While studying Social Work, we learned quite a bit about the term, “Reframing.” Cognitive reframing is a psychological technique that consists of identifying and then disputing irrational, maladaptive (dysfunctional) thoughts. Reframing is a way of viewing and experiencing events, ideas, concepts and emotions to find more positive alternatives. In cognitive therapy it’s also referred to as cognitive restructuring.
Aaron T. Beck developed cognitive therapy in the 1960s. Beck worked with patients that had been diagnosed with depression, and found that negative thoughts would come into minds of these patients. Beck helped his patients recognize the impact of their negative thoughts, and aided them in shifting their mindset to think more positively—eventually lessening or even getting rid of the patient’s depression. This process was termed cognitive restructuring—the main goal of which was to rethink negative thoughts and turn them into positive thoughts
I LOVE listening to Dr. Caroline Leaf. She has written books about how our thoughts affect (Who Switched off My Brain?: Controlling Toxic Thoughts and Emotions). She has stated, “God is the Creator of the Universe and is the Author of Science…The study of Science is therefore the study of God’s handiwork and is a way of admiring His Creation.”
While holding an actual photo of the brain, Dr. Leaf, pointed out a very toxic memory. It was a dark black one that looked like a tree with many, many branches. She explained that toxic memories have all the wrong chemicals and they cause a toxic reaction in the body.
The first and most advantageous point of control is when the thought is initially introduced to us. It’s at that point that we can make a decision to accept or reject the information. It was also interesting to me to hear Dr. Leaf explain how this process of free will was built right in to us through genetic code by the Creator Himself.
“There is a point in your brain called the “free will” and it is a genetic structure, there is genetic code. You can use that free will to accept or reject that incoming information. So if you are controlling your thought life, you don’t have to just receive all of this input that is coming in from the outside world, from the media, from external and also from your internal world; we’ve got a lot of existing toxic memories in our head, everything from birth to death is stored in your brain. So you’re going to have information coming from the outside, information from the inside and it all meets at this point of the free will in the brain. You can make a decision at that point to accept or reject that information. If you decide this is not good for me and you actually analyze that thought and say, this is not good for me, this is not healthy. You can reject that thought and it goes out and becomes heat energy. It actually becomes hot air and it doesn’t become part of you. But if you choose to think about it, if you choose to meditate on that, if you choose to ask, answer, discuss, analyze to give meaning, you push it into these memory trees of the mind, into the memory circuits and once they’re there, they are there for good. Once they’ve moved into what the neuro-scientists call the magic trees of the mind, once they’re there, they’re there for good, you can’t get rid of them. Then you’ve got to rebuild, that’s the renewing of the mind. Much more difficult to rebuild than it is to reject.”
~ Dr. Caroline Leaf
The second point of control is after the thought has already been accepted. Dr. Leaf says that if thoughts slip through into our brain and become toxic, we need to start the rebuilding process. What it boils down to is a renewing of the mind process just like the Word of God says. We must think on things that are good, pure, of good report. God didn’t say that for no reason! As I observed in a recent post, How Healthy Meditation Can Make Us Successful, God’s Word teaches us that proper meditation will cause us to prosper and succeed, and it will add joy to our life.
Dr. Leaf says that the medical community and the scientific community (neuro-scientists and neuro-researchers) agree. They have proven that if we think healthy, positive, good thoughts, we release chemicals in our brain that actually go down to those negative toxic memories and start literally helping to dissolve them and actually help change the structure of that memory so that we can grow a new healthy memory over the old toxic one.
Toxic waste generated by toxic thoughts causes the following illnesses: diabetes, cancer, asthma, skin problems and allergies to name just a few. (Stress, tension….trickle effect from mind down to body).
BUT As Christians we have authority over our thoughts and we have the mind of Christ:
- We are told to “Hold Our Thoughts Captive”:
Cor. 10:3-8 (NKJV) “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s.[a] 8 For even if I should boast somewhat more about our authority, which the Lord gave us[b] for edification and not for your destruction, I shall not be ashamed
- We are taught to “Renew Our Minds”:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,[a]acceptable to God, which is your [b]spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this [c]world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may[d]prove what the will of God is, that which is good and[e]acceptable and perfect.
- We should continually examine our thoughts:
Does it line up with God’s thoughts (the Bible)? If not, then cast down your own thoughts and think God’s thoughts instead.
As Christians we also have a new spiritual wisdom:
1 Cor. 2:2 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony[a] of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human[b] wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
6 However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
9 But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”[c]
10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.11 For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.
13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy[d] Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?”[e] But we have the mind of Christ.
When we first moved to Western Washington from Southeast Idaho, I complained about the price of our apartment. Most of my friends back in Idaho were paying the same amount for their mortgages on newly built homes as we were paying for rent on a 2 bedroom apartment. I “could not” be content…until I CHOSE to be. One night when I couldn’t sleep I turned on the T.V. There was a television program I was watching (I think it was “Life Today” with James & Betty Robison) that showed young families living in total filth, they had no clean water, no plumbing in their home, they were eating small amounts of food if any, etc. I looked around at our comfy, clean apartment that had running water, indoor plumbing and even a gas fireplace and for the first time, I felt rich. God helped me change my perspective. Over the years, I have had to remind myself to simply put on my “rose colored glasses” and see my circumstances through new eyes.
1 Thesselonians 5 (AMP):
16 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always);
17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];
18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and sound (well-balanced) mind and discipline and self-control.
Gets your eyes off yourself, focus on God (refocus) and others!
Philippians 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Acts 20:35: In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”
By Faith We Understand Hebr. 11:11
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
I pray this blesses you as much as it did me.