There have been many times throughout my life that I have engaged in the power of positive thinking without fully understanding that I was doing it. I was working at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital (CVPH in Plattsburgh, NY) as a Registered Nurse. The unit that I worked on was a medical surgical unit specializing in renal issues. My memory is that our unit was over staffed and that the oncology unit upstairs was understaffed. It was my turn to float. I was apprehensive about working on a unit that I was not familiar with, different diagnoses, different staff, and different patients. During my walk from the fourth floor to the fifth floor, I told myself that it was going to go well. I reframed the situation into an opportunity. That is indeed what it turned out to be. I learned more about the care and treatment of oncology. I worked with and cared for many wonderful individuals.
Two years ago, during a kayaking adventure, is when I put the power of positive thinking together with meditation and realized the power of mind over matter. It was the first kayak of the season. When we arrived at Green River Reservoir the gate was still locked. We decided to carry both kayaks, at the same time, the five-hundred feet, downhill to the water and continue on our way.
My arms felt so tired carrying the kayaks, that I had to rest twice on the way down and by the time that we got to the water, my arms were exhausted. I was thinking that something was going to have to change if I was going to be able to continue and if I was going to be able to enjoy my day. As I began to paddle, I began to think ‘I have power, I feel strong.’ The more that I thought it, the better I felt. I thought those words more often than not during our four hours of paddling. At the end of the day, I carried the kayaks the five-hundred feet uphill to the car. I did not take a rest and my arms felt stronger than they had all day.
There are tremendous amounts of literature and research validating the power of the mind. If you think it, your brain will release chemicals that will lead to you feeling the way that you are thinking. This includes negative thinking as well. If you think a negative thought, your brain will release chemicals that produce a negative feeling. This cycle can repeat itself. It is important that we be conscious of our thoughts and know that we have the power to stop a negative thought before it has time to produce the corresponding chemical, thus leading to the negative feeling. If we monitor our thoughts, we can create a state of being that is positive. This does not mean that we should not feel difficult feelings that are a reasonable response to life events. It is more about not making life more painful than it needs to be. It is also a good way to help us through the tougher times in life.
Research is showing that our brain is not so hardwired that we cannot change it. Rather, we can rewire our brain, by practice and repetition. If we have a fear or a way of reacting to situations that does not serve us, we can decide how we would rather handle it. We can create a new neuro pathway, taking away from preexisting pathways, so that the new pathway becomes our response. This takes time and effort. I believe that you will find that it is well worth it. Pay attention to your thoughts, because they can change your mind.
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