have been countless astounding instances of people taking a placebo and improving or being cured from illnesses. Sometimes severe illnesses.

This must be due to their thinking, feeling, believing, and expecting themselves to get well. 

So it figures, then, that the opposite can also be true. This is the less known ‘nocebo effect’ – when people think, feel, and believe themselves to be unwell. 

Even the etymology of the words ‘placebo’ and ‘nocebo’ indicate it is about how we think, feel and believe. ‘Placebo’ is from Latin, meaning “I shall be acceptable or pleasing,” while ‘nocebo’ is from Latin, meaning “I shall cause harm.”

How we think and our mental health

There’s a phrase often heard in alcohol addiction recovery communities: “I didn’t have so much of a drinking problem… as a thinking problem.” In addition, it is why some say the AA of Alcoholics Anonymous could also stand for Altered Attitudes.

When people go through the Twelve Steps, they will let go of resentments and secrets and also learn about new ways to live life on life’s terms. That is, they are given new coping strategies and tools in how to respond rather than react to certain situations or people. 

It is similar to one-to-one therapy at Tikvah Lake Recovery Center. “Three things: thought, speech, action,” says Tikvah Lake Recovery’s co-founder Dr David Nesenoff, a counselor for more than 30 years. “Most people focus on the action. How do we change the behavior?

“The fact is every little detail starts from the thought. So we have to change the thought and the thinking pattern, the way we think about things or recognize where this initial thought is coming from. Also, look into speech patterns as well, but thought is the most important.”

So, that is what many experts know: how we think largely creates how and who we are. For instance, the feeling of anxiety is created by having anxious thoughts – but not necessarily about what is actually happening. In fact, most anxiety is worrying about what might happen.

Many people manage to alleviate their anxiety by learning how to become aware of their thoughts. They realize that they are, in fact, the observer of their thoughts, not their thoughts.

Every thought is one we can choose to let in or not. One CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) technique is to imagine each thought as a ‘thought boat’, and we are the harbor. We can send the negative thought boats on their way and over the horizon but allow positive thoughts to moor.

For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…

How we think, and consequently how we feel, will play a part in varying degrees on many mental health conditions. For instance, depression cannot co-exist with gratitude.

This means that if someone is focusing on the positive things they have to be grateful for in life, they cannot at that same moment feel depressed.

The same can be said for stress. If someone learns how to keep things in the moment, there will be very little stress, as this largely comes from thinking ahead.

Our ancestors knew all of this, that our thinking leads to how we experience life. 

As it is written in the Bible: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he… .” 

Written in the 5th to 2nd Century BCE, Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita says: “You become that which you believe you can become.” 

Stoic philosopher Seneca said: “We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” 

Another of the Stoic philosophers, Marcus Aurelius, said: “People are not disturbed by things, but by the views, they take of them,” and “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

You’ll see it when you believe it 

Returning home feeling

More recently, motivational speaker and bestselling self-help author Dr Wayne Dyer put it like this: “You’ll see it when you believe it.”

So, it’s not just about thinking it; it’s about feeling it deep inside too. Thoughts become feelings, which in turn become beliefs and behaviors – and this means how and who we are in life.

Many people who struggle with mental health problems have learned, usually during childhood, to focus on the negative and lack. A major part of recovery is to let people realize there is always another way of seeing things.

People can learn to focus on abundance and all the blessings they have in life. This will positively transform lives, for the person and those around them. In some instances, it will save lives too.

The team of mental health experts at Tikvah Lake Recovery has helped people with all types of mental health problems. We are here to help anyone who is struggling with their mental health to make sure they receive the care and support they deserve.

Our individualized treatment programs treat mental health disorders, behavioral addictions, and substance use disorders.

If you’d like more information on how Tikvah Lake can help you overcome negative thought patterns and build a healthy and successful future, please call us today for a confidential chat about how we can help you or someone you care about.

David Hurst - Tikvah Lake Recovery

About David Hurst

David Hurst has four books published on mental health recovery, including 12 Steps To 1 Hero, The Anxiety Conversation and Words To Change Your Life. He has written for national newspapers and magazines around the world for 30 years including The Guardian, Psychologies, GQ, Esquire, Marie Claire and The Times. He has been in successful continual recovery since January 2002.

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