Thursday, December 1, 2011

Zapping Persistent Negative Thoughts

In my fantasy world I'm the type that makes a proper pot of tea for her enjoyment, but the reality is that I just zap some water in the microwave until it boils, take it out, pause until it just stops boiling, then pour it over a tea bag in a cup.

I hope it's not just me, but I've noticed that every time I do this, when the zapping is done, the handle to the measuring cup (or any cup I've used) is to the back of the microwave.  Always.  And this makes it a little bit difficult, not to mention annoying, to remove the cup without getting burned.

No matter how long I set the timer for, or even (and this puzzles me) if I put the cup in the opposite direction from the way I usually do, when the microwave shuts off, that handle is to the back. 

I suppose there is simply a mathematical explanation for this outcome: something to do with the number of revolutions per minute and the fact that my shortest microwave setting is in 10 second increments.  Therefore, the outcome is always the same--with the handle to the back.

So, as we've all learned, the surest way to have the microwave stop with the handle to the front is to intervene and interrupt the microwaving process.  By setting the timer for longer than it takes to boil, I can keep my eye on the cup and stop the microwave as soon as the handle is where I want it after the water breaks into a boil. 

With overcoming negative thinking, we also have to keep our "eyes" on our thoughts.  We have to be our own interventionists, over and over and over again.  Those unwanted thoughts are constantly trying to bubble to the surface, making it difficult to "get a handle" on them. 

The very moment we become aware of negative thoughts in our minds, we need to intervene on our own behalf and interrupt our train of thought.  If we have an "arsenal" prepared, steering our minds immediately to a better place becomes much easier to accomplish.  Among my arsenal are the following:

1.  Knowing by memory numerous hymns, praise and worship songs, Christmas carols, children's songs, patriotic songs, Broadway tunes, or any other wholesome song to begin singing silently to myself as soon as I notice unwanted thoughts.  I can "choose" from this repertoire, but it's amazing how once I turn to my songs, different ones just drift into my mind for me to sing to myself.  (I like to think that's the Holy Spirit helping me out.)

2.  Reciting silently to myself memorized Bible verses that comfort and empower me, and there are legions of them!  I only wish I had that many memorized.  I keep adding them, though.  (And I keep saying "silently" because in my world there are very few times I can be reciting or singing away out loud.  The people I'm around might start commitment proceedings!)  :o)

3.  Saying my thank-yous to God, all kinds of thank-yous for the greatest to the seemingly smallest of blessings.  Some keep a gratitude journal, but for on-the-spot use wherever I am, I just start seeing what I can come up with to be thankful about.  I like to get creative with this one and see if I can come up with some new ones each time.

These are the main tools I use to zap my negative thinking.  Again, it takes practice, checking up on what we're thinking as we go through our day, and then intervening and interrupting as many times as necessary.  In fact, I suppose I should change my sidebar heading to "Tools for Fighting Negative Thinking" because technically we can't stop negative thoughts from coming into our minds.  But eventually we can become so proficient in rapidly displacing them that they are as close to being overcome as possible.

Yes, just as sometimes one has to outsmart and overrule the microwave oven to grab the handle of a cup, we have to outsmart and overrule our thought processes to get a handle on a better life.  What a tragedy to let negative thinking ruin our lives.  Let's not allow it any longer!

(You can read more about overcoming negative thinking on my sidebar.)

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
Psalm 13:2

I will sing the Lord's praise,
for he has been good to me.
Psalm 13:6

Let's not ever give up striving to have the kinds of thoughts God wants us to have,

I'm joining lovely Charlotte for Spiritual Sunday.  I hope you'll go check out the many fine posts!