Monday, February 15, 2016

90 Second Thought Grab

This weekend I was inspired to winnow some of the books I have collected over the years. One book was My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor about a brain scientist's journey to using her whole brain after a stroke.   I had owned it for a couple of years and never finished it, so I sat down to read it before giving it away because that is what you do when you are a compulsive reader cleaning up your bookshelves.

An hour later, I put it back on my bookshelf while pondering this insight from chapter 17.  She wrote, "I define responsibility (response-ability) as the ability to choose how we respond to stimulation coming in through our sensory systems at any moment in time. ... My anger response is a programmed response that can be set off automatically. Once triggered, the chemical released in my brain surges through my body and I have a physiological experience. Within 90 seconds from the initial trigger the chemical component of my anger has completely dissipated from my blood and my automatic response is over. If, however, I remain angry after those 90 seconds have passed, then it is because I have chosen to let that circuit run."  This quote struck me because I realized I have the responsibility to choose what I think about and what I let my mind dwell on. I realized I could take every thought captive whether my thoughts were good or bad. It was my choice if I decided to dwell on it or if I let it go.

My choice, my response-ability.  As things popped up this weekend, I consciously thought about my response, was I choosing to think about good, pure and uplifting things or was I choosing to focus on feeling hurt or slighted? I realized if I find myself in a negative spiral, thinking about past hurts, injustices and frustrations, it is because at some point in time I made a choice to think on these things. In the same way, I could chose to focus on the blessings and good things in my life.  Philippians 4:8 makes it clear what we should be thinking about, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  I tried to put this into practice this weekend.  I made an effort to be mindful of each moment, acknowledge my feelings good or bad and then I purposely decided to choose to dwell on the good, pure and lovely. 

I pray that God allows you to see your response ability and empowers you to let go of those repetitious, negative and useless thoughts that aren't doing your brain or your heart any good. Try taking those negative thoughts captive and replacing them with lovely, commendable and praise worthy thoughts. I was amazed how quickly it made a difference in my outlook.   Let me know if you try this thought process and how it works for you.

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