What Are You Telling Yourself?

What is your relationship with your thoughts – that voice in your head? If you are thinking, “I don’t have a voice in my head,” or “Do I have a voice in my head?” that is the voice I am referring to today. We all have a running commentary in our minds that runs throughout our waking hours. The question is, have you trained that voice to be a supportive ally in your life, or do you allow it to run unchecked and believe everything it tells you?

Dr. Daniel Amen, a respected neuroscientist, psychiatrist, brain imaging expert, and author, is committed to helping people have healthy brains. In numerous interviews, public television specials and articles, he has discussed the dangers of ANTS-Automatic Negative Thoughts – and your power to create APTS-Automatic Positive Thoughts. The following is from an article by Dr. Daniel Amen:

“The thoughts that go through your mind, moment by moment, have a significant impact on how your brain works. Research by Mark George, MD and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health demonstrated that happy, hopeful thoughts had an overall calming effect on the brain, while negative thoughts inflamed brain areas often involved with depression and anxiety. Your thoughts matter.”

He also notes, “You do not have to believe every thought that goes through your head. It’s important to think about your thoughts to see if they help you or they hurt you. Unfortunately, if you never challenge your thoughts you just “believe them” as if they were true. ANTs can take over and infest your brain. Develop an internal anteater to hunt down and devour the negative thoughts that are ruining your life.

Once you learn about your thoughts, you can choose to think good thoughts and feel good or you can choose to think bad thoughts and feel lousy. You can train your thoughts to be positive and hopeful or you can just allow them to be negative and upset you. That’s right, it’s up to you! You can learn how to change your thoughts and optimize your brain. One way to learn how to change your thoughts is to notice them when they are negative and talk back to them. If you can correct negative thoughts, you take away their power over you. When you think a negative thought without challenging it, your mind believes it and your brain reacts to it.”

You can read Dr. Amen’s article in its entirety at http://tinyurl.com/optimizebrain

For over 25 years, I have been teaching and training about choosing a positive mental attitude and using positive language, as well as sharing this strategy with my coaching clients. It’s exciting to see more brain research that supports the impact of both positive and negative thoughts.

The past two weeks, 3/3/10 and 3/10/10, I have focused on this topic during my online talkradio show. I invite you to listen to the recordings for more strategies to challenge those negative thoughts and train your self-talk to be your ally rather than your critic. ( www.blogtalkradio.com/spark )

I challenge you to take action on something you read so you can create more positive thoughts and self-talk to support you in living the life of your dreams. May you choose to create a great day as you continue to make a positive difference in the lives you touch! ~Melanie Hoffner

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