Optimism and Self Esteem

Want to feel better? Tune up your thinking!

March 2nd, 2013

Feeling low and don’t know why?  Can’t seem to shift into “happy” mode?  You are not alone.  We all go up and down.  Everyone has mood swings.  Some more than others.  Sometimes dangerously so, appearing as mania and depression.  But what if there were a way to feel better more regularly, even when difficulty is all around us?  What if we could instantly change the way we feel, even when things all around us seem to conspire to defeat us?  What if we could turn anger into fascination?  Frustration into curiosity?  Sorrow into laughter?  It’s possible.  I get to see it happen.  My patients amaze me often with their success at defeating depression and overcoming lifelong habits of “learned helplessness”.  First step?  Change your mind.I’ve often mentioned Martin Seligman’s work on positive psychology in other posts.  In his pioneering work at the University of Pennsylvania, he has contributed mightily to our awareness of an innate human ability to affect how we feel by raising our awareness of our thoughts and “tuning” them.  Following colleague Aaron Beck, the father of modern Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Seligman developed “thinking tools” and strategies that can give us back our power to lift our moods and feeling.  Here are a few:

Don’t take it personally.  Adversity comes into every life.  We can’t control it when someone breaks up with us, or steals our brand new Ipad.  But we can manage our response to the event itself.  It’s tempting to think the universe conspires against us.  Phooey!  That’s magical thinking and not only useless, but destructive to our self esteem.  Seligman cautions us to increase our awareness of “automatic thinking”.  We, can with practice, remind ourselves that it’s not personal.  It’s not about us.  Someone needed an Ipad or a new lover helikopter simulator kostenlos downloaden.

It’s an isolated event.  Breaking up is tough.  Losing the companionship of someone we love hurts bad and can start us thinking that our whole life is turning dark.  This is a survival instinct.  Our automatic thoughts turn to “worst case” scenarios because that’s what it used to take to survive when dinosaurs were chasing us.  The “amygdala” , a tiny “safety valve” in the center of our brain controls our perceptions of safety and well being.  It’s designed to get “hi-jacked” when things aren’t going well.  With practice, we can over-ride this faulty instinct with fresh thinking.  Get a new Ipad.  Get reconnected with family and friends who’ve wondered where you’ve been dvd covers downloaden nederlands.

It won’t last forever.  Research shows that on average, emotions last about 90 seconds. Paul Tough, in his excellent book “How Children Succeed” points to the astonishing success of the KIPP charter schools program’s endeavor to make children more aware of the transient nature of feelings that rise under stress www.adac/vorteile herunterladen. He points out that what makes an emotion linger is the thinking that usually follows it.  When we get angry or frustrated, our instinct takes over and automatically we think (inaccurately) that things are going to be permanently bad for us.  They will if we let our thinking continue to stink.  Put it behind you.  Start dating again where to wii games for free.

Get help when needed.  Sometimes our best personal efforts can fail to alleviate deep seated, chronic depressive tendencies.  Unresolved depression is serious and deserves professional attention.  Brief, solutions focused psychotherapy can jump start our abilities to heal and feel better.  Picking up the phone to a therapist can be a first move toward saving your own life.  Stepping past our hesitation to speak with others about our dilemma can be difficult.  No one likes to be perceived as weak or lacking control.  But that’s just thinking, right cd brennprogramm nero kostenlos?

Namaste,
John

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