Mental energy is derived from positive thinking. Negative thoughts can help to direct our attention to important needs that are not being met. It could be a need for food, rest, or an imminent threat of danger that is presenting itself to us.
Amanda had a very negative way of looking at the world. It robbed her of satisfaction and joy. If one of her sons came home with an A on a test. She immediately focused on a subject in which he wasn’t doing as well.
Amanda needed to mobilize more positive solution-based thinking. To change her patterns of thinking Amanda started a new spiritual discipline. Each day she would start her day with writing in her journal everything she felt was going wrong in her life.
Next, Amanda tried to perceive each crisis as an opportunity and recast it as a challenging opportunity. She would look at each crisis and ask herself the question, “What is the worst thing that can happen here?” “If everything that could go wrong did go wrong could I live with the consequences?” In nearly every case she learned that by God’s grace she could. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me,” (Philippians 4:13).
Amanda ended her morning journaling by focusing on all the aspects of her life in which she was thankful. This helped her to appreciate how blessed her life was in nearly all aspects. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you,” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
This journaling exercise caused a welcome shift in her level of energy. Physically she became more relaxed. Emotionally she became more hopeful. Mentally she became less distracted, more flexible, and better able to concentrate. The positive effect of this practice was a greater engagement in all that she did. Over time the process became an automatic response to persistent negative thoughts.
Amanda redirected the energy she had been devoting to spotting what was wrong to looking for what was right. She became fueled by possibility rather than fear.