Imagine eating a lemon wedge or a big, juicy pickle. Picture yourself savoring a handful of salt and vinegar chips. Are you salivating?
Thoughts are powerful things and what we think about often affects our physical body, too. This point was driven home to me in the year following a miscarriage in 2008 when I was feeling a vague sense of dread all day every day plus the occasional (and nearly debilitating) feeling of impending doom and even full-blown anxiety.
All I could think about was anxiety. I wondered where it came from, what it meant and how to combat it. I read web sites and blogs about overcoming anxiety; I studied scriptures about fear, anxiety and suffering; I asked people to tell me their stories of dealing with anxiety and I constantly assessed myself on my current anxiety level.
I eventually realized that, in my fight to move past the fear and anxiety, I was inadvertently focused ON the anxiety to the point that my mind was always filled with disturbing news stories, troubling “what if” questions, worst-case scenarios and worry of the future.
I can remember calling my dad (my mentor, encourager and an ordained minister) when I was having a particularly hard time keeping my mind in check and asking, “What am I supposed to be thinking about all day long?!?” He seemed to think that was an odd question but replied, “Philippians 4:8 ‘whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.’”
That had NOT been what I had been thinking about! Slowly, I started training my brain to tune out the anxiety-producing thought patterns and replace them with thoughts of true, noble, just, pure, lovely, good and virtuous things. Learning to “meditate on these things” has been one of the most powerful habits I have embraced in my adulthood and makes a tremendous difference in my quest to live a more peaceful life. Even five years later, I am careful to avoid watching the evening news and often end my day on Pinterest, filling my mind with images of beach sunsets, beautiful living rooms and floral arrangements.
Thoughts are powerful things. What are you thinking about?
Tabitha Dumas is a wife of 10 years, mother of two sons, writer, chronic blogger and image consultant. She owns “Let Me Rephrase That” writing services, manages a collaborative blog called FanTABulous Women and offers free image assessments in her home studio. Based in the Chandler/Gilbert area, Tabitha is passionate about helping people live lives of greater beauty, confidence and influence and is always looking for more people to add to her network.