Often in our day to day lives, we use thought patterns that don’t serve us. Instead of empowering, they undermine.
Historically psychology dealt with fixing mental health problems like depression, anxiety or OCD.
If you think of the stereotypical glass half full, the goal was just to get your glass to the halfway mark, not to see the potential to fill the cup even more.
Positive psychology is exploring the previously uncharted territory of building emotional health. This means that after there is a stable mental health foundation, we can go beyond surviving to thriving with a few tweaks to the process of thinking. You can begin filling your own cup.
If you are like me, you probably do a pretty good job of this when things are going well, when you are energized, and when you feel in control. Here are three tips on how to keep resilient when you are feeling busy, out-of-control, or overwhelmed.
Know the Negative Thinking Traps
There are 5 negative thinking traps that you can easily fall into. Most of us have a predominant trap that resonates more with our own thought process.
This is the belief that everyone thinks alike. You know how you think and therefore you think you know what people around you are thinking. The converse is also implied as true-others know your wants and needs without you having to tell them.
2. Me Thinking
A me thinker believes that when things o wrong it is their fault. They believe they are the root of the problem.
3. You Thinking
The you thinker believes that other people or circumstances are always at fault (these people have a large circle of others.
4. Catastrophic Thinkers
Catastrophic thinkers are always stuck in their heads. They have a tendency to anticipate the worst case scenario and they get stuck in anxiety as though their prophecies were a reality.
Helpless thinking would have you believe that there is nothing you can do to change a situation or to create a better outcome.
Use These 3 Techniques to Outwit Your PatternsWhen our patterns become problematic it is indicative that our thinking has become rigid. We see problems as insurmountable due to the lack of flexibility or resilience in our thinking.
The good news is that The mind can be stretched in the same ways as our bodies- with repeated action moving towards the desired outcome.
These real-time hacks from UPenn Resiliency Training will immediately increase your optimism leading to greater reliance as they become new thoughts patterns.
1. Use Evidence
Disprove your negative thoughts by finishing this sentence:
“That’s not true because________________________.”
Look from another angle using the sentence:
“A more helpful way to see this would be_____________________________.”
This one is especially useful for catastrophic thinkers:
“If _________________happens, I will ____________________.”
I’d love to hear from you- which type of thinking trap do you fall into most (for me it can be the MIND READING) and which techniques you think will help you. (I’m a fan of the reframe).
Thanks for reading and keep taking daily steps to keep yourself on the happiness trajectory!
The goal is not to find something that is lacking, it’s the realization of an already present reality. By using meditation to go inward- to connect and reflect you begin to notice patterns in your beliefs that you might want to change or disrupt. That’s the first step Notice your pattern.
A pattern is just your learned RESPONSE to stimulus- any stimulus. A food, a politician, music, a tv show, types of dogs, smells. no matter what the STIMULUS, your response will be either thumbs-up or thumbs down.
this stimulus -belief -response pattern gives you the ability to recognize the belief is always entirely under your control. you don’t always control what stimulus you are exposed to, You do get to examine the belief that creates your RESPONSE.
according to Charles swindle “life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react”. learning that the power of your reaction is entirely under your control means taking charge of those so-called negative emotions like fear, anxiety, and stress. When you recognize a pattern in your life and believe that it’s not working you then you need to decide if you’re going to keep it or discard it.
once you know for sure that you want to change a belief, you:
1) gather evidence to support the new belief you want
2) choose a new belief to replace the old one with
The secret to change according to Socrates is not to focus all your energy on fighting the old, but instead on building the new. we need to make sure that two biases that are hardwired in our brains don’t keep us from succeeding.
the first bias is the status quo bias- our brains are wired to want what we already have.
the second one is the loss aversion bias- when we lose something the emotions are actually twice as powerful as when we gain something. an example of this would be if I gave you $20 you might be excited and there would be a blip in your joy radar but if I took $20 from you you would have double the anger than the joy you got from receiving the same $20. Knowing that we have this bias to avoid loss rather than to celebrate our gains, we need to really make sure we are focusing on what we are gaining and not what we are losing when we change a belief.
3) The third step is detachment desires can become very constricting when we want something so badly (like to change a pattern or habit) that it hurts. nourishing wants lead to happiness.
attachment is the natural quality that emerges as your higher self becomes your internal reference point and you let go of what you want and just allow. simply put by Oprah Winfrey “I can own things but nothing owns me”.
once you have examined your beliefs about things like:
your ability to learn
people’s innate ability to be generous versus selfish
if the world is a place of abundance or scarcity
Then you begin to live a life of reflection from a place of inner guidance. spending time in meditation helps to shake up this reflection process and makes beliefs that no longer serve you become obvious.
