Our brain is just like a computer. Whatever a computeris computing it will produce an output. The old adage, "Garbage in, garbage out", is true.
Negative thinking produces negative emotions which will produce
negative actions. We're wired that way.
There is lots of stuff out there about "creating the life you want". The issue of course is that the world doesn't march to our orders. So we can wish up a storm that "all will be well", but it doesn't mean it will.
Life is rough. I know. Over the last seven years I've lost a wife of 30 years to cancer. In fact during her final diagnosis I too was diagnosed with cancer and for a time we went to treatment together. Our surgeries were weeks apart. Her cancer was stage 4 and right after my treatment I went into be the caretaker.
Life happens. The issue in life isn't to avoid disaster, pain, sorrow, because these are actually the things that help us to bloom into who we really are inside. I wish for me there would have been other lessons I could have learned, but it's what was put on my plate.
How did I get through it? Well, for one over the previous ten years or so I was out speaking to people on how to handle critical stress. So I guess it was a case of "Physician heal thyself". I always believed that in order to teach someone you need to believe in and practice in life that something you're going to teach.
Like I said, our minds are like computers. There are thousands of thoughts everday racing through them. It would be nearly impossible to keep up with them, but for the ones that give us negative emotions it's a bit easier.
Our thoughts are normally the mirror of two things. Born temperment and experience. For instance. If we grew up in a family where no one took anything without cusing, screaming, throwing things, well guess what? Yep, we're going to be another nut from the tree. That stuff get's hardwired into us from an early age. If you've got children, you might have caught yourself saying something to them - "You'll put your eye out!!" and then said to yourself, "My gawd, I sound like my parents!"
Separating from the tree isn't easy, but acknowledging that we came from it is the first step. We are not our parents, teachers, peers. We may be wired to act like them, but it's not set in stone.
Changing our behavior is a matter of changing our way of thinking about something. For instance, in my case I could have thrown in the towel and said, "See, that's what happens when you try to live a good life!"
I mean I've never been perfect, but heck I "tried" to be good. I was at one time a co-pastor teaching God's love to all around, thought I was some pretty big stuff!
Well I wasn't, and as much as I thought "I had what it takes", I had a little problem. Yep, I was a nut right off the old tree of family nerosis. I mean i love my family, but they never took life on life's terms. It was always scream that, curse that, and throw the other thing, when it came to something bad happening.
For a while in life that's the way I approached things. I would go to the mail box and freak at the envelope - especially if it looked threatening like the IRS - and hollar, jump up and down, curse, even before I openned it.
Now I grew out of that by need - and threats from my wife - to the point where I developed positive coping skills that I used to create seminars that I taught to others.
So how do you chop off the tree and begin to think for yourself? Well no time like the present. Simply realize that negatively reacting to the stuff life throws at you isn't going to help you get through it.
You are the only one that has the ability to change your thinking. No one else can make you do that, although therapy - especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can be immensily helpful.
In CBT you simply learn to take your thoughts and match them what is true and now vs. what is simply scary fantasy. I like to use the example of losing your car keys, which is usually right before you really need to get somewhere - like work.
If you've done this - and I know you have - you'll remember the racing thoughts you had, "Oh this is not good.....I don't need this right now!" Or in the case it's just before work you might have thought, "Oh gawd, I'm going to be late.....then I'll be fired because my boss doesn't like me anyway......then I'll lose my home, end up on the streets, broke, hungry, abandoned!"
Now that's a lot of negative thinking about something that hasn't - and likely - won't happen. It's called "Catastrophic Thinking", and when you're in this state your mind , rather the creative, remorative part of your brain freezes. Using the computer analogy it's akin to the computer locking up because it's overwhelmed by computations.
Instead of "locking up your brain" you might just take a second to think about where was the last place you saw them. If this is taking a while, simply call in and tell them you will be a little late - just to take the pressure off. Normally when I would take it down notch, I would remember where they were.
Pretty much all that happens to us - simply happens. There is really no ryme or reason many times, but we do have control over how we will process the things that happen to us. We can choose to live as our ancestors did and "lock up", get crazy, throw things, generally lose it, or we can choose to say today, "No more", and begin to take control of negative thinking and emotions.
Read more in my new book, Mac's Gude to Coping with Stress, Anxiety and Fear! Available on Amazon, Amazon Kindle and other retailers!
Effective Communication. How to speak and LISTEN to anyone to get the most valuable information you need in life. (Coming soon!)
Taking life as it is (Coming Soon)
Stop Driving Yourself Crazy!
Learn to stop letting things that happen "without", affect your joy "within". (Coming Soon)
DAILY MEDITATION (Coming Soon)