The Sacred Teachings About How You Should Think

As a functional health and wellness coach my motto is – You are the expert of you; I am the expert of change.

I’m not here to tell you what to do, how to think, or what to believe. I’m simply here to help you question why you think the way you do so that you can walk through life with your own intentionality. In my blogposts I simply explore science around certain themes, and continue to seek answers for myself from several sources. We all see the world from our own lens but sometimes it’s helpful on our own journey to have a peek at how others see the world.

I love reading to learn. I have gleaned new perspective from the stoics, scholars, philosophers, as well as from the Bible. Today I will present some ancient wisdom from the Bible about how we should think. This coincides with what science has been telling us about the importance of positive thinking. I will try to unpack my interpretation of how these verses are speaking to me based on my worldview and perspective. I hope that you can find something useful from it.

What does this have to do with controlling food cravings?

If you read my niche statement, this may become more apparent.

I support people navigating food cravings to explore their inner being and harness their thoughts through mindfulness and intentional living so they can overcome their addiction to food and reclaim self love and acceptance.

A big part of controlling food cravings (or any addiction or behavioral problem for that matter) often begins with a good, deep look at our thought life.

I love this verse in Philippians from the New Testament.

Philippians 4:8 -Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Can you imagine what our lives would look like if we only thought about the things mentioned in this verse?

There are roughly seven things mentioned here that we should think on. Let’s explore them.

Whatever is true

From my perspective having been raised in a Christian environment, this means that I think about other things that I have learned in the Bible that I believe to be true. I have found it helpful to focus on David’s words from the book of Psalms. This helps me to fight negative self talk.

Psalm 139:13-18 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand- when I awake I am still with You.

Back in my eating disorder days, I didn’t like anything about myself. My inner critic was relentless. I blunted all of the negativity with food. I couldn’t deal with it. Through my healing process and years of searching I have learned to embrace this verse. What uniqueness we all carry inside of us!

Whatever is noble

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines noble as possessing outstanding qualities.

Society is constantly bombarding us with things that are not noble (scandals, dirty secrets, sensationalized news…) that drag our thoughts, and eventually our actions and the quality of our lives down.

Galatians 5:22-23 gives us some great ideas of outstanding qualities to think on when it talks about the fruit of the Spirit.

  1. Love
  2. Joy
  3. Peace
  4. Patience
  5. Kindness
  6. Goodness
  7. Faithfulness
  8. Gentleness
  9. Self-Control

Whatever is right

What is right? It seems everyone has a different idea of this, but since this is holy scripture I had to dig a bit deeper to see what was originally intended. The original word δίκαια is Greek. It means correct or righteous.

There are so many directions I could take this. I could list the ten commandment from Exodus 20. That seems like a good, righteous place to start, but I want to bring to light Micah 6:8.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?

It does seem beautifully right to think about having compassion for others.

Whatever is pure

Thinking on whatever is pure means filling our minds with thoughts that are innocent, virtuous, clean, not contaminated by anything evil. What we watch and read can affect our thoughts. How can you change your environment to ensure that your thoughts are pure? How can thinking on things that are pure improve your life?

Whatever is lovely

Lovely is that which deserves love, that which is pleasant and delightful.

When I think of things that deserve love, I think of every human being. When I think of things that are pleasant and delightful, I think of the beauty in nature – the birds singing on a warm summer day, the majestic mountains, the warmth of the sun on my skin.

Psalm 19:1 – The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

What is pleasant and delightful for you, and how can you intentionally think on these things?

Whatever is admirable

I initially thought that this must be talking about thinking about things that I admire, which I could easily list. But I wanted to look at the original greek word here, εὔφημος [euphemos /yoo·fay·mos/]. It means well spoken of, uttering words of good omen. In other English translations, it is translated “whatsoever is of good report.” An example of this might be a teacher giving a good report about your child when you go to a teacher conference or get a report card.

Whenever you get a good report about yourself or a loved one, spend time and dwell on it. How many times do we focus on the negative words we are told. In my mindfulness training we learned about the negativity bias. The negativity bias is a cognitive bias that states that our bodies react more intensely to negative stimuli than positive ones. It generates more neural activity and we perceive them more quickly and easily. They also get stored more easily. The only way to overcome this is to recognize this fact and to fight it intentionally, focusing on the positive.

Again, science and sacred teachings intersecting.

Think on anything excellent or praiseworthy

I could go full circle here and say that all of the above attributes are excellent and praiseworthy. There have been so many English translations of the Bible. One translation, The Message, is more of a paraphrase than a translation, but in this verse I like how it clarifies what we should be thinking on by reminding us of the opposite and what we shouldn’t dwell on.

Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.

Where to go from here

You now know what to focus on, but what does this look like practically? I often refer back to my post Thoughts are like Airplanes because it contains great quotes on how to manage your thoughts. This is great place to start as well as the following suggestions.

  1. Keep an Appreciation Journal to fight back against the negativity bias. This is simply a journal that you write in whenever you receive an appreciation, some recognition, or positive feedback that feels meaningful. Add the name of the person who said it and the date that you received it. Your Appreciation Journal can also be a place for you to acknowledge and appreciate your strengths, positive qualities, and achievements.
  2. Appreciate these same qualities in others and share your thoughts with them.
  3. Do a body scan periodically throughout the day. Sometimes our bodies let us know of our emotions when we aren’t consciously aware of them. Look for symptoms of food cravings, or other physical symptoms like tightness or pain (which we often try to fix with food). The emotions can then be traced back to our thought life. This is the root of the problem and where we must put our focus to fix it.
  4. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Ideas around gratitude were also mentioned in The Art of Living a Simple Life. What are you thankful for? Take a few minutes and think on those things and write them down. I’ve included a download discussing the benefits of gratitude journalling, as well as citing a couple of useful apps for this below.


I no longer want to spend my mental energy on past regrets. What about you? Will you join me moving forward on placing that energy in thinking on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. How might doing so change your emotional state, and ultimately your behavior?


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