Book Review of A Better Way to Think by Norman Wright
Research indicates that people tend to be more creative when they see something as funny. Other studies suggest that laughter helps increase the flexibility and creativity of thinking. Humor even has been used to help strengthen the immune system. Read of A Better Way to Think by Norman Wright in this article.
A Better Way to Think- Power of Positive Thinking,
Thoughts can create stress in our life. And it’s been well documented that stress negatively affects health in many ways. Humor, on the other hand, helps your brain function healthily. In reacting to humor, both sides of the brain are activated simultaneously. When you tell a joke, the left side the part responsible for thinking starts firing. When you “get” a joke and start laughing, your right side becomes active.
A Better Way to Think
All of us talk to ourselves, carrying on inner dialogues much of the day. Some of this self-talk frees us, but much of it keeps us captive to negative patterns that have a corresponding negative impact on our emotions and actions. But we do not have to remain prisoners of fear, anxiety, despair, disillusionment, regret, or stress!
shows readers how to truly bring every thought captive under Christ, thereby freeing themselves from the negative patterns of self-talk that have stymied their personal and spiritual growth for years. Biblical based and full of practical, proven strategies,
This book helps readers harness the positive and creative power of their thought lives to experience lasting freedom from negativity. H. Norman Wright
A Better Way to Think- EMOTIONAL WELLNESS
Thoughts create emotions that can have a lasting physical effect on your body.
For example, when we dwell on old hurts and wounds, we build a mental habit. Every time we think about that pain from the past, stress—and its toxic effects— surfaces with increasing speed. Each time we think that negative thought, we build a stronger pathway to that negative emotion, and we’re more likely to express ourselves negatively.
Our emotional pain can even trigger physical pain or damage.
Researchers have linked toxic thoughts to heart and vascular problems, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, skin conditions, intestinal tract disorders, chronic pain, lung and breathing disorders, and immune impairment.
Consider this, from Dr. Caroline Leaf’s Who Switched Of My Brain?:
Research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% to diet, genetics, and environment. Studies conclusively link more chronic diseases (also known as lifestyle diseases) to an epidemic of toxic emotions in our culture. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections, and allergies, just to name a few.
As a negative thought begins to develop, it activates a section of the brain that releases emotions related to thought. If it’s a negative or toxic thought, one of those insidious “downer” chemicals is released, stimulating the release of another, which stimulates the release of yet another.
Chemicals released by negative emotions can affect your brain’s nerve cells, causing difficulty in retrieving memories.
That, in turn, suppresses the ability to remember and think constructively. Chemicals released in the brain as a result of positive thoughts don’t cause this kind of damage, research shows.
Toxic thoughts impact both emotional and physical balance.
The hormones released can disrupt positive brain functioning, making it difficult for us to concentrate or focus.
The good news is that our thoughts also can create a calmness that helps control our emotions, reining them in before they spin out of control. Every positive or happy thought spurs your brain to action, releasing chemicals that make your body feel good.
Book Review of A Better Way to Think by Norman Wright
This is where the power of self-talk is so evident. Self-talk is simply the thoughts you tell yourself. For example, Melanie may step out of the house, notice it’s raining, and think, “Great, the yard needed some water.” On the other hand, her friend Rhonda, who feeds herself a steady diet of negative self-talk, would probably think, “Oh, rats! Now I’ll get my hair and shoes wet, And it will be rough driving into work. I’ll probably catch a cold. ” You get the picture.
Thoughts follow specific pathways in the brain.
When a thought occurs, the part of the brain called the thalamus goes to work making sense of the information and running it through the part of the brain that stores memories, the amygdala. In her book, Dr. Leaf notes: Remember that the amygdala is much like a library and is responsible for the first emotional response to any thought. It activates and arouses you to do something. If your “ library” is filled with “ books” that tell a story about not being able to cope with the incoming information, the response will be to react to the information based purely on an emotional level.
This is why it is never wise to react to the first emotion you feel.
