More than ever before there are many studies being done now on the subject of the brain and our overall health in the body. These studies are proving that many illnesses are a direct result of our thought life.
For example, the impact of stress and anxiety is proving to affect overall health in many destructive ways. But where does stress and anxiety, or even depression begin? Research is proving that it begins in the mind.
Think about it, if you are obsessing or worrying about a situation or a fear over and over, how does your physical body respond? Some might experience fatigue, depression or high blood pressure to name a few. I’m not saying that all illnesses are a direct result of our thoughts. But there is a direct correlation between our thought life, scientific studies and God’s word when it comes to the brain.
Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” (NKJV)
We are fearfully and wonderfully made creatures. If you’ve ever done any research on the physical body, you would find that to be true. I can tell you from my own personal experience I’ve found that my thought life directly influences my attitude and quality of my life on a day-to-day basis.
Many years ago, when my husband and I were having marital problems, we decided to see a counselor. We ended up seeing him separately for a year because we had so much baggage individually to deal with first before we could work on our marriage. One of my biggest problems was my negative thinking patterns. I was diagnosed with what my counselor called, “stinkin thinkin.” He told me, if I started applying biblical truths about God’s thoughts towards me and my identity as His child, I could begin to change my thinking in a matter of three weeks. He explained to me that the Word of God was like the soap detergent to wash my negative thinking into a more positive and truthful thought pattern.
I’m not saying it was easy, because I had to do the work in order to let God do His work in me! My assignment each week was to memorize scripture. This was useful to replace a lie I believed about my life or myself with the truth. Let me share with you how I did this.
For example, let’s say one week I was stressing about having enough provision for the next week. I would take a scripture like Colossians 3:2, “Set your mind on things above and not on the things of this world.” I would write it out on 4 x 6 cards and place them where I would see them; places like my refrigerator, on the mirror in the bathroom, or in my car. Whenever I saw them I would read them. This was the way I could memorize the scriptures. I also learned this was a very powerful tool to my body physically as well; especially when I began to experience anxiety. I had to recite these truths over and over until my physical body responded to my thinking. I would think about truths like, “You keep me in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because I trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
One of my favorites that I use whenever I’m sitting in the dentist chair is, “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8) This verse got me through two root canals! I just said it over and over slowly, and thought about it instead of what the dentist was doing at the time.
In her book, Who Switched off My Brain, Dr. Carolyn Leaf goes into great detail of how our toxic thoughts or our positive thoughts in our brain affect every part of our being. She explains when it comes to the function of our brain, each thought is compared to leaves and branches on a tree.
In other words, if we have positive, faith-based thoughts our trees grow with new leaves and flourish. On the other hand, she describes negative, toxic fear-based thoughts as leaves that wither and eventually die in the brain. This parallels with the words of Jesus when he says, “So every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.” (Matthew 7:17-18) Think about those words that Jesus spoke and let it resonate deep within your soul. Consider your thought patterns.
There are many scriptures that talk about the power of our thoughts. Here are just a few of them for you to decide for yourself. Ask yourself if it’s possible that your thoughts might have anything to do with your overall physical or mental health, attitude or behavior, that you’re experiencing today:
- To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. (Romans 8:6)
- And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:18)
- There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
- Be renewed in the spirit of your minds. (Ephesians 4:23)
- For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
- A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22)
- Philippians 4:8 instructs us to keep our minds on good, pure, right and excellent thoughts.
I know the world we live in today is filled with fear, doubt, and anxieties, and it is hard to keep your mind on positive things. When it comes to our overall health, beginning in our brain to every cell in our divine design, I choose to believe it begins with a grateful heart, thinking on the promises from God. The older I get, the more I am learning to take those thoughts captive by asking myself, “What will be the fruit of those thoughts if I speak them out loud?”
What a difference it makes each day if I start my day with thankfulness and praise for the small and the great things. Won’t you join me this year in making a thankful list each morning, and think on these things throughout your day?