Those who work in the pest exterminating business call termites the “silent destroyers.” These insects inflict an estimated $1.5 million in damage each year in the Southwest of the U.S. They can infect wood, leaf litter, soil, and animal dung. Like ants, there are workers, soldiers, kings, and of course, a queen. There are over 3,106 species of these crafty critters, and they can remain undetected until timbers rot away and collapse occurs. Then it’s too late.
Negative Thinking Patterns Form Like Termite Colonies
In a similar way, negative thoughts can burrow into our thinking and infect our emotions undetected until it’s too late. We begin to feel stressed, worry more, become unproductive, experience poorer health, and lose our overall sense of well-being. These unwelcome guests become part of the fabric of who we are, affecting the way we think and act, as well as how others begin to see us.
You say you're a positive person, someone who always thinks the glass is half full. Think again. Experts suggest that over 80% of the thousands and thousands of our thoughts each day are negative. That is understandable since experience tells us one negative thought leads to another until the cycle is broken.
Types of Negative Thoughts
Dr. Daniel G. Amen M.D., a well-known brain disorder specialist, author of Change Your Brain Change Your Life and creator of ANT Therapy, identified nine types of negative thoughts, or automatic negative thoughts, including all-or-nothing thinking, over generalizing, focusing on the negative, thinking with your feelings, guilty thoughts, labeling, fortune-telling, mind-reading, and blaming.
Dr. Amen notes positive thoughts release chemicals in your brain that help you feel calm and happy. He suggests the reverse is true, that negative thoughts release chemicals that make you feel stressed and unhappy. Imagine what happens when these thoughts burrow into your thinking and create patterns of negative thinking as termites create colonies. The results can include feeling down and stressed, or even a collapse into depression.
Replacing the Negative with the Positive
The next time you experience any of the types of negative thinking mentioned by Dr. Amen, or you discover you have your own versions of the “silent destroyers,” uncover them, identify them, and replace them with positive alternatives and prayer.
Finally, as a Christian who has the mind of Christ, the best way to renew your mind, as the New Testament writer Paul suggests, is to turn to the Word of God and align your thoughts to his with the help of the Holy Spirit, who knows the mind of God and supernaturally gives you access to discern his will and ways to keep all in perspective, God’s perspective.
Listen to God's Words
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:2)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
Also read: Psalm 119:11, Proverbs 23:7, 2 Timothy 1:7
In the Words of Others
“Negativity is cannibalistic. The more you feed it, the bigger and stronger it grows.” Bobby Darnell
“Stand above negativity! Dare to conquer toxic thoughts.” Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
Think About It
Recall a negative thought pattern you have. Describe the self-talk and emotions you have.
What could be a different way of thinking in those instances, a more positive pattern of thoughts and emotions?
Find a passage in the Bible that applies to experiencing negative thoughts and situations. Explore how it can help you.