Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Negative thoughts and self sabotage

Negative thoughts are not reserved for just a few people or situations. Everyone is plagued by negative thoughts at one time or another. However, once you begin thinking about what you’re “thinking about” you’ve already taken the first step to controlling negative thoughts.

Are you carrying around some junk? You know, those hurtful and disastrous things that you may have been told by someone during the course of your life. It was supposed to be taken with a grain of salt or simply ignored but most of the times we take that criticism and wear it like a hat of shame! Negative thinking can make all sorts of things incredibly difficult. It is like a leak in your confidence bucket--constantly drip-drip-dripping away your confidence and self esteem.

Negative thinking can be useful to help assess the possible pitfalls in a potential plan of action, but you need to be able to turn it on and off at will. Otherwise, negative thoughts will sabotage your self belief, your confidence and your achievements. Here are some effects of negative thinking:

Sleeping problems
It can become very difficult to get to sleep, because you feel worse at night. There are a number of reasons why. While you’re trying to drop off to sleep, there’s nothing to distract you from the worries that may have been lurking in the background during the day.

Sapping your self-confidence
The more problems you think you have, the less able you may feel to cope with them, and this can increase your sense of helplessness. This reduces your confidence, making you more vulnerable to your fears.

Unhelpful strategies
Under this kind of pressure, it may become very difficult for you to concentrate and carry on with everyday life, so that your problems tend to build up. It’s emotionally draining to feel anxious all the time. It may feel as though your whole life is being taken over by it.

Negative thoughts are not reserved for just a few people or situations. Everyone is plagued by negative thoughts at one time or another. However, once you begin thinking about what you’re “thinking about” you’ve already taken the first step to controlling negative thoughts.

Research shows that people who receive positive distractions for just eight minutes show a remarkable change in their moods and in breaking the cycle of repetitive thought. So, next time you catch yourself repeating the same negative thoughts over and over in your mind, use the STOP acronym:

1. S - Say the word STOP!

Interrupt your internal destructive thoughts. Tell yourself firmly to “STOP” over thinking. Be strict, and don’t let them intrude on your thoughts. It also might be helpful to visualize a box to place all your negative thoughts in, which you may open at a later date or time.

2. T - TAKE a break!

Take a deep breath. Then, take a break. Go for a walk or a hike, read a great book, listen to your favorite music. Do something to take your attention away from over thinking, and if possible, change the environment.

Also try some relaxation exercises, they often focus on replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. This could involve imagining yourself in a new setting, such as a beach, a designer home or a garden. You could visualize your worries as physical objects that can be discarded, such as stones or rocks you could heave into the distance.

Sometimes, doing a relaxation exercise makes people feel quite uncomfortable. You might feel that it’s not working, or that you’re doing it wrong. It’s best to take the attitude that you’re just giving it a go, and that these negative thoughts are normal. Surprisingly, learning to relax takes practice.

3. O - Focus on the OUTCOME!

Focus on the OUTCOME of your goals. Affirm why you are committed to your goals. The way we feel and what we experience in our body comes from what we focus our attention upon during a given moment. And at any moment, we are “deleting” most of what is going on around us. That is, to feel bad, we have to delete (not focus on, not think about) everything that’s great in our life. And vice versa. For us to feel good, we have to delete the things we could feel bad about.

4. P - PRAISE yourself!

PRAISE and acknowledge yourself for the progress you are making. Remember, you’re looking for progress, not perfection! Give yourself a reward every time you’re successful with overcoming negative thoughts. And remember small changes make a big difference.

By recognizing that you do have negative thoughts you’ve taken the first step. Now, start playing “Devil’s Advocate” and challenge yourself to find the positive. Turn your thoughts around and your moods will follow suit.

(This helpful content found at http://ririanproject.com/2007/10/28/here%e2%80%99s-a-quick-way-to-stop-negative-thoughts/)

And remember--our thoughts create our reality!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Loyalty to one's "promise" or loyalty to one's "self"

Loyalty to your "promise" or loyalty to your "self"... or is there something beyond loyalty and love? These questions/conflicts/issues come up a lot in counseling practice... each person chooses differently, and for different reasons.
Is it more important to be loyal to the person you made a vow for better or worse, or to oneself?
When does it become less about the relationship between two people and more about the individual person?
We all make sacrifices for the relationships we get involved in, but eventually as time passes...and one day you realize your only purpose in life is to fulfill others needs, is it all right to think about oneself?
To be loyal to your mate forever...or to find loyalty for yourself...?

What is the proper choice in life?
  1. A vow is a vow, and unless infidelity is involved, one needs to stay committed to their mate for better or worse. Period.
  2. After years of "going through the motions," one day you realize that being in love doesn’t mean what it used to. You forget "how" to love or even be loved. Then you come to face the "reality" that the person you once were in love with is simply the person you are merely sharing a bed with. So you find love elsewhere when you don’t expect it...do you "go for it"?
If your mate confesses to love you but in turn, you are not "feeling" the love, are the "words" enough to hold onto a life together?

Loyalty to one's vows or loyalty to oneself? (end quote).
Romantic love, when it is primarily defined by the current emotional state of the lover, is always ultimately about the self, the lover, and rights he earns by the intensity of his feelings. The lover does not care for the beloved so much as he draws inspiration from her; one might almost say he consumes the beloved, although always to the highest purpose, or at least the highest purpose that the self, trapped in itself, can ever know.

