Challenge Your Beliefs

Vince Gaffney, DCH, CCH

"One of the great discoveries a man (or woman) makes, one of his/her great surprises, is to find he/she can do what he/she was afraid he/she couldn't do. Most of the bars we beat against are in ourselves --- we put them there, and we can take them down." --- Henry Ford

I would like to add to this quote. Some "bars" are put in our minds by others, and these, too, can be taken down. Consider the following statements that may run through one's mind, "I never keep the weight off," "You'll never amount to anything," "I can't hit a drive today, " "I know I'll fail, " "You're stupid, " "I have to have a cigarette with my cup of coffee, '' "I can't stop eating," "You don't like me. " The list goes on and on. Thoughts such as these reflect one's beliefs.

"This kind of thinking, says Daniel Amen, M.D, in his book, Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, makes for a self-fulfilling prophecy..." If you consistently think negative thoughts, you don't expect good things to happen, so you don't try very hard to make them happen. This type of thinking Dr. Amen calls "ANTS"(automatic negative thoughts). ANTs are usually gloomy, cynical, and complaining. The good news is that you can challenge those types of thoughts. When an ANT "pops" into your mind, instead of automatically accepting it as true, challenge it. Ask yourself, "Is it really true that I am stupid?,"or " Have I allowed others to convince me to believe that statement is true?" Whatever your negative thinking (Dale Carnegie called it "stinking thinking"), STOP and challenge it. If you choose not to challenge negative thoughts, over time they become ingrained beliefs, beliefs about who you are and what you are capable of doing.

Once you've challenged those beliefs, reframe them with positive thoughts. Remember, thoughts are real. When you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals and electrical impulses that have a real impact on how you feel and behave. Begin to train yourself to think more positive thoughts that radiate a sense of well-being. By now, I suspect that you've made the connection to the opening image of a favorite childhood book. So, let me leave you with thoughts of the"Little Engine That Could"...."I think I can, I think I can"...."I Knew I Could." What will be your next thoughts?