Think Before You Think

“For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23: 7

When you think happy thoughts, your brain produces the complex neurotransmitter serotonin (which contributes to an overall sense of well being and happiness), as well as dopamine (which is largely associated with pleasure and reward).

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and a hormone. It communicates chemical messages between nerve cells in your brain or between your brain and the rest of your body. It is also a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward system and pleasure center.

Every thought releases some type of chemical. When positive thoughts are generated, when you’re feeling happy, or optimistic, cortisol decreases and the brain produces serotonin, creating a feeling of well-being.

Serotonin is a chemical that carries messages between nerve cells in the brain and throughout your body. Serotonin plays a key role in such body functions as mood, sleep, digestion, nausea, wound healing, bone health, blood clotting and sexual desire.

Serotonin in your brain regulates your mood. It’s often called your body’s natural “feel good” chemical. When serotonin is at normal levels, you feel more focused, emotionally stable, happier and calmer. Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.

With these scientific facts as a background, give thought to the value in training your brain to think wisely. These steps are suggested:

Express gratitude when possible. Make a gratitude log. This will afford you the opportunity to concentrate on things and people deserving gratitude. Find reasons for humor and dwell on them. Make friends with positive people and enjoy being around them. Some of the best talks we make are those we have with ourselves. Engage in positive self-talk. Identify and write down your areas of negativity.

Commit to memory (yes you can) Scripture passages that encourage a positive outlook. Take your time in doing so even if you have difficulty memorizing. Remember, “Thy Word have I hidden in my heart.”

As a starter memorize: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4: 8)

Make a journal listing one of each of these on a page. Thereafter list a note of a positive thought you expressed each day on a topic.

If all of this seems complex and time consuming, it is. However, remember you have spent years cultivating the habit of thinking as you do. Any habit, good or bad, is hard to break. Develop the habit of a better way of thinking.

Think before you think. Think the biblical way.