Changing our mental habits
Unhealthy self-belief – “I’m not good enough.” “Why do bad things always happen to me?”
Unhealthy beliefs about others – “I have to stay late at work?” “My sister drives me crazy.” Giving away your power.
Unhealthy beliefs regarding the world – I am owed.
We all do it! Whether it is comparing ourselves to others, getting upset that we haven’t achieved as much as them, or expecting the world to give us our riches because we are good and do good things all the time. To the internal chatter we have with ourselves, that we are not good enough, “why do these things always happen to me?” We get stuck in a vortex of self-pity, anger and unhealthy recriminations that only go to hold us back even more.
Negative mental habits affect us all at one time or another and we need to learn healthy ways to tip the balance back in our favour and provide us with a more balanced and productive template. By doing this we then have the ability to dig deep and deal with the hand that we are dealt, rather than wallowing in the self-inflicted pity party or envy game.
Amy Morin a psychotherapist has a TedTalk on this very subject.
and she has found, through personal experience of tragedy, how her ability to focus on and build her healthy mental habits has supported her through these times.
Amy Morin talks of how the smallest change will begin to provide you with the confidence to cope so much better. This was evident in a client who was sent by his doctor to see her as his diabetes was out of control, his mother had died from this at a young age.
Amy spoke with the client and found that he was reticent to change. What was the point? His life felt hopeless, it was inevitable that he would die young and this was perpetuated by his bad mental habits. These bad mental habits were allowing him to focus on his perception of his diabetes and that of his mother’s early death due to it. The client was so focused on this predicted and inescapable illness killing him that he wasn’t taking care of his blood sugar levels or his general health. His eyesight was beginning to fail, and he had had his driving licence taken away.
When Amy saw him, she encouraged him to make one small change, this was met with a great deal of challenge but eventually the client said he would and moved to diet Pepsi. The changes in his blood sugar levels occurred quickly and the client stuck with it. He continued with this small change until he saw other differences in his life and then became bolder, changing his nightly ice-cream to something with less sugar.
This second small change encouraged him further and he ended up buying an old exercise bike that he put at home in front of his TV, so that when he had on his favourite shows he would pedal away.
Gradually, over time he began to lose weight but most miraculously, he began to see more clearly.
This was his epiphany, maybe the damage to his eyes wasn’t permanent and his life wasn’t set in stone.
He worked out that he could make changes to his world and he didn’t have to live this negative template that he had originally believed. His negative mental habits had been challenged. He then chose to work on getting his driving licence back.
This was all with one small change.
The change doesn’t have to be huge, just like this client, something small and significant to you.