The Power of Negative Thinking/ An Anecdote

Photo Credit: JBYoder, Creative Commons

Photo Credit: JBYoder, Creative Commons

We were staying at a delightful holiday cottage in Wales, where I lay in bed gazing at the magnificent view across the hills. When I finally decided to pull myself out from under the duvet, I called out across the landing (hall), to no-one in particular: “Who will make me a cup of tea? I’d really like some tea!”

My fourteen year old son sprang out from his bedroom and, with a glint in his eye, eagerly replied “I will!”

As soon as he responded, I instantly remembered our visit to a gift shop the day before, where all three boys were enthralled by the vast array of goodies to be found, not in the sweet section, but in the few shelves devoted entirely to joke and trick items. From fake blood capsules to super spicy boiled sweets, it was sheer boy heaven.

As Dan brought me the mug of tea a few minutes later, with a broad grin on his face, I knew he had spiked the drink with a sachet of tea laced with laxative (otherwise known as a ‘Dr Crapalots tea bag’!) I glared back at him, revealing my concern at his offer. He laughed.

“Oh well”, I thought, “it can’t be that bad” – my younger son had drunk a whole cup full the evening before to no drastic ill effect.

My feelings of thirst overcame any hesitation and I began to sip the concoction. Mmm, it did taste a bit weird. Nothing like my favourite Earl Grey brew. As I continued to drink the tea, I felt as though I could actually taste some traces of liquid laxative. Halfway through the mug, I told Dan that my stomach was feeling queasy and that the tea really was unpleasant.

Dan found my response hilarious. “Aha”, he snorted, “It’s not even the joke tea bag!”

“Well what is it, it tasted so different?! Was it the PG Tips left in the welcome pack?” I inquired.

“No! It’s Earl Grey! Ha, I fooled you, haha!”

I honestly couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He’d brought me a cup of my favourite tea, perhaps slightly weaker than I would make it, and I was so convinced that it was a sachet of ‘Dr Crapalots’ that my taste buds rejected the flavour and waves of nausea came over me! Dan was delighted, he called it a ‘double prank’.

I stared at the cup in my hand, the feelings of rumblings in my stomach subsided, and I promptly enjoyed the rest of my tea. No further problems.

That little episode demonstrated to me how negative thoughts can wreak havoc with our minds and our bodies. Fear has been described as ‘False Evidence Appearing Real’. In this instance, the thing I feared started to become reality, affecting my taste buds, my stomach and my mind. I simply couldn’t enjoy the cup of tea that I would normally relish first thing in the morning.

How true that our thoughts have power to affect our feelings and our responses. Negativity often holds power that it shouldn’t possess. We concede power to it.

As I drank the rest of that tea with a smile on my face, I snatched back the power. Negativity lost.

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