Editor's Note: The following is excerpted from H. Norman Wright's new bookA Better Way to Think: Using Positive Thoughts to Change Your Life (Revell, 2011).

Introduction

I’ve met only a few people in my life who don’t want to change. Most really do. They can envision the progress they want to make. Their intentions are good.

But there’s one nagging reason that keeps many of us from moving ahead in life. It’s our thoughts: those seemingly insignificant sentences that pass through the mind, greatly influencing everything we say and do. From our thoughts, we hear messages that can propel us toward great accomplishments and positive change... or drag us into a negative spiral.

Do you struggle with your own thoughts? Thoughts of worry, insecurity, frustration, and even anger? I do. We all do.

For many of us, the thoughts that continually run through our mind are more adversary than ally. Left unchecked, our “thought life” can become our own worst enemy, poisoning us from within. And it’s our choice.

Surprisingly, many of us don’t see the relationship between our thoughts, our feelings, and the words that flow from our mouth. For so many of the individuals and couples I’ve counseled, their difficulties can be traced back to one root problem—the ideas they repeat to themselves, their “self-talk.”

Yes, it’s true we all “talk” to ourselves. I do. You do too.

We all carry on conversations with ourselves. And it’s really okay. It’s not a sign we’re going over the edge.

Sometimes, we’re simply rehearsing conversations. At other times, we’re letting our imagination gallop along unrestrained, building tension and anxiety by worrying about possibilities that may never occur, and might not even be reasonable to consider, but telling ourselves that danger looms. It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. What we tell ourselves, we can make come true—even if it’s something we’d desperately rather avoid.

Truth be told, most of us have a bent toward negative or toxic thinking. And for some of us, the mind is a downright dangerous place, a battlefield fraught with land mines and hidden enemies poised for ambush. Our self-talk is attacking us from within.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You can change your thoughts. I can teach you. And when you learn to control your self-talk, you’ll be on your way to changing your life and improving your relationships. It’s possible. Really. The practical, simple steps you’ll find in this book will make a difference. What’s more, you’ll build a foundation for new thinking based on the Word of God. Get ready—you’re on your way to the ultimate mental makeover.

As you work through this book, I pray you’ll develop a new pattern of thinking, one that is balanced and realistic. My hope is that you’ll discover how to make peace with your mind, allowing you to make the most of all God has for you.

My Mind Is Filled with Thoughts!

No matter what the weather, Melanie radiates sunshine. At the grocery store, she makes friendly small talk with the cashier. When working in the yard, she always raises her eyes at the sound of an approaching car and waves, flashing a bright smile as neighbors drive by. Sure, she has bad days now and then. But she bounces back quickly after unpleasant events or periods of stress. Nothing seems to keep her down for long.

It’s no act. Melanie really does see a blessing in almost everything. When she gets stuck in a traffic snarl that might leave others seething, she tells herself it’s simply an opportunity to have some uninterrupted prayer time. If she burns dinner, she tells herself that she was due for a fun night out at a favorite eatery. Rained-out picnic plans cause her to announce that it’s the perfect opportunity to gather the family around the TV for a cozy afternoon watching a movie and munching popcorn.