The Proven Way To Make Wise Choices

The Proven Way To Make Wise Choices

Think back to the last time you had a problem.

Can you think of something?

My guess is the answer is… ‘yes’.

My second guess is, you didn’t have to think too far back.

If you’re like most humans, you’re probably sitting reading this with your own over-flowing problem bucket.

We’re so damn good at problems.

And by that I mean having them, not solving them.

As a therapist and coach, people come to see me when they have problems.  This could be a relationship question, a personal crisis, a business dilemma, a health issue, or a loss.  Other times there’s just a vague notion that something’s up. The light of life has grown dim, they’re wandering aimlessly with a gnawing sense of ‘something ain’t right here but I don’t know what it is’.

The good thing is…my job is to get them past that problem.  But more than that, to make sure they don’t stumble so much when something buggers them up in future.

Now anyone who’s in the field of psychology, mentoring or coaching, know something important about problems.  And that is…

The problem or dilemma, in large part, is solved (or not) by the types of questions we ask. 

That means both the questions we ask as therapists and coaches, and also the questions we ask ourselves when we have a crisis or issue to solve.

So, before we explore what that means, I’ll set you a little challenge.

Here are a few real-life problem scenarios that clients have presented.  Just take a moment to read through them and take note of the types of questions these people were asking themselves.

Ok here we go…

  1. Daniel – is ambitious, energetic, talented at his job as a business consultant.  For the last 2 years he’s tried to grow his client base.  He’s failing.  Daniel comes to me at the point of giving up.  He’s scared.  He tells me his story of how the future looks, how he’ll have to go back to work he hates, how he’ll have to sell his home, how him and his wife are going to divorce because of the financial pressures. He’s asking himself, ‘Why can’t I make it, like all those other successful people…why am I such a loser?’.
  2. Renee – is savvy, kind and a mum of 2 teenagers. For the last few years she’s found parenting a ‘nightmare’.  Her kids don’t listen, she gets into scream-fests with them.  She finds herself hating them.  She wants to run away.  She’s filled with shame and guilt about being a rubbish mother – just like her own mum.  She’s asking, ‘What the hell is wrong with me, that I don’t even like my own kids?’.
  3. Georgia – has it all! