“A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.” – James Allen, “As a Man Thinketh”
There is a new branch of psychology called positive psychology that focuses on finding new ways to develop the mind to support who we want to be, rather than being an effect of the world. The study of positive emotions includes awareness of an individual’s internal state, and how that translates into reactions and behaviours.
In December, I dedicated a column to the lesson of cause and effect and how with every action there is a reaction. Through the understanding of the law of cause and effect and the studies of positive psychology, I began to reflect on the true value and importance of not only dealing with our actions, but examining what motivates our actions. This leads to the question, “What’s on your mind?”
Before we actually “do” something there is a thought. Our mind may respond to our body and think, “I sure am hungry,” which in turn makes us find something to eat. Our mind may respond to something we see that is enticing and think, “Wow, I sure would like that for myself,” which would cause us to began to think of ways to satisfy that particular desire.
As our thinking motivates our actions, our emotions motivate our thinking. Therefore, we must be verycareful of what we put into our beings that may negatively impact our emotions, which will in turn affect our thinking and ultimately inspire our actions.
Have you had people in your life that have nothing but negative things to say every time you speak to them, and it seems that after only a five minute conversation with them your whole mood has changed?
Have you ever listened to a song with vivid, questionable lyrics and by the end of the song your whole energy has shifted?
Have you watched the news or a graphic movie and the images seem to take root in you and cause you to feel differently than you felt prior to watching?
Did someone ever tell you that you couldn’t do something or would never be anything and each time you think of climbing the ladder of life those words haunt you?
These examples are where our emotions, thinking, and eventual behaviors are ruled and controlled by people and things other than our own internal gauge of what is good for us. We must protect our minds as they are fertile ground in which seeds are easily planted.
It is not to be said that we will always be able to avoid negative conversations or will never be able to watch the news in order to stay aware of what is happening in the world. Thus we should be sure that we are feeding and nurturing our minds with things that are positive and healthy to our emotions to counteract those negative interactions.
Everything that goes into your ears, eyes, mouth or any opening to your internal being will have an impact on your mind. Keeping that “in mind,” before making your next small or big step in life ask yourself what is motivating that step. Is it fear, anger, disappointment or desperation? Love or compassion? What emotion is steering your thinking?Why do you do what you do?What’s on your mind?
Ayeshah Bulls is a freelance writer and the author of Stripped, published in 2008. She is a Northsider, active volunteer and currently attends Carlow University for Psychology. She hopes her column promotes hope and the will to progress on the Northside.