4 Steps to Change Your Thoughts And Your Life!

Manage your thought life for life change
Deposit photos.

By John Thurman, M.Div., M.A., LPCC 

Did you know that you have the power to change your thoughts, alter the path you are currently on and delete or reduce your limitations? By understanding the power of resistance and resilience and by engaging these 4 tips, you can dynamically impact your future and boost your motivation.

Do you hit replay every time you have a regret, make a mistake, or take a wrong step? If you do here are some proven tips you can use to turn those thoughts around and get your mind going in the right direction.  Here is an important tip, nobody else is going to do it for us. You can choose to change your thoughts and change your life!

Let’s pretend for a second that you are going to have to grade your current ability to manage your thoughts and move yourself if a positive, edifying direction. How would you grade yourself?

If your grade isn’t where you want it to be read on.

There are four simple, practical, things you can do to boost your self-esteem. If you want to see a big shift in your life you can learn to change your thoughts and change your life give these tools a try. Before I get into them, I want to mention two principles that should be operating in the background as you implement these new ways of thinking. 

The first is resistance. This sounds odd, but developing resistance means that as you try new things, it will be easy to quit. Resistance helps you predict the fact that sometimes you might not want to do the work that you need to do, but that you will do it anyway. You will learn to resist the temptation to go back to your old ways of thinking and behaving. You will begin to see the positive impact of learning how to change your thoughts and change your life in powerful and positive ways.

Resistance refers to the ability of an individual, a group, an organization, or even an entire population to literally resist manifestations of clinical distress, impairment, or dysfunction associated with critical incidents, terrorism, and even mass disasters. Resistance may be thought of as a form of psychological/behavioral immunity to distress and dysfunction.  [i]

The second is resilience. Resilience is a natural occurring tool which most people have in their mental toolbox. Resilience, according to Dr. George Bonanno, is a naturally-occurring tool which most people have always had in their psychological locker, and which is enhanced or weakened by experience and circumstances. In a nutshell, resilience is the power to overcome adversity, trauma, low self-esteem and to be strengthened.

Resilience refers to the ability of an individual, a group, an organization, or even an entire population to rapidly and effectively rebound from psychological and/or behavioral perturbations associated with critical incidents, terrorism, and even mass disasters[ii]

Here are the four tips that will boost your self-esteem as you learn to change your thoughts and change your life!

Tip # 1 – Supervise your self-talk.  Right now, whether you realize it or not, you are having a running conversation with yourself. Here is the question: Is it a productive conversation or energy stealing one? If the discussion is positive and hope-filled, you are creating and sustaining a favorable view of yourself. If you are negative, you undermine your self-worth. You diminish the fact that God says you are fearfully and wonderfully made. 

       In their book The Answer, businessmen-authors John Assaraf and Murray Smith talk about the negative messages children receive growing up. They write,

By the time you’re 17 years old, you’ve heard “No, you can’t” an average of 150,000 times. You’ve heard “Yes, you can” 5,000 times. That’s 30 no’s for every yes, creating a powerful belief of “I can’t so why even try.”[iii]

Wow! That is a lot to overcome. If we want to change our lives, we need to change the way we think about ourselves. Ethel Waters,famous jazz and gospel singer, whose birth was the result of her mother’s rape, spoke for us all: “I know I’m somebody ’cause God don’t make no junk.”

You need to learn to become your own encourager, your own cheerleader. Every time you do a good job, don’t just let it pass; give yourself a compliment. Every time you choose discipline overindulgence, recognize how much you are helping yourself. When you do make a mistake, don’t bring up everything that is wrong with yourself; tell yourself that you are paying the price for growth and that you will learn to do better next time. Every positive thing you can say to yourself will help.

Tip # 2 – Stop comparing yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others is a needless time and energy sucking experience that only makes you feel bad. Your mission is to become better today than you were yesterday. You do that by focusing on what you can do today to improve and grow. Do that enough, and if you look back and compare the you of weeks, months and years ago to the you of today, you should be greatly encouraged by your progress.

Tip#3 – Stretch your limiting beliefs. Some of you might be saying something like, “When it comes to believing in myself, I am an agnostic.” 

It is sad that too many people think this way about themselves. They don’t believe they can accomplish great things. But the most significant limitations people experience are the ones that they impose on themselves. Businessman Charles Schwab said, “When a person has put limits on what they will do, they have put a limit on what they can do.”

Tip # 4 – Build up others. People with low self-esteem often see themselves as inadequate or feel like victims (which usually starts because they actually have been victimized in their past), and they over focus on themselves. They can become self-protective and selfish because they feel they have to survive.

If this sounds a little close to home, one of the best ways you can combat those feelings is by serving others and working on adding value to their lives. Making a difference – even a small one – in the lives of others lifts one’s self-esteem. It is hard to feel bad about yourself when you’re doing something for someone else. Also, adding value to others makes them value you more. It creates a cycle of positive feeling from one person to another.

Hoping that you will choose to have a Great Day! Looking forward to hearing from you and how you are learning to change your thoughts and change your life!

I would love to hear your comments!


