Why Positive Thinking is Spiritual
Some people say that positive thinking is not spiritual as it encourages a reliance on self. I strongly disagree with this opinion. While there are many self leaning practices in the positive thinking discourse, there’s also an abundance of Bible verses about being positive. When life throws me a curve ball, I ratchet up the practice of science-based positive thinking exercises. I also pray and read the Bible a lot more.
The upside to being a scientist and a theist is that I have twice the practices and teachings available to help cultivate a positive mindset. I leaned into this during my divorce, as there were many times that I felt discouraged. Nobody plans for divorce, or any other major life challenge for that matter, and I became impatient with the process of building a new life. At times I was the picture of perfect health - practicing yoga, meditation and eating vegan. At other times I was neck deep in destructive behaviors.
What I found is that I could easily recover from missing a few days of yoga or meditation, but skipping out on prayer and connecting with God through Bible study, allowed these poor coping behaviors to take root in my life.
Instead of keeping all of this rich knowledge and experiences to myself - I’ve ventured to share a few Bible verses that really turned things around for me during hard times. I also added a few on top. I hope these scriptures help you get some peace when you’re feeling anxious, depressed or a bit overwhelmed.
Do not worry or be anxious.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus - Philippians 4:6-7
For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and love, and self-control -2 Timothy 1-7
Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go - Joshua 1:9
God only has good intentions toward you.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” - Jeremiah, 29:11
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye on you - Psalm 32:8
We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose - Romans 8:28
Seeking and trusting God promotes understanding and rest.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears - Psalm 34:4
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths - Proverbs 3:5-6
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him - Nahum 1:7
Scientists continuously find that people with a spiritual practice tend to be happier than those who don’t. I’ve curated some Bible verses that talk about the positive emotions associated with happiness.
Positive emotions are spiritual in nature and can help you to be successful in all areas of life.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control; against such there is no law - Galatians 5:22-23
God’s love gives confident hope.
I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul - Psalm 31:7
Peacemakers will be joyful.
Those who promote peace have joy - Proverbs 12:20
Joyfulness is good for health.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones - Proverbs 17:22
Kindness is good for the heart.
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up - Proverbs 12:25
Doing the right thing keeps you safe from spiritual harm.
Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? - 1 Peter 3:13
Gentleness nurtures relationships.
A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger - Proverbs 15:1
Scientific research indicates that positive thinking is associated with successful outcomes in health, relationships and work. Pop-psychology backs positive thinking practices such as affirmations, gratitude practice, and visualization as a means to access the emotions necessary for a positive mindset. Love, joy, peace, confidence, and contentment are positive emotions highly valued in the positive thinking discourse. Similarly, in the Bible, you also find a prioritization of these emotions. For example, love is mentioned 549 times, while joy is mentioned 244 times.
The difference is that the Bible teaches that these emotions are signs that your spiritual house is in order, in comparison to pop-psychology, which relies on you sticking to a daily routine of practice. Instead of pitching science over faith — or vice versa, it’s my belief that as humans are physical and spiritual, we require interventions that speak to different aspects of our being. As you consider which practices to try, I hope you are encouraged to try prayer. In my experience, I’ve gotten the most out of my pursuit of a positive mindset, by leaning into both the spiritual and physical aspects.
Click here to download and print out the Bible verses.
Post it where you can see it, and get some peace when you’re feeling anxious, depressed or a bit overwhelmed.