Awareness, Life

Take back control of your head.

 

Your thoughts control everything you do.  They control what you say and do, and how you act and react. YOUR thoughts and how you interpret everything that goes on around you affect your entire life, your relationships and interactions.    Think about that for a second.  Seriously.

The things we think are a reflection of a lot of things, our past, our experiences, our stressors, our outlook on the future, and almost anything thing else you can think of.   These things, in our life have molded us, and built who we are… including our perceptions, and thoughts about everything around us

If we had an abusive past, our thoughts will reflect that with feelings of worthlessness, and disturbing memories.  If we had a happy, healthy childhood our thoughts will reflect that also.   If you are in a crappy relationship of course your thoughts and probable paranoia reflect that, with sneaking their phone or checking bank accounts.

Side note: Get out of the crappy relationship.  It’s a waste of time, and energy, and you don’t need the extra headache.  If you’re reading this book, you probably have enough bullshit to deal with already. 

 The following diagram is an example of the thought process and how it affects us, I use it often in explaining to patients how their either negative or positive thoughts effect their day and ultimately their life.  Imagine your initial thought at the top of the triangle…  it then moves to a specific feeling and then to a specific behavior, which then results in another thought.

   Thoughts

1200px-Pink_triangle_up_svg                   Behaviors                                                                Feelings

 

Take for example you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and your initial thought is “Damn, I look like a cow”.

How do you feel?   You feel gross, fat, ugly, and generally crappy, right?

So what do you do? What are your actions or behavior?   You may not do your hair, you may not make eye contact with people, you may not eat appropriately, and you may isolate yourself more.  All because you think you look like a cow today.  So your next thought, when people aren’t talking to you or they’re possibly avoiding you, is that they don’t like you, and then you feel shittier about yourself, and isolate yourself even more.  Do you see how that initial thought set into motion a whole snowball effect of events that could have been prevented?  All because of a single runaway thought.

In contrast to the negative thought there is the positive side of thinking.

You wake up in the morning thinking “Damn, I look great today!”

How do you feel? You feel pretty, skinnier, healthier, and you have more confidence.

So what do you do?   You take more care when doing your hair, walk with a bounce in your step, you make eye contact with people, and say hello to people. All of the things we do when they are more confident and sure of themselves.  People of course respond accordingly, saying hello in return or even starting conversations, and even complimenting you, and as a result confirming your thoughts. All of which in turn develop your next thoughts, they like me, or they think I look good too.  Which then promote more good thoughts and behaviors.

You can implement almost any thought into this cycle and track the corresponding feelings and behavior. Say for instance someone makes an offhand statement, and you happen to take that statement personally, you then are bitter and treat them differently, or you obsess over why they’re mad at you, or what you could of done, and then subsequently avoid them… even though they weren’t meaning to be offensive.  It was YOUR THOUGHT that prompted the cycle, and is jeopardizing your relationship.

Do you see the pattern here?  Do you do this to yourself?  Do you know people that do this?

Either way it’s a cycle that YOU are in control of, it’s YOUR THOUGHTS that will dictate your outcome of misery or happiness.

Your thoughts are the start of this cycle and your feelings and behavior just follow accordingly based on the thought. You can’t fix the way you feel or your really your subsequent behavior, but you can control your thoughts that lead you there.

    YES.  YOU CAN CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS!

Now….. How do you control your thoughts, right? Because you’re thinking now, that I’m full of shit, and you can’t help what you think.  At least that’s a response I get from a lot of patients… ” I can’t help it.”

And I agree, you can’t help what you think, because your thoughts are random and are affected by everything around you, constantly. But you can CHOOSE not to focus on your thoughts, and CHOOSE not to dwell on them, and CHOOSE not to allow them to dictate your actions and feelings.

One way you can combat your thoughts is to question them. Just because something pops in your head doesn’t make it true.

What was that??   IT’S  NOT TRUE?  If I think it, it must be true, right?

No…. that’s not right or a fact. Look for FACTS that support the thought.

Ask yourself things such as; is that TRUE ? and who says so?

What FACT proves it’s true… remember YOUR THOUGHT isn’t  necessarily a FACT.

If it’s YOU saying something is true… you should be discredited immediately because obviously YOU can’t be trusted with your thoughts. I’m serious.  YOU don’t count, when you’ve been know to self sabotage yourself already.

I’ve seriously had patients tell me that they’re worthless, and no body would care if they died.  And when I’d ask for a FACT that supports this thought… they’ll say something like…  “because I know it’s true”  or “because I feel it”  ….  neither of which are FACTS.

FACTS       FACTS       FACTS       What are they?     Look for FACTS to support the thought.

We think random stupid shit all the time.  Rather than dwell on those thoughts, challenge them to make them prove their worth.   Are they worth your time and energy?

Is it necessary to focus on that thought? Is that thought even true?

What FACT proves that you look like a cow?? It’s simple… there isn’t one.  It’s your opinion and just an opinion, but for some reason that particular day, your just feel ickier than usual.  But the cow you see in the mirror is going to already make your day crappier, because you bought it.  Rather than look in the mirror and then think that you need to do something different or do something to make yourself feel better.  You bought the irrational false thought, and you’re going to allow it to ruin your day and your outlook.

So you think…. OMG, what if that car pulls out if front of me?

That one  thought sent you into a “what if” hailstorm.

