Drive By Wisdom: Ask For What You Need

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard for us to get our needs met if we are not willing or brave enough to ask for what we need. In this episode of Drive By Wisdom, we’ll explore how asking for help can improve your life.  Click on the video below:

I Am Not Always What My Thoughts Say I Am

 

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Over the past couple of years I’ve trying to be more mindful of my thoughts and feelings. It’s easy to blow past our inner world through the busyness of the day. We have hundreds of thoughts that flow beneath the surface of our consciousness and occasionally they bubble to the surface.

At times I find myself feeling discontented and I wonder why. At other times I feel like I’m doing something wrong or something is wrong with me.  Difficult feelings ride higher in our consciousness and display themselves in:

  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Hurt
  • Self-loathing
  • Depression
  • Frustration

If we live with a lack of awareness, our feelings can surface and can overwhelm our experience. They can cloud our day with a sense of foreboding. They can hinder our relationships and disengage us from our work.

With awareness, we can trace our feelings to our thoughts, for it’s our thoughts that proceed and create our feelings.  A key learning in Adlerian Psychology is that how you think affects how you feel.  If you are feeling depressed, angry, or sad  it’s  because your thoughts  are depressing, angry and sad.

When I further analyze many of my feelings I realize that the associated thoughts are not even true! How many times have we had the thought that other people are judging us or dislike us?  How many times have we thought that we are incapable or inadequate? The reality is most people are not judging us because they’re concerned with themselves. They’re not thinking about us! We are also ignoring the many ways in life we are capable.

If we analyze our thoughts we often will realize that they aren’t true, but because of our feelings they feel true.  That’s what Adlerian Psychology calls a “mistaken belief”; something that feels and seems true, but isn’t.

This sounds strange, but you know its true: just because you think it doesn’t mean its real. Our thoughts are often misleading.

Here’s an example.  I used to have the mistaken belief that I wasn’t capable. For years I was under performing in life, because I had thoughts that doubted my talents and abilities.  When I started gathering evidence of how I was capable and talented, the mistaken belief dissipated.

When we pay attention to our thinking we’ll realize we have so many thoughts that are self-defeating, self-critical, or worse, self-loathing.  Remember, without mindfulness these thoughts will run under the surface of our consciousness and lead to icky feelings.

A key to thriving in life is to disengage ourselves from our thoughts. You can acknowledge a negative thought without dwelling on it. You can let it go and move on.

To be honest, when I first encountered this idea, I thought it was crazy.  How do you let go of a thought? It’s in my head, isn’t it?

First, we acknowledge the thought and recognize it’s a thought. “Oh, there’s that thought again saying I’m not capable.”

Second, our awareness of the thought allows us to distance ourselves from it.  We can say to ourselves, “that is just a thought.”

Third, we can then let the thought go and focus on the present moment.  If find that if I focus on deep breathing for a minute, my mind shifts away from the negative thought.

Russ Harris MD, in his book The Happiness Trap, encourages us to evaluate our thoughts in terms of helpfulness and unhelpfulness.  When you have awareness of a thought ask yourself “is this helpful?” If it is you can dwell on it, if it’s not, you let it go.

But what if the thought is true?  When I was obese I often had the thought “I’m fat and out of shape”.  That was true, but was it helpful? No!  Russ Harris encourages us to think, “Oh, there’s that thought I have about being fat.” Acknowledge it and let it go, because it’s not helpful.

Here are some helpful resources I’ve found for living a more mindful and engaging life:

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris, MD

A New Earth by Ekhart Tolle

Slow Down to the Speed of Life by Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey

Don’t forget to listen to a more comprehensive explanation of this topic by clicking on the audio above. You can also listen to this via my podcast, 5Percenters, on iTunes.

 

 

 

 

The Transformative Power of Gratitude

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Gratitude can change your life

Research by Robert Emmons and Michael McCullough has found that people who develop the habit of practicing gratitude are psychologically, emotionally, and physically healthier than those that don’t.

Those that practice gratitude benefit in some of the following ways:

  • Feel better about their lives as a whole
  • Experience greater levels of joy and happiness
  • Get sick less often
  • Feel stronger during trying times
  • Enjoy closer family ties

Gratitude is a practice, a skill we can develop to create greater awareness of what we can be thankful for. I know that when I feel discouraged, left out, or unsuccessful it’s often because my thinking has become negative.  When I stop and work to think of all that I have to be grateful for, my mood improves and I feel better about life.

Here are a couple of articles I found online that summarize the research.

Cultivate the Healing Power of Gratitude

How Gratitude Can Change Your Life

Also, two great reads that have been influential in my life this year that relate to this topic.

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris and Steven Hayes

Slow Down to the Speed of Life by Richard Carlson and Joe Bailey

 

Take a few minutes each day to practice the transformative power of gratitude