30 Jan 2013

Your thoughts are showing

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The idea that positive thinking affects our health, happiness and productivity is nothing new to me. I’ve heard this hundreds of times before, and I’ve never disputed it.

I’m not sure why, then, reading Tommy Newberry’s The 4:8 Principle, is finally helping me “get” this rather (by now) obvious concept. It is, though. Newberry’s book about “thinking differently” not only points out in clear language how big an influence our thoughts have on our lives, but also outlines concrete strategies to improve one’s mental discipline:

Mental discipline is the ability to keep your thoughts consistently focused.

Newberry makes it clear just how important mental discipline is by pointing out the benefits of changing your thoughts:

With high levels of mental discipline, you’ll reach your goals faster, upgrade your potential for joy, and become a lot more fun to be around.

Who doesn’t want to become a lot more fun to be around? I know I do.

To begin altering your thought patterns and training your mind to focus on positives rather than negatives, Newberry suggests asking yourself 4:8 questions - questions about your life that require positive responses. The examples he offers to begin with ask for five answers each:

  • What are five things I am thankful for right now?
  • What are five of my strengths or positive traits?
  • What are five of my best achievements so far?
  • Who are the five people who love me the most?
  • What five things am I looking forward to in the next seven days?

It probably seems like a lot of effort to produce five answers for each of those questions—at least, it did to me when I first saw them—but there’s a reason Newberry asks for so many: this causes you to dwell on positive thoughts. Searching for these answers is an exercise in actively avoiding negative thoughts and training your mind to focus on positivity.

And if you believe what Newberry says, that “no area of your life is untouched by your thoughts,” it’s not hard to see how important mental discipline is for our overall health and productivity, is it?