Thursday, November 4, 2010

Laura’s Take: The Power of Positive thinking; helping us achieve our Healthy Habits

Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny” ~Charles Reade

From my previous post I spoke about my struggle with depression and anxiety. During the time I was serving an LDS mission was when I began to reap new habits and it all began with positive thinking.

In the second letter from my bishop he wrote: “As a ‘confession,’ I used to really dislike being told to have a ‘PMA’ (positive mental attitude) and similar things, probably because it seemed trite and somewhat ‘cheer-leaderish.’ However, now I realize it isn’t so trite at all. Indeed, it is a precursor to exercising true faith.”

I had felt the same way. All throughout Jr. High School and High School I looked down on positive people. I felt they were ignorant to the real suffering and pain in the world. Looking back, I was the ignorant one.

I began collecting positive quotes like an entomologist collects butterflies during this time of transition. I feel like I should share two of my favorites. The first is called “If”


If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you'd like to win, but think you can't,
It's almost a cinch you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you've lost.
For out of the world we find

Success begins with a fellows’ will.
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you're outclassed, you are.
You've got to think high to rise.
You've got to be sure of yourself
Before you can win the prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

~ Anonymous

“The Eternal Everyday” by Edmund Vance Cooke (fragment)

“…O, one might reach heroic heights
By one strong burst of power.
He might endure the whitest lights
Of Heaven for an hour;–
But harder is the daily drag,
To smile at trials which fret and fag,
And not to murmur – nor to lag.
The test of greatness is the way
One meets the eternal Everyday.”

I put that last poem to memory and I would recite it in my mind or with those I visited. It was a source of great comfort to me. (I found it while reading the Ensign: Quentin L. Cook, “Looking beyond the Mark,” Ensign, Mar 2003, 40–44)

Our thoughts have power for good or ill. I have felt this very literally in my life. For an example of the literal power of pray/positive thinking can be found in an account by Dr. W. Jerome Stowell I read after I came home from mission. It is a bit lengthy so I won’t post it here, but you can read the account at this

A small summary of the story is about a group of scientists looking for a way to measure the electrical charges in the brain during the transition of dying to death. On this measuring device they had measured the power used by a 50,000 watt broadcasting station sending a message around the world at nine points on the positive scale. They then measured a dying woman (they could hear what she was saying during her last hours) as she prayed. They didn’t have an instrument strong enough to register the positive number, it was higher than the 500 positive points on their scale. This had a similar but opposite effect as they measured a man who was more bitter and angry.

Our very thoughts have the power to propel us to our dreams or our nightmares. They have a real affect on our attitudes and our health. If we want positive changes in our lives we need to feed our minds with pure, uplifting, edifying activities. Through our own actions and the aid from our Father above we can achieve anything we set our mind to. “Sow a thought, and you reap an act; Sow an act, and you reap a habit; Sow a habit, and you reap a character; Sow a character, and you reap a destiny”


  1. Superb quotes! Love the snipet from the study on positive thinking. Really makes me want to think 'better'.

  2. Laura - You are a great writer and I really like this blog!