We have all been invited to this event called life. Please respond. How have we responded? With delight or dread? With rejoice or resistance? With curiosity? Regardless, we were invited and we showed up to the event. Each day we can choose how we show up for life. Maya Angelou once said “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” Viktor Frankl said: “Everything can be taken from a human but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” And William James stated “The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.” Imagine that we can choose our thoughts at any moment of any given day. How do we operationalize this? Read on…

Power of Mind

We ruminate, worry, obsess. We get stuck, distracted and discouraged. In negative or anxious states of mind and body, it seems impossible to simple choose a new thought or change an attitude just like that. But we can. Often, the answer comes down to action – ACT I ON (I Act on myself). Move your body by breathing deeply 5 times. Reach both arms up to the sky several times. Get up and go for a walk around the block or the room. Drink some ice cold water. Do something. In the time that you are taking to move your body somehow, pay attention to your thoughts and quickly say to yourself “new thoughts, new thoughts, new thoughts”. Or, don’t say anything to yourself or out loud. Rather just notice and in the attempt notice, what happens is that the worry, confusion, repetitive negative thoughts stop in that instant. It’s true. It happens. However, that’s not all. We merely cannot keep moving all the time.

In that time of movement is a range of thoughts and emotions t\hat begin to get clarified. Experiential avoidance may get activated and become a barrier to a sustained change in mood, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The process is the practice and the practice is the process. Self-consistency and discipline in changing one’s thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs and actions is the vital key. Finally, to quote William James again: “Seek out that particular mental attribute which makes you feel most deeply and vitally alive, along with which comes the inner voice which says, ‘This is the real me,’ and when you have found that attitude, follow it.”

New Neural Pathways

Published by Dr. Rick Barnett

Licensed Clinical Psychologist-Doctorate, Addiction/Recovery Specialist, among other things...

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