Monday, 11 July 2011

How Your Mind Works

You may already know that your thinking determines the quality of your life.

Why is this and how does it work?

When we have a negative thought pattern such as 'I am not good enough / not loved enough / not confident enough' these thoughts are converted into anxiety because our minds do not distinguish between what we think and what is real.

There are two main ways in which we create negative thought patterns - Negative Introspection about the past and Negative Forecasting about the future.

For example - 'I shouldn't have said x / should have said y / shouldn't have done z' or 'I won't be able to do x' or 'I won't feel comfortable doing y' or 'I am dreading doing z'.

When our anxiety goes up a number of things happen.

Our serotonin levels drop - the neurotransmitter responsible for us feeling happy and coping - as well as our noradrenalin levels - the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation.

Does this sound familiar at all? When did you last feel anxious or demotivated and what triggered this?

When our anxiety levels go up our intellectual control and our ability to function rationally as an adult goes down.

When our intellectual control goes down our subconscious / unconscious / emotional mind takes over and - according to experts - this part of our mind has the intellectual age of a seven-year-old.

Our subconscious mind always responds with three primitive response patterns which we have inherited from our ancestors - anger, anxiety and depression - and sometimes two or more of these.

Symptoms vary greatly and include stress, low self-esteem, feeling low and self-medicating for example with alcohol.

Our subconscious mind is vigilent, not innovative and always looks at things from a negative viewpoint - looking for the reasons why not to do something so when we are in the 'negative loop' we will not be fed solutions - rather we will we fed all the reasons to justify the initial negative thought.

Most of us do not want to live our lives out as a seven-year-old particularly as at that age we are not great at solving adult problems.

Clearly the key is to challenge the negative thoughts which arise in the first place - even if there are compelling reasons for thinking that way - because the route is always to end up in an emotional childish place.

We need to catch the negative thought consciously - thinking about it or saying it out loud or writing it down.

Next we need to challenge the negtaive thought - is this helpful? The answer is always 'No'.

Then we need to change the negative thought into something more positive - even if it is a challenging belief to come to terms with.

When we have a positive perspective we stay calm and in intellectual control - there is no need for the emotional mind to step in.

The reward for persevering with this technique is a better functioning mind able to find life relatively easy and having a better quality of life.

Please let me know how you get on by leaving a comment or by getting in touch via my website at West of England Coaching and Counselling.

1 comment:

  1. You explained the process very accurately.