Sunday, May 8, 2016

It Pays To Be Mindful About What You Think!

A point from my last post bears repeating: "Over a lifetime, the impact of some mental scripts on our emotional health and well-being can be telling and dramatic: lives haunted by mindsets generative of anxiety, depression and addiction or lives enriched by self-awareness and fertile for positivity and prosperity."

For many, but especially for women, commonplace scripts about how they should think and  behave overtax physical and emotional health, causing stress, health issues, bouts of depression and anxiety, and reduced quality of life.

These troublesome thought patterns are difficult to detect.  Our thoughts become so routine that they go unnoticed   Even if we become aware, we may view this thinking as  "normal" because it seems like the norm in the world around us. To avoid their life long tolls however, we need to root out the toxic scripts that vanquish us.  

Here are a few of the troublemakers:

Example 1: "I feel I must be a very good wife, mother, mother-in-law, daughter, daughter-in-law, partner, friend, worker, churchgoer, housekeeper, gardener, and did I mention, slim and trim?" You get the idea, I have to be good at everything, or I'm not good enough. 

The script has lots of variations, but the end result is the same: a life snared in pressure-driven overfunctioning to always be good enough.  Where did I come by the idea that I have to be so good at everything I do to feel good about myself?  More important, isn't there a better way for me?

Example 2  "I guess I am pretty hard on myself, but I have always been this way.  Aren't most people? Big trouble here. This kind of thinking not only strips away the well from well-being, it fuels self-alienation and insecurity whenever we come up a little short.  Resilience and self-esteem really suffer when we come down or ourselves. Take note that people who battle addiction and depression are known to be especially hard on themselves.  Being tough on ourselves is an option, not a requirement. We can choose other ways to accept or improve upon our limitations that don't jeopardize well-being.

Example 3.  "It really bothers me that she acted like that, but I really don't like to hurt someone's feelings, so I didn't say anything."  Yes, it is nice to be nice, but silencing ourselves to avoid trouble often causes more trouble.  We internalize our problems rather than deal with them.  Problems and resentments pile up. Scripts that muffle our voice also muffle happiness.  Assertiveness is a life skill well worth cultivating. 

Choose to follow scripts that safeguard your emotional health. We don't have to be perfect all the time; we don't have to be so hard on ourselves, and nice does not have to include forfeiting our voice. 
 Remember to stay tuned to #ThinkRightFeelRight for more useful #self-help

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