What if he hits me, what if I have to go the hospital, what will happen to my kids, what if I can’t afford it, what if he just totals my car.

And you’re now having rapid breathing, your starting to sweat, have mild chest pain and can’t stop the thoughts from pouring in. Right?

AND……. he didn’t pull out if front of you.   All of that for NOTHING, no reason at all, it was an unnecessary thought that you focused on and then you slid downhill…. Quickly.

You could of NOT focused on it –  and continued singing or whatever else you’re doing as you drive. No anxiety, no racing heart, no adrenaline drop.  It would have saved you some unneeded emotional garbage.

You could of simply seen the car, and thought “what if he pulls out in front of me?” and CHOOSEN not to pursue the thought any further.

Weird concept isn’t it?? It is totally doable, and so much more satisfying than being in a constant state of semi-freak out, and overthinking everything you experience.

Are you a victim of over thinking and worry?

A victim of random self destructive thoughts?

Lets discuss some of the things you know you do, and we can challenge them together.

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Awareness, Bumps

Anxiety Monsters

 

Anxiety is such a mystery and fascinating phenomena all at the same time.  Unless you’ve experienced it, you really don’t understand what it is and what happens to your body.  And unless you’ve had this discussion with a therapist or counselor, you probably don’t realize what causes it, and how YOU are essentially doing it to yourself.  Yes, you are doing it to yourself.  Somehow you are triggering something that is causing the anxiety, whether it is a simple thought or an event that you are now dwelling on or worrying about and are now rehashing it in your head.  That “something” could be anything from a past experience or worrying about a future event, or a wide variety of any other random stupid thought that you will find yourself dwelling on.

Anxiety in general can cause racing thoughts, trouble sleeping, and a generalized sense of unease or being hurried.   Acute anxiety attacks, can cause everything from chest pain to profuse sweating, trouble catching your breath and I’ve always explained it as if something is chasing you, and it’s gaining on you.   It’s overwhelming and can be very scary.  If you have no tools or ability to combat this… you’re in trouble.

There are many different things you can do to manage generalized anxiety, and many tips, tricks, and skills that will better your life.

Depression can exacerbate anxiety because often times when we are depressed, we think too much, and have a lot of regrets or feeling of inadequateness, which then lead to thoughts such as; “if I’d only of done…” and “what if I can’t…” which in turn make the feeling of inadequateness amplify and then the racing thoughts become more frequent and almost take on a life of their own.

Your kicking your own ass on a regular basis and don’t even realize it.  Yes YOU!

How do you get out of that ass kicking cycle?

There are many ways to get out of that cycle, but you and you alone can be the only one that does it, YOU have to actively be present in the process and the plan to get better.

There are many different ways and tools you can use to combat this cycle, as well as many different way to identify the triggers that sends you spiraling out of control.

Seek out these tools and ACTIVELY ENGAGE in practicing them.  You will notice a difference… maybe not right away, but if your are practicing them.  You will notice a difference very soon.

Awareness

YOU are your problem!

It’s fascinating to me that not a lot of people are aware that they are their own worst enemy.

One of the biggest problems we, or people in general have is that we don’t know we have a problem.  And yes, it’s YOU that has the problem.  Not the people around you, your significant other, your family or your past.  You.  We go through life over thinking, and stressing, and barely managing day to day life and you think that it’s normal. Telling yourself that “Oh, I’m just a worrier” or “I’m just an over-thinker” or some other ridiculous excuse, not ever realizing that you don’t have to be these things and there are ways to correct them, and by doing so, your life could be very different. People don’t know how damaging these things can be, especially if the thoughts are unhealthy.  You probably also don’t sleep well and find yourself on a regular basis re-running scenarios in your head and constantly what if-ing or living in the past or future.  You lay awake at night thinking about whatever random thing pops in your head and then create a bigger problem as you add to the thought, or recreate scenarios and rerun them over and over.  Then the next random thought pops in and you’re off on another tangent with that thought also.  It could have been an issue at work that day or something that may (or may not) happen the next day.   Am I right?  Do your thoughts control you, and how you feel, sleep, and react to other people?

We also have a tendency to think things that are not factual, but once we think it, we then  think it’s set in stone.  A thought isn’t always based on a fact, and a simple random thought can send someone into a tailspin if they don’t have a way to combat that untruth that they’re now starting to believe.  Innocent thoughts such as “Jane is mad at me”  can create a whole host of other thoughts and paranoia.  Things such as…  what did I do? does she think this?    I’ll get more into that later tho…

It’s very unproductive to constantly think and worry about random things that are;

  1. None of your business
  2. You have no control over.
  3. Isn’t relevant to your everyday life

What a monumental waste of time. But people do it, and they do it every day.  We become consumed by some of the thoughts and obsessions that bombard our minds and everyday life, and then we react to these thoughts accordingly… affecting everything and everyone around you.  (This is my favorite topic btw – I’ll elaborate more)

Wouldn’t your time and everyone’s time be better spent doing something that makes you happy or makes a difference?  Or god forbid, being a better person, or a better parent because your less stressed, less pre-occupied and you can now spend time on you or your family, spending less time in your own head doing useless cycles of dwelling in the past or ruminating about the future. (Both of which by the way should have nothing to do with your PRESENT life)

Do you do this?  What do YOU do to fix it?  Do you know how?