It is a physiological response designed to alert and focus you, not to direct your actions. When your thoughts are toxic or negative, you’ve handed off control to your emotions, chemical reactions that aren’t always reliable. Part of the amygdala’s purpose is to alert us. But unless it’s steadied with nontoxic, balanced thoughts, the emotions it generates can dominate. And that can cause a negative, even irrational, response.
That’s why memories, even those we don’t consciously recall, can have powerful effects.
Even if they’re not readily accessed by the brain, so-called hidden memories still exist. Their information isn’t lost; it’s stored somewhere in the mind. It’s as if those memories are burned onto the hard drive of the mind, and when we hit the right keys to trigger them, they reappear clearly to us.
It’s as though God has built into the functioning of our mind the ability to repress emotionally painful material. Some of these memories stay there until our subconscious minds believe it’s “safe” to access them.
We need to remember that, like so many other things, accessing memories is a biological process.
Which memories did you activate today? Were they negative or positive? Did they hinder your life or enhance it?
Book Review of A Better Way to Think by Norman Wright
You can learn to control your thoughts that change your brain’s chemistry, affect your emotions, and even influence your character, And that means you can have significant control over your physical well-being too.
What God Says
Your thought life is not your own. It, like the rest of you, belongs to God. If your thought life, your self-talk, is moving in the wrong direction, there’s good news straight from God’s Word. Scripture teaches that our thoughts can change.
In Philippians 4:8, we’re told what the contents of our thoughts should be:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable if anything is excellent or praiseworthy think about such things” (NIV). And then Paul goes on to say the word I’ve been emphasizing, practice: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (4:9).
In Ephesians 4:23, Paul talks about being renewed in the spirit of your minds.
When you pray, ask God to renew your mind. Keep track of toxic messages from the past, challenge that damaging self-talk, and ask God to purge your memory banks of those false core beliefs. Your goal is to realize that God, through the power of his Holy Spirit, gives each person the ability to picture things in the way he pictures them. Every person needs a transformation of the mind to have the mind of Christ.
The power of these passages is made possible through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
This is how the reality of peace in our lives is finally realized. Dr. Lloyd Ogilvy, the former chaplain of the US Senate, said, “Each of us needs to surrender our mind to God.” Doing so is an opportunity for you to change messages that are keeping you stuck.
Can your messages change? Yes. Can your life change?
Yes. You’ll probably question and argue with statements about your old beliefs being false, and the new ones being true. Expect this. You’re involved in changing some deep-seated beliefs about yourself, and probably other people, as well as about God. Remember that you’re not alone in this process— all your beliefs can be run through the grid of Scripture to see what God says about you. Every core belief you have about yourself that is negative is probably contrary to Scripture’s promises about the way God sees you.
Reflect and Remember
- What are the words you remember hearing again and again as a child?
- When you hear a voice in your mind, whose voice is it?
- Which of the statements did you hear repeatedly as a child became core beliefs?
- What are some core beliefs you’d like to change at this time?
- What pictures reflect on your mind more than you would like?
- Describe how you will make use of Philippians 4:8–9 and Ephesians 4:23.
- Which of Laura’s statements did you identify with?
- What are three additional core beliefs you have about yourself?
- Describe a friendly voice in your mind one that offers friendly thoughts rather than toxic thoughts.
During the coming week, record your “should” statements. In each case, record an alternative way of thinking about the same experience without using a “should.”
Taking More Control Fran was an attractive woman in her mid-thirties who longed to be in a serious, committed relationship headed toward marriage. Great guys asked her out. She liked them, and they liked her. But one after another, they fell like tin soldiers. And Fran had no idea that she was the one knocking them down—all because of her self-talk.
The pattern was always the same.
As the relationship progressed, Fran began to retreat, even though the man in her life was involved and interested. Each in the series of suitors was left wondering what he’d done wrong. The truth was, he hadn’t done anything that sabotaged the relationship. What went wrong was all in Fran’s mind.
It’s quite normal that Fran listened to carried-on conversations in her mind between herself and her love interest.
But she’d take the smallest incident and let her mind wander with it. For example, if her boyfriend didn’t spend a long time on the phone with her, she’d tell herself, He’s losing interest!
