Do not let the memories of your past limit the potential of your future. There are no limits to what you can achieve in your journey through life, except in your mind (Roy T Bennett)
Apparently, the average person has over 30 000 thoughts per day – many of which are helpful and steer you in the right direction, but probably a good proportion of which derail a measure of wholeness and wellness. In fact, an uncontrolled thought life creates the conditions for illness – that is, we make ourselves sick! Research shows that fear, for example, triggers more than 1 400 known physical and chemical responses, activates more than 30 different hormones and further suggests that the ensuing toxic waste caused by toxic thoughts possibly results in the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin problems and allergies – not a great picture!
On the other hand, medical research also increasingly points to the fact that thinking (specifically consciously controlling your thought life) is one of the best ways of detoxing your brain. It provides the opportunity to get rid of the negative thoughts and emotions that can consume and control your mind. It follows, therefore, that change in your thinking is essential to detox the brain. “Consciously controlling your thought life” means not letting thoughts run amok through your mind. It means learning to engage interactively with every single thought that you have and analyse it before deciding either to accept or reject it.
Dr Caroline Leaf suggests that we need to “look at our mental processes” – indicating that it is essential to take control of the following:
- How many “could-have”, “would-have”, “should-have” statements have you made today?
- How many “if only” wishes became part of your vocabulary today?
- How many times have you replayed in your head a conversation or situation that pained you, or one that hasn’t even yet occurred?
- How many scenarios have you created of the unpredictable future?
- How much is speculation taking out of your day?
- How passive is your mind?
- How honest are you with yourself?
- Are you at cross-purposes with yourself, going through the motions, but not really committed to the goal, saying one thing, but meaning another?
- How distorted is your thinking? Are you forming a personal identity around, for example, a disease? Do you speak about “my arthritis”, “my multiple sclerosis” or “my heart problem”?
- Do you ever make the comments like “nothing ever goes right for me”, “everything I touch fails” or “I always mess up”?
Leaf suggests that if you answered “yes” to one of these or you were able to count some of the negative statements you made, then your thought life needs detoxing. Roy T Bennett states that our focus on the positive should help us control our thoughts, saying: “Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart”. Vision clarity, in fact, becomes a sieve through which you can sift through your thoughts – saying “no” to negative self-talk and saying “yes” to thoughts that propel action towards achieving your goals.
Detoxing the mind (eliminating negative thoughts) releases the individual to think creatively about new possible solutions to life’s issues, logically about contexts that have been clouded by emotional content and more deliberately about decisions that need to be made. Detoxing the brain frees the mind to operate in the way that it was designed – to apply focused energy to assist you in the quest of reaching your potential and fulfilling your dreams.