[i]Everly, George S, Kamisnky, Michael, McCabe, Lee, and Langlieb, Alan (2007, December 7) An evidence-Informed Model of Human Resistance, and Recovery: The John’s Hopkins’ Outcome-Driven Paradigm for Disaster Mental Health. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention. Retrieved 8 April 2019, from http://triggered.edina.clockss.org/ServeContent?rft_id=info:doi/10.1093/brief-treatment/mhl015

[ii]Ibid.

[iii]Assaraf, John and Smith Murray (2008). The Answer (Kindle version) p 50. Retrieved from Amazon.com

Peserverance and Tenacity: 2 Keys to Lasting Relationships

Perseverance and tenacity are two of the most important, least discussed, aspects of building and maintaining a long-term marriage. I should know, my wife, Angie and I recently celebrated our 45th anniversary. This year we took an anniversary trip to the Grand Canyon by train. We left Albuquerque on Amtrak’s Southwest Chief and got off the train at Williams Junction. The next day we took the Grand Canyon Railroad to the Canyon. We had a wonderful, memorable time celebrating this milestone, with great conversations, fun memories and moments of relaxation.

Over the years, young people have asked Angie and me about the secret of staying married for this long. She has been known to say something like, “John can quit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I can quit on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Depending on which church service we attend, we confess our sins, we let the Lord know that we messed up, and so far he has given us the grace to move forward.

In all seriousness, if you stay married long enough you will go through various seasons. There will be warm Summers of recreation, joy, fun, and great memory building. There will be Fall seasons in your relationship when you will see things are moving toward a somber transition, some things like dreams, feelings of love may appear to be dying or at least losing their zest. Then there is Winter, a time when things could be very quiet, cold and apparently dead. Unfortunately, so many mistakes this season in a relationship as final. Then comes the Spring, a time of new, fresh, growth, renewed hope and change.

One of the most important things that Angie and I have learned are that a couple cannot avoid these seasons. Way too many couples quit in the Fall and Winter seasons of their marriage. They lose hope, they quit.
The resilient couple, those who are tenacious and persevere, learn that these seasons are just seasons, nothing more. And with that resilient mindset they live and learn through the falls and winters to experience personal and couple growth.

Forty-five years ago we stood before the Lord, a preacher, as well as family and friends to repeat our vows. 45 years ago the vows were beautiful, vintage, romantic, and traditional words that gradually changed our lives.
Tenacious, preserving couples believe in the vows they said, and after forty-five years of multiple seasons, Angie and I can both say that we have and will continue to live out vows as long as we draw breath.

As I begin to wrap up this article, I would like you to take just a moment to review the meaning of perseverance and tenacity.

Perseverance comes from the eating word perseverance which means steadfast. In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, it means – continued efforts to do or achieve something despite difficulties, challenges, and opposition.

Tenacity comes from the Latin word, tenacity and means not easily stopped or pulled apart. The Merriam-Webster dictionary means mental or moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship. It also implies firmness of mind and will in the face of danger.

I am not sure where you are in your personal relationships or marriage, but I want to encourage you to hang in there.  Billy Ocean, and I am dating myself, performed a song, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Unfortunately, our culture is becoming a relationship wasteland. If people do not get what they want in a relationship, or if they are going through a hard time, they quit and go looking elsewhere.
I want to challenge you to do a gut check on yourself and about your relationship. Are you a person/couple who demonstrate tenacity and perseverance or are you a quitter.

Make the choice today to go for the long haul.

How? If you have made a mess of your marriage, confess your mess to God and your spouse, clean your mess up, and move forward.

Here are two articles that you might also enjoy: the first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal entitled Starts and Stops; Ways to Keep Your Relationship Moving Forward. www.abqjournal.com/510859/headline-135-2.html

The Second, How to have a Happy Wife   www.johnthurman.net/johns-blog/how-to-have-a-happy-wife
Would love to hear your thoughts, so let me hear your comments.

Recapture Your Vision: Push Back Depression & Negative Thinking

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(c) 2014 John Thurman – Sagebrush Hood Ornament
Recapture Your Vision by Pushing Back Depression and Negative Thinking

Have any idea what this photo is? It is actually a hood ornament with clouds and sky in the background. Your perspective can mess with your head from time to time. 

I love being an entrepreneur, it can be a bit chaotic at times, but one of the things that keep me going is vision. Whether you have a job, are self-employed, in school or involved in a vocational quest you need a vision. An idea of what you want to end up with when you have done the work.

I was reviewing some notes from reading I have done over the years and came across a great definition of vision. Hopefully, it will help you. You see, where there is no vision, no dream, no hope, there is little life. When you are depressed, the vision can become muddled.

Here is a definition: Vision is a precise, clearly defined goal with a detailed plan and timetable for achieving that result.

Just to be clear, you can have a vision for your business, your body, your relationships, your health, pretty much anything. One of the problems is that most people have wishes, but no vision-based plans.

When you lose that vision, the joy of living becomes replaced with the mere act of surviving or just getting by. You move from joy to subsistence to depression and ultimately to despair. Personally, I do not know anyone who aspires to despair.