Have you changed a belief or thought pattern that changed your life? I’d love to hear what it was and how you changed it. Sharing is a great way to inspire one another and to reflect on the past. please comment below- I love to hear from others who are breaking free from limits.
Choose a single word to use as a theme for the year. Words like curious, declutter, family, healing or growth come to mind. The word is used like a map when making choices about what you want to do, in the moment, in planning the future or as an anchor to hold on to when things seem confusing or unclear.
I’m choosing the word UPGRADE for 2017. It serves to remind me that everything I have right now is wonderful and if I upgrade, I still get to where I’m going but in a more enjoyable way. It’s like icing on a really decadent cake.
It also serves as a reminder to me that I don’t need to change what I am doing, but how I am doing it. Streamline, work smarter not harder and harness Pareto’s law (look it up 😉 )
Please share your themes.
Happiness never decreases when you share it.
PS When I wrote this blog, I looked up to the top right corner of my screen and a little button read “upgrade”.
Coincidence? I think not. 🙂
Most of us have been taught to think that happiness can be dependent on things we don’t control like the weather, if we get that job we applied for, or if he calls for a second date. This gives us the belief that something outside of us is in charge.
The way I teach, and what science shows is that your happiness is entirely under your control.
There are four quick factors that you can use to set a stable foundation for your happiness. When these four things are in place it’s like planting a garden in fertile soil. Sure seeds can grow in a desert where during a drought, but they flourish when they have rich soil, adequate nutrients, and a supportive environment; we really aren’t that different.
Four Foundational Pillars
- Sleep Well
- Move Your Body
- Feed Your Body & Mind Good Things
- Begin with Intention
Every human has an amount of sleep that works for their body. The chart below is based on averages and is a good guideline to how much someone of your age should sleep however we are all different. My guideline for sleep is you should awaken on your own (no alarm clock) feeling well rested. If you aren’t you need more sleep. The simplest way to get this is by going to bed earlier. Yet, many adults, especially parents of young children, don’t. They have spent all day at work and taking care of their family’s needs and now they want some “me time”. I get it. But I encourage you to try balancing your me time with getting to bed at a better time for your bod. Give yourself an earlier bedtime and stick to it. Start with a half hour earlier than you currently head to bed and see if getting up is any easier. If not, try another 1/2 hour.
Move Your Body
The second pillar for a solid happiness foundation is to move your body. It may sound simple however your body is designed for walking, for running, for farming and hunting. Thanks to technology, we live a fairly sedentary lifestyle in this day and age. Most of us don’t make trips to the well for water or carry our dinner home after we have chased it down. Our bodies need more movement than most of us give them. What you need to do is take breaks between activities to stretch, to run, to dance, to play- to do whatever it is it gets you moving active and allows your body to have a physical break. The chemicals released when you exercise are the ones that contribute to a positive mood. Feeling grumpy- take a walk!
Feed Your Body & Mind Good Things
The old computer saying “garbage in, garbage out” also pertains to our bodies. If you aren’t fueling yourself with a healthy diet & fueling your brain with positive thoughts, you will be more likely to have a less desirable outcome. But what is healthy fuel for my body? There’s the paleo diet, the vegan diet, there’s juicing and the raw food movement- how do I know what healthy really is? Your body will tell you. You should feel vital and flourishing. Hints you are off-track would be feeling like you are denying yourself or severe cravings. I would recommend books like Deepak Chopra’s “What Are You Hungry For” as a good place to start.
As for mind fuel; don’t listen to the news all day long and definitely not before bed. Have you noticed what they report? It’s all disasters, conflict and crisis! Try podcasts that uplift or reading instead. Neuroscience shows that your brain becomes better at looking for the things it sees most. Strengthen the pathways to positive, motivational and inspirational thoughts.
Begin with Intention
In all aspects of life, it helps to journey with clarity. Knowing what you are doing, what you are thinking, how you are feeling and what’s going on around you allows you to move forward from a place of intention rather than reaction.
Spend time in the morning setting an intention for your day. I use ones like “everyone I contact will feel my light and its warmth”. When you have a meeting, think about its purpose before it begins. “I need to end this meeting with clear financial targets”. With your family and friends, “I want to hear what they are excited about in their lives today”. Clarity that gossip or negative self-talk are not part of who you are discourage others from engaging in these patterns around you.
After the foundation is set…
Now you are ready to focus on flourishing. Check my blog for the happiness habits
or subscribe to my newsletter to learn more. Remember, happiness is never reduced by sharing.
Get a daily dose of happiness to your inbox by subscribing to HAPPY THOUGHTS at the right side of the blog.