The psychologist William James wrote:
“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another”
I could add that it’s not only against stress but against negative feelings overall.
And it’s a very empowering way of life.
If you think about it, in modern life, stress comes mostly from your mind.
Let’s face it, most of us are not living in a jungle running from lions and bears.
We live in modern cities with little to no immediate danger. It’s not the same as with jungle life, where you never know where your next meal comes from or what would be lurking in the shadows of that tree.
Now, you place yourself in a stressful situation when you decide to take on a high-pressure job or work with a demanding boss or demanding career.
Or, you place yourself in a relationship with someone who only causes you pain and suffering.
And, in your own thoughts, you convince yourself how necessary that is for your life. You convince yourself that it’s a life and death situation.
You will die if you lose that job. Or if that person leaves you.
That’s all in your thoughts. Nowhere else.
Fact is, you will find another job or another partner.
Even if someone else is trying to impose their thoughts on you, it’s still uniquely your own responsibility what goes on in your mind and/or to continue in a situation where you have someone constantly poisoning you.
You are allowing malicious and negative thoughts to creep in.
That’s why William James talks about thought control being our greatest weapon.
When you can be an absolute master over your thoughts, negative emotions decrease and your overall life quality increases.
Negativity and stress never disappear altogether since this is part of being human.
But that doesn’t mean negativity should rule your life. It can happen, but you never should allow it to dictate what you can or can’t do, or the way you want to run your own life.
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