Sunday, August 22, 2010

Believe in Belief

If there is one thing I believe in its belief itself. If you believe you can achieve something you may well achieve it. If you don't believe you can achieve you most certainly won't. Belief is the one common ingredient in all forms of achievement. Furthermore if you believe in your ability to achieve and you set a goal, your mind and body tends to follow and you do what is necessary to get there in the end. You follow the trajectory that your goal has set for you. And it doesn't have to be all that painful because you put in the work as part of your greater purpose for achievement. You feel better because your life has sense of purpose.
People will say when a goal or a challenge is put before them " I could never achieve that, I could never put the work in, it's too much of a sacrifice, I don't have the ability, I am an ordinary person, I can't achieve extraordinary things"  The list goes on and on of the reasons people will give when they think they can't achieve.
The thing is most of the obstacles are psychological and when you believe that your goal is within your grasp these obstacles are diminished from insurmountable peaks to bumps in the road.
Ok some of you will say I just don't believe that I can reach those goals but the point is belief is a choice, its a thought and as taught in mindfulness thoughts are not facts. They come and go and we choose to identify with some of them. Why not identify and believe with some of the thoughts that come to mind such as "I'd love to be a successful entrepreneur" or a visualisation of you playing for your country in the Olympics. You may think that's absurd but is it anymore absurd then telling yourself your no good or that you are only meant to be in a dead end job for the rest of my life. My point is these are all thoughts and they equally valid, why not believe the ones that can get you somewhere in life.
 If we do a quick cost-benefit on believing in failure and inadequacy.and believing in achievement and greatness. The former provides a life of restriction, self doubt,  fear, poor confidence and wasted talent wheres the latter provides abundance, excitement, learning  and purpose. Ask yourself which would you rather have. It's in your hands to believe what you can achieve.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bad Moods, Are they Inevitable ?

A lot of people believe we are powerless to change things in our world and also in our selves. This can lead to a sense of helplessness and fear. Is it justified, Sure many things are out of our control, our genetic makeup for example. But I also believe there are many things that are within our control such as our mood on a given day. I can hear many of you say that Depression is a chemical imbalance and it just comes out of nowhere. Firstly for many forms of Depression it may well be a chemical imbalance but there is evidence now that suggests that the way we think in the first place can effect this balance or imbalance.
Secondly I don’t believe that Depression comes out of nowhere. It may feel like it does but there is a thought process that leads up to it. Some people become habitually moody when certain events occur. For example Financial situations, really get certain individuals going, an untidy house drives some people up the walls, Stress at work is the fault line for others. The list goes on and the strange thing is the people who experience these problems believe they are cause of their woes, Wrong the cause of their woes occurs within their own minds. It is not the events that are the real problem rather our reactions to them, How we think about these event is what causes the dip in mood or the rise in anxiety or anger. The Depression, anxiety or anger is what reduces the quality of our life. We tend to make a direct link between the event and the emotion bypassing the real cause ( Our Thoughts).  For example people may say I had an argument with my wife and I got angry, Or the investment I made lost money and I got depressed. In reality thoughts occur between the event and emotion which we can stop or change or create new ones. This is why we can say that bad moods are not inevitable. For years I thought that my moods were inevitable, I couldn’t figure out why I got into a state of mind, nothing had changed or if something had changed I believed that I had no control over how certain events made me feel. Now I know that I can interrupt this process, It’s not easy but it can be done and the benefits are well worth it, quite simply it can prevent illness and transform your life. One of the biggest hurdles I believe in this type of intervention is getting people to believe that bad moods are not inevitable.
I can’t emphasize this enough and it’s worth repeating “BAD MOODS ARE NOT INEVITABLE” at any time. Even very traumatic life experiences don’t have to lead to Depression, chronic Anger and resentment, or crippling anxiety. Just simply believe that you can change your thoughts.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Best Advice in the world for Good Mental Health

If you were to sum up the best psychological advice for Depression and related problems such as anxiety and anger in one sentence what would it be. Some statements come to mind such as Think Positive or roll with the punches. One comes to mind which was said to me about a dysfunctional thought pattern, And it was simply to stop doing it. This seems ridiculously simple, easy to say and very difficult to do but recently it has worked for me.
How is this achieved ?
First of all you need to know what you are doing wrong and when you are doing it. Consider this example, A stressful interaction occurs with another person and after the event you start ruminating or visualising an argument or response and after a some time your mood becomes depressed or irritable and angry. If you put 2 and 2 together here you will see that the ruminating and visualizing has caused the change in mood. This is the cause and effect of thoughts and mood respectively.
When you realise that the ruminating is causing the subsequent dip in mood this is the first step but it can take years to establish this feedback system
The first step is realising that you are thinking in a way that is going to depress your mood or cause anger. You have to become familiar with this form of thinking to realise that you are doing it. After a while you can become highly tuned to these thought processes.
The next step after you realise your thoughts are leading you astray is to simply stop thinking this way. Now you will not achieve perfection in this regard. If you have reacted with an habitual thought pattern all your life to certain stressful events you not going to be able to stop them with 100% success overnight but the point is even if you reduced it by say 40% this would produce a remarkable improvement to your quality of life
Typically what happens is first you recognise you are doing it then you say to yourself stop and a few minutes later the thoughts come back so you keep saying stop until you find that you feel better. Once you try it a couple of times and you experience success the positive feedback will encourage you to keep trying it. Remember you can’t stop your thoughts from starting but you can stop them for persisting
This process when it works won’t so much make you feel better, rather it will stop you feeling bad in the first place. Think of all those times you feel angry and snap at people or when you seem to drift into a low mood and wonder how you got there. People sometimes say about depression that it just comes out of the blue but in reality it doesn’t. There is always a cause and effect. It feels like it comes out of the blue but in reality it’s just your dysfunctional thought detector isn’t tuned in or active enough. Once the mood hits it feels like it came from nowhere and you can’t remember your thoughts preceding it. To summarise there are basically 2 steps to the process

1.    Recognise dysfunctional thoughts when they occur
2.    Mentally tell yourself to Stop
3.    The thoughts come back. Tell yourself to stop again

Simple, but it works.