Loyalty is what makes the difference between taking one's beloved as the standard of value and the crown of the world, and taking her as a means to the end of one's own gratification (or, at best, one's own improvement). In promising ourselves (to another), we wish to assuage our beloveds' fears; we are stating that we do not desire to consume them, and we will not abandon them once they have outlived their usefulness {ouch, what a concept to enter love from!}. Further, a mutual promise moves part of the way toward the "ecstatic union" toward which eros impels us. It hooks two lovers together. Eros pushes us to create the closest bonds possible, which do not dissolve or disguise the "otherness" of the beloved; thus not only physical unions but also the uniting of two individuals' futures in vows of loyalty are part of the demands of eros. This is one of the ways in which eros is more extreme in its demands than friendship; another is its emphasis on submission rather than equality. The model of the dual promise--the couple saying "I do"--is a model of mutual submission.
What, if some day or night a "demon" were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: "This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it,... *

Here, recurrence* is a thought-experiment: What would we do, if this happened? How would we respond? And, of course, what can we learn about our "values" from that response? The issue at hand is affirmation of oneself, of one's own actions, and of life. One must relive every moment and, therefore, take every action again; thus we are challenged to find out what would make reliving our actions unbearable. What would make an action so terrible that extinction is preferable to reenacting it? One answer is, that the action damaged something we value more highly than we value our own lives. It was written how eros leads inescapably to regret; the lover values the beloved more than he values his own life, and he fails her.

The man who reacts to the "recurrence"* with despair or terror may have many different motivations. He may be an ascetic, in horror of himself and in love with the void. He may be an adherent of some code of morality against which he has offended, and which he values more than his own life. Or he may be in love. The man who responds to the thought of "recurrence"* with joy is beyond good and evil, for he has cleansed himself of any regret; by the same act, he has gone beyond love. (end quote).

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Dual purpose for Life's Journey

Each of our life journeys has an inner purpose and an outer purpose. The outer purpose is to arrive at our goal, or destination. I believe that I have been primarily focused throughout the years on the outer purpose. But a book I am reading is offering new insight to the dual purpose of life's journey (The book is: "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle). The author brings to light that if the destination takes up so much of our attention that it becomes more important than each individual daily step, then we are missing the journey's inner purpose "which has nothing to with where you are going or what you are doing but everything to do with how." So in essence, the journey is not about getting to some "future" point, but the quality of each individual, intentional moment along the path. The author makes a clear distinction between the outer and inner purposes of the journey. The outer portion "may contain a million steps, your inner journey only has one: the step you are taking right now."
Fascinating. This changes certainly the way I have been looking at my journey... I always knew it was not just about the destination, but this goes beyond that... I need to give this whole thing some more thought!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Song of the Week: Crazy Beautiful

Crazy Beautiful

"Everybody's been there everyone's the same
but mostly we don't care isn't that a shame
We bring us down face after face
the inside is beautiful but the outside we want to change.
We want to change.
Whoa you’re oh so beautiful, you don't need anyone's approval
You've got to believe in your self you know you are
You're crazy beautiful
Well every new year you say your gonna change
There's no need to change
We're different but the same
In the eyes of the King
We're beautifully made
In his image we're made
Whoa you're oh so beautiful, you don't need anyone's approval
You've got to believe in your self, you know you are
You're crazy beautiful
Take a look it’s all around you
See the world from different views
The way you shine from the inside
I know with out a doubt
It’s more than what you'll be
In the world's eyes.
Whoa you’re oh so beautiful, you don’t need anyone's a approval
You've got to believe in your self you know you are

You're crazy beautiful."

The above lyrics "Crazy Beautiful" by Chasen, are the property of the respective authors, artists and labels, the lyrics are provided for educational purposes only. If you like the song, please buy relative CD to support the artist.

Monday, October 1, 2007

1 different thought opens the door

How does change begin? Some say simply with desire to change. But desire is often not enough to move us forward into the drive energy it takes to change.

How does change begin? Quite simply, by thinking one thought different. Just like that.

Once you think just one thought differently then that opens the door, paves the way for thinking a second thought differently.

I am a firm believer that in order to change our behavior, we must first change our mind. All lasting change comes from within. It starts with positive thoughts, and then turn thoughts into actions.

The power of positive thinking and personal empowerment is a huge factor. A life filled with gratitude, rather than remorse. A life looking forward, rather than back.

One of the easiest cognitive therapy approaches to understand is that of Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) as developed by Albert Ellis.

Rational Emotive Therapy tells us about the ABC’s of emotional life. It is practical and easy to apply.

"A" stands for "Actual Event" and represents what happens to you in life.
"B" stands for a "Belief" about what happened.
"C" stand for the "Consequence" of the event on mood and behavior.

In life it appears to us that events happen and that the events cause our moods and behavior. It appears that A (an event) causes C (a consequence). So, if a friend breaks your trust you may be hurt and depressed. You may later tell someone that your friend has ruined your life and has made you miserable.

However, in order to be hurt and depressed you have to have a belief about what happened. You must be thinking in a certain way. It is your belief or thinking that is creating your reaction. You might be thinking, "It is horrible. It is terrible. I have been betrayed. I’ll never trust again."

It is your belief that is creating the consequence. Change the belief and the result will change. What else could you be telling yourself? What might be a more realistic assessment of the event?

You could be thinking, "This is tough and I don’t like it but I am glad that I found out now rather than later. I made a mistake, but I can learn from it. I can get through it." You reaction might be one of hurt and disappointment, which is a more realistic response. You would not fall into a state of depression and misery.

Changing your belief changes the result.

some information gathered from www.lessons4living.com/depression5.htm