Question – It seems that no matter how hard I try, I keep failing. Is there such a thing as getting ahead or even finding some peace in life? In every part of my life I continually fall short. Where is the joy and the love?
Answer – Life is a paradox, it is good and bad, it is fun and hard, it is filled with joy and sadness, it is incredibly overwhelming and sacred, we don’t want to live it, yet we don’t want to leave. Our duty in this paradox is to learn and understand our path, accept the bumps, laugh at the struggles, and keep moving forward. The very paradox of life gives us the strength to do what we were meant to do.
There have been many studies done on that very paradox, studies such as “How to be Happy”, or “How To Make Choices That Will Lift Our Life and Its Situations”. And even studies on “How To Be Successful” and “How To Have a Perfect Love Life.”
The only problem with these studies is that we are human. And for us to fit into that perfect “How to be Happy” profile, we would have to very consistent, be very un-human. There isn’t such a paradigm that makes us the same day after day.These studies are helpful and have useful info but it is up to us to make them apply to our lives, so maybe our goal should be to see the paradox, appreciate it, and learn to have peace in it.
According to Professor Jason M. Satterfield, we can find our place and our peace in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In simpler terms, we can retrain our brain to be more productive and happier in our lives and our relationships.
Have you ever taken the time to monitor your thoughts? Scientists have estimated that your brain will produce around 70,000 thoughts per day (Laboratory of Neuro Imaging). It works whether we are aware of it or not. Our thoughts go from one subject matter to another in a split second. And our human brain habitually travels to the negative thoughts with out much prompting. We have a tendency to gravitate to the lowest common denominator of our negative thoughts. It is when we choose to stay in these negative thoughts that we find ourselves stuck or lacking motivation or even lacking the ability to see that there could be a way out. Is there a way out?
When we stay stuck, we find ourselves depressed, anxious, tired, frustrated, and angry or maybe we just no longer care.
It is possible to train our brain to think differently and to see or perceive things differently. If that is the case and we can train our brains to be more of what we want to be, then why do we choose to not train that brain? That is a good question. The following are some tips on how to train your brain. It’s up to you to choose to do it.
Observe your thoughts. Take a few minutes just to think about your thoughts. If you are having a hard time getting past all the negative thoughts, then start there. Write down the thoughts when they come. If you are having some very detrimental thoughts, you may need someone to help or to just listen. Write down as many as you can. You will come back to this list later. Our brains tend to drive us to seek the short-lived comfort of satisfaction in the here and now. Our brains follow habitual patterns. Our subconscious mind is automatic and it is fast. Yet it is not as strong as our conscious mind.
Make a gratitude list. This may be a short list to begin with and that is okay. Keep adding to it as time goes on. It could be just the fact that there is a nice cool breeze or that you have a doughnut you do not have to share. This list is a good starting point to change the automatic responses that are not serving us. It focuses our brain on the thoughts that will project us out of being stuck into a more successful arena. The more we practice our gratitude list, the more comfortable our subconscious thoughts become to this new pattern. With this repetition, the brain will eventually “believe” the behavior and thought patterns and start integrating them into our lives automatically. Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy.
Decide specifically what you want. If you know that you are stuck, then deep inside you know what keeps you there, or you must know where you would rather be. If your job feels pointless, then maybe you want a job that is more exciting. Write down exactly what that would look like.
Rewrite the stories you tell. If we have a belief that everything in life is a tragedy, then most likely that is the way it would be. If it’s never our fault, we can’t take responsibility for it. If we can’t take responsibility for it, we do not have the power to improve it. In this space, you feel sorry for yourself and feel that everything and everyone is against you. Think about this scenario. It does feel comfortable or pleasurable for a time, especially if you have played the victim for most of life. There will be more pain in trying to change that feeling at first. Break away and you will find that being in control of your choices feels even better. In the free download there are step-by-step directions on how to get out of the victim mentality and start rewriting your more productive story. We all have our own classroom and our own stories. Write yours the way you want it written.
Live your new stories one day at a time, one moment at a time. When we know what we want and we have our new stories written, we can now break them down into doable goals- one goal at a time. And when we do make a mistake, just remember that is just another opportunity to learn. We can start again, refine and rework. We have spent a lifetime of believing our automatic thoughts, when in reality they are no more than just thoughts that may not serve us. Thoughts lead to feelings, which lead to actions. Build a new pattern and a new life. It is the very thing that we have felt is keeping us stuck that will help us to become strong if we choose to take the responsibility for that change within ourselves.