My New Emotional Diet
As I mentioned in a previous post, in response to my experience with a horrible rash that just would not go away I started to go into a new season in my journey of healing and discovery. One of my doctors, Dr. Tony, said something that really hit me. He said, “A bad thought can kill you faster than a bad bacteria.” Thinking about this, I began to focus less on the physical and more on my thoughts and my emotions.
Yes, long before I had been on my healing journey I had heard things about the dangers of negative thinking, but for some reason it just hadn’t clicked. Now it did. I realized that for over a year I had been putting all of my focus on my physical being. Eat the right diet, take the right supplements, do the right therapies. But the reality is, I had been doing all the right things for my physical being and, although things had improved, my tumor was still there.
I gradually started to discover truths about my emotional state, thinking patterns, and the “thought habits” that I have. Just like we all have physical habits (such as brushing our teeth before we go to bed), we all have thought habits as well. Unfortunately, most of the time we operate in “default” mode, completely unaware of how we think, especially the things that trigger certain thought patterns. Which is a problem, because our thoughts impact our health.
One of the things I’ve learned is that our cells HEAR our thoughts. This idea was quite new to me. We can provide life with our thoughts and words… and we can also do the opposite. When I go into negative thinking patterns—worry mode, anxiety—my cells hear this. Which can’t possibly be good.
When my doctor told me that a bad thought can kill you faster than a bad bacteria, and confronted me with questions about my emotions, I could not continue to hide from this. “Where are your emotions, Karen?” he asked. “Yes, where are my emotions?” I asked myself. And suddenly I found myself forced to deal with my inner being.
I realized that just as we all have a nutritional diet, we have an emotional diet as well, and the “food” of that emotional diet is our thoughts.
I resolved to have a good emotional diet, and started to become very intentional about being aware of my thoughts. Just as I avoid toxic foods, I now strive to avoid toxic thoughts, too. Doing this requires a level of self-awareness that I never had before. Each morning when I wake up I ask myself some very important questions: What am I feeling? What am I thinking? What do I need to function and make the right choices for this day?
Before I would just focus on the future. I would get bogged down in the “what ifs,” and go into worry and stress mode. This, of course, caused me to be stressed and unhappy. I hated it, and everyone around me probably hated it, too. Now it’s different. I’m learning that I don’t have to live in the future. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t plan, it’s just that we don’t need to experience all that worry and anxiety about things that we cannot control or predict.
You should be aware of your feelings, but you don’t have to operate from them. Acknowledge them, decide if they’re true or false, and then let them go if they are not serving you well. Yes, sometimes I might have negative thoughts, negative emotions, feel things that I shouldn’t. That’s okay. I forgive myself, let it go, and move on.
I believe that creating a healthy emotional diet is a skill. I wish they taught this in school! Since I’ve been following my new emotional diet I feel healthier, more balanced, more in tune with myself and others. My relationships have improved—I’m now engaging with others in a more mature, compassionate, loving way—and I’m happier all around.
No, it’s not perfect. Every day I’m learning, and this is where I am now. We all have the power to choose our thoughts and emotions, and I’m learning to choose those that are positive and let the negative go.
I choose to be happy today and embrace all the love and every blessing God has given me.