The natural theme this time of year is always thanksgiving. No surprise there! Every year, around our one day that is set aside for us to be thankful on, we are reminded that we shouldn’t just be thankful on Thanksgiving but every day. For many of us, however, being thankful doesn’t come naturally. We might say the words, but if you’re honest about the thoughts going through your mind, most of them are probably not thankful thoughts.
It is estimated that you think between 12,000 and 70,000 thoughts per day and that 80% of those thoughts are negative in nature. That’s as many as 56,000 negative things going through your mind every day, or more than 38 negative thoughts per minute if you thought at the same rate even when you are asleep! Is it really any wonder that many of us have trouble feeling happy, encouraging, positive and thankful?
Our brains, rather than being unchanging mechanical objects, are constantly changing organs. These constant negative thoughts actually cause a chemical reaction in our brains. Negative thoughts form pathways to other negative thoughts. As these pathways connect, they strengthen and contribute to more negative thought patterns. This sounds like an awful spiral into negativity, doesn’t it? Thankfully, there is another side to this as well. Positive thoughts effect a similar chemical reaction in our brains, but one that forms pathways to other positive thoughts and leads to more positive thought patterns.
So, what kinds of thoughts do you want to have? When thinking about your thoughts, remember that thoughts don’t just stay in your head. One of my favourite quotes (which has been attributed to many different people) is, “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” What pathways for your destiny are your thoughts creating? Negative ones or positive ones?
Changing our thoughts isn’t an easy thing, but it can be done. I can’t think of a better place to start than with being thankful. When you start to think negatively about something, try to think of something that you could be thankful for instead. Try making a list. Start today and list ten things that you are thankful for. Work at making this a new habit in your life.
It is estimated that up to 98% of the thoughts you think today are the same thoughts that you thought yesterday. Try adding some new thoughts; it could affect your destiny!