July 16, 2016

Positive Thinking: How Easy is It?

Have you ever considered how complicated and personalized the thinking process is? For example, some of us are usually upbeat, while some of us have to struggle to find contentment. Yet, that’s a simplistic explanation. There are all sorts of factors involved:

  • The food, liquid, and chemicals we put into our bodies
  • Whether we live/work in a negative or positive environment
  • Our B vitamin levels
  • Our serotonin and dopamine levels (These are the substances that promote a feeling of well-being.)
  • How much sunlight/mood-boosting light we’re exposed to

This is not a science blog. We don’t need to launch into a ton of detail. Let’s sum it up simply this way: what’s going on inside our bodies and in our situation contributes to our state of mind.

We’re all “Wired” Differently

We must be patient when people have different capacities for happiness. Many of us are not able to turn cheerfulness on at a moment’s notice; there’s no getting around it.

Our minds are not water faucets that we can quickly turn on and off. Our brains are complicated organisms.

It doesn’t end there, though. Recent research shows our intestinal systems are also involved in mood regulation.

Challenges to a Positive Mindset

Environment (Jason)
This man grew up in a true Cinderella home—complete with a wicked stepmother and stepsisters. His recent work environment was also toxic in every way imaginable. Jason is a financially successful man, but he is struggling with his self-image right now. He is also making poor choices in many areas of his life.
Mindset (The Prophet Elijah)
He seems to have suffered from depression. In I Kings, chapter 18, he wows a crowd of hundreds, maybe thousands, when he defeats the priests of Baal. The power he showed was truly amazing! However, by chapter 19, he is running and hiding in a cave. He sees only negatives in the present and future, including his own imminent death.
Eventually, he is coaxed out of his hiding place. He is reminded of his duties and given a good meal. The prophet is able to faithfully fulfill his responsibilities from that point.

My Conclusion

Our attitude is always a decision we make. However, please keep in mind that joy is not a quick, easy choice for some of us. There are many variables contributing to our state of mind at any given time.

It’s not only a matter of the glass being half empty or half full. What is the glass filled with? Does it hold crystal-clear water—or toxicity?

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”—Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV)

Our thoughts define us. Some of us are deep thinkers, as the prophet Elijah was. Others prefer uncomplicated thought processes. They want to ride only the surface of the sea of life. That’s okay. Varied ways of reasonable thinking make the world a healthier place.

For more on accepting people of different personalities, please see my book,  Accept No Trash Talk: Overcoming the Odds 

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Are you feeding your body and mind with positivity?

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