Learning to pay attention to what you are thinking is a skill that’s important to living a joyful life. Those who spend too much time thinking about their past or those who look too often to the future will struggle to find true joy. The reason for this is that what has already passed, no longer exists, really; and what is going to happen in the future, only God truly knows. Do you waste too much energy and time thinking thoughts that can’t change a thing and/or steal away joy?
Those who insist on thinking too often about their past lives, live in a paralyzed state emotionally and have a difficult time moving forward. Others, who are constantly thinking about what may be in the future, rob themselves of the present joys in life. Here are three simple suggestions to help with developing the skill of present thinking:
1. Pay special attention to “I should have” thoughts and “what if” thoughts when you rehash your past or when you think of your future.
2. Understand you can’t change your past; therefore, you must move forward. Ask God for forgiveness, where needed.
3. Change negative “what if” thoughts to positive “what if” thoughts. For example, change a thought: “What if I fail?” to “What if I succeed?”
Making small changes in our thinking can have huge impacts on improving our mood and our overall emotional health. The Bible says in Philippians 4:8-9 KJV, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.