Soon she’d be imagining all kinds of related problems in the relationship. Sometimes she ended up believing imagined offenses actually occurred. But that’s the power of our self-talk.
While Fran can’t see the destructiveness of her self-talk,
Tom recognizes the harmful potential of his self-talk. In frustration, he calls it “chatter.”
“That’s the best word I can use to describe what goes on in my head,” he says. “It’s my own, I realize, but sometimes it involves others. I actually carry on full-length conversations in my head with others. Sometimes they’re repetitive.
I wish I could say they’re good conversations, but most of the time they’re not.
Sometimes I chatter when I’m trying to go to sleep, and then I’m wide awake for hours. My body and my emotions are activated by that dumb, imagined conversation.
“There are times when I get angry or depressed and wonder why, but then it dawns on me it’s what I was thinking about! Does everyone do this, or am I the only one? I guess it’s something we don’t talk about.”
I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: It’s normal to talk to yourself. And you can learn to control your self-talk. In fact, by now, I hope you’re already making progress. But to move farther along the journey will help to understand it even better.
“Chewing” on Our Thoughts
All-day long we carry on conversations with ourselves. You may even find yourself talking out loud, or mumbling to yourself while you’re having a dialogue with yourself.
We talk to ourselves while taking a shower or shaving or driving or listening to a lecture or a sermon. And sometimes we engage in self-talk without realizing we’re doing it. We catch ourselves, and “vow” not to waste any more time doing it. But we will . . . and it’s not always a waste of time.
Were you aware that talking to yourself is a habit you’ve cultivated?
Think of your mind as a massive iPod, and over the year you’ve downloaded hundreds of statements that you can play at will. Some of them you’ve played so much that you’re not really needed to tap the play button anymore. Now, you hear them automatically.
The more these play, the more we begin to believe them. We think This is reality! This is true!
When we dwell continuously on the same theme or issue, it can be described as ruminating. This word came from a Latin word for “chewing the cud.” If you’ve been around cows, you’ll have a visual picture of what this means. It seems like some cows can go all day long chewing and chewing.
When we ruminate on a thought, we go over it again and again, often too many times to count. Ruminating reinforces that thought, the belief, and the effect. It can get in the way of reality. It also can get in the way of finding a solution to the problem.
Ruminating on a negative thought can cripple our creative thinking and hinder us from making positive steps.
And several studies have identified the link between rumination and depression. In 1989, there was a major earthquake in San Francisco. Those who ruminated about the experience were more likely to experience depression and post-traumatic stress. Another study showed that those who ruminate about their problems are four times more likely to develop major depression than those who don’t.
Even when you’re not aware of the content of your self-talk, and even when some is negative, it’s not a cause for concern.
But help is needed when your negative thoughts become frequent, or when you believe negative thoughts that aren’t really true, or when what you tell yourself goes against Scripture.
In an earlier chapter, we called these “toxic thoughts.” They’re not based in reality. They’re distorted. And by changing them, you can change your life.
The Power of Self-Talk
Is our self-talk all that important? Absolutely. What you say to yourself can control and direct your life, build or destroy relationships, determine whether you’ll fail or succeed. The way you express anger, your ways of showing love, and how you handle conflict all are driven by self-talk.
Your self-talk may be based upon some of your attitudes. A positive attitude toward self tends to generate positive self-talk, while a negative attitude generates negative self-talk.
Self-talk is based on your beliefs. And what you truly believe is manifested in both your inner and conversations.
A growing marriage is a healthy marriage, and communication is the key! Noted Christian counselor Norm Wright draws on his years of counseling couples to provide 101 insightful conversation starters to encourage you and your partner to spend time together and deepen your relationship.
From time management to children and from finances to items you may not have considered, you’ll find questions that provide innovative ideas to spark your creative observations on romance to open up new levels of intimacy topics to strengthen your relationship conversation starters to enhance communication nonthreatening openings to bring up sensitive topics.
If you want more from your marriage, 101 Ways to Build a Stronger,
More Exciting Marriage invites you to learn more about each other through engaging and fun interactions.