A person’s mental attitude has an almost unbelievable effect on his powers, both physical and psychological.
The British psychiatrist J.A. Hadfield gives a striking illustration of this fact in his booklet, “The Psychology of Power.”
“I asked three people,” he wrote, “to submit themselves to test the effect of mental suggestion on their strength, which was measured by gripping a dynamometer.”
They were to grip the dynamometer with all their strength under three different sets of conditions. First, he tested them under normal conditions; the average grip was 101 pounds. Then, he tested them after he had hypnotized them and told them that they were very weak; their average grip this time was only 29 pounds, In the third test, Dr. Hadfield told them under hypnosis that they were very strong; the average grip jumped to 142 pounds. (Bits & Pieces, May, 1991, p. 15)
The way we choose to look at things can make all the difference in how we feel about life. So often, we can dwell on the negative, not seeing the good in anything. We allow ourselves to not become all that we can be.
Jesus challenged his disciples, and he challenges us, to look at the possibilities — to allow ourselves to have an attitude adjustment so we can grow and become more whole. It is easy to want to give up and do nothing. It can be challenging to get up and get moving. We do that in the ways we serve others.
A positive attitude can be contagious. When we reframe a negative into something positive, other people experience that and learn to model that behavior. That is exactly what Jesus did for us. Jesus, even as he was dying on the cross, saw the possibilities. He kept a positive attitude knowing his death would lead to new life. And the same is true for us. Having a positive attitude can make all the difference. We, too, can experience the new life Jesus offers to each and every one of us.
Peace in the Risen Christ!
Rev. Chris Hill, senior pastor
Evangelical United Church of Christ