The good news, gaining a clear picture, a vision of what you want and what you are willing to do to get it can be a tremendous energizer. Particularly if it honors the Lord and serves man.

So, if you are having “Vision Issues,” here are some things you can do to push back the negative thinking and depressive feelings,

One of the things that happens when we experience set back is a tendency to suffer from the  “paralysis of analysis,” which can be a vision stealer. 

Step Back from the Problem

When Thomas Edison felt stumped by a problem, he removed himself from the work area, lay down, and took a little nap. Years before the research on power napping was available, he understood the importance to stepping back from a problem to get a better perspective. Taking a break from the problem can lead to a fresh perspective.

There are ways to put this principle into practice.

1. Stop. Quit putting needless energy into solving a problem that isn’t getting solved. Dr. John Gottman, relationship expert, says that we need to focus on what is fixable, not on past failures.

2. Do something completely different. Choose to swim, go for a walk, take a break, call a friend, pray, read the Bible. It should be a repetitive activity that gets your undivided attention and absorbs, redirects, and gives you energy. Ten to twenty minutes is usually enough time to reset.

3. Observe what happens about the issue when you return your thoughts to it.

Here is a question for you. Are you caught up in the “paralysis of analysis” or are you Stepping Back from the Problem to clear your head? I would love to hear from you. #getagripondepression #AskJohnthurman

John

6 Reasons to Get a Grip on Depression


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(c) 2013 John Thurman from Dia de Los Muertos Y Marigold Parade, Albuquerque
So, what will reading Get a Grip on Depression do for the reader?

by John Thurman

Depression negatively impacts your personal life, relationships, and business. Recent studies indicate that 16% of Americans will have at least one episode of Major Depression in their lifetime.

The sad news is that few will seek help for it.

The purpose of Get a Grip on Depression is to help you better understand depression and to learn proven, effective ways to manage depression using a combination of the latest research and the ancient, but still relevant, principles of Scripture. Practically speaking, this workbook is designed to help you:

•   Boost your mood naturally

•    Understand the cause of depression

•    Lower the risk and impact of depression

•   Review meaningful stories and principles from Scripture

•   Overcome mild depression

•  Increase a sense of purpose, well-being, and mission

•   Supplement your depression treatment

•  Prevent relapse

•  Relieve the residual symptoms of major depression

•  Incorporate biblically-based, spiritual practices to alleviate and reduce the impact of                  depression

You’ve heard the old saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome.” Maybe it’s time to stop doing the same old thing.

This resource will offer a fresh perspective to depression. Some readers may believe this approach is too indirect and not “clinical” enough. My encouragement to you is to remember that depression constricts your opinion of your capabilities and keeps you in a comfort zone of weak and slow. Get a Grip on Depression is about trying something a little different. If you are currently being treated with medication or counseling, then please continue. This resource will supplement the hard work you are already doing.

One of the principles for getting a grip on depression is personal responsibility and agency, which simply means you are an active player in your own recovery. It is important for us to focus on responsibility and to be forward-looking. Seeing ourselves as perpetual victims of childhood or adult trauma tends to make us a prisoner of the past and gnaws at our sense of responsibility. All successful counseling has two things in common: It is forward-looking, and it requires assuming personal responsibility.

Excerpt from Get a Grip On Depression p 17

Avoid 6 Stinking Thinking Traps

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(c) 2014 John Thurman
6 Thinking Styles to Avoid

by John Thurman

Have you ever noticed how quickly your mind can get distracted? Things seem to be just fine and then out of nowhere you begin to have these intrusive, negative thoughts? Thankfully, it is a problem nearly every human being experiences from time to time.

Today, I am going to give you a quick overview of the Top Six “Stinking Thinking” patterns that I address in my book, Get a Grip on Depression. I will also give you some key questions to ask as well as practical things to do to lower the impact of these negative thinking patterns.

Here they are:

        Jumping to conclusions: Being confident about the situation despite having little or no evidence. Action Plan:Slow down: Do I have any evidence to show I have been wronged or am I jumping the gun?

        Mind Reading: Assuming you know what the other person is thinking, or expecting him or her to fully understand what you are thinking. Action Plan: Speak Up: Did I express myself fully, so the other person didn’t need to try to read my mind? Or did I ask for information from the other person rather than attempting to read his or her mind?

        Me, Me, Me: Believing you are the sole cause of every problem. Action Plan:Look outward: How did others or circumstances contribute to my current situation?

        Them, Them, Them: Believing other people or circumstances are the cause of every problem you encounter. Action Plan: Look inward: How did I control or fuel my situation?

        Always, Always, Always: The belief that adverse events are unchangeable and that you have little or no control over them. Action Plan: Grab control: What can I change? What can I influence?

        Everything, Everything, Everything: Thinking you can judge a person or your own worth, motivation, or ability on the basis of a single situation. Action Plan: Look at behavior: What specific behavior explains my situation?

 2 Corinthians 10:5 …we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. (NLT)

For a more in-depth look at these patterns as well as some scriptural stories that illustrate them check out pages 77-93 in Get a Grip on Depression. Also available at Amazon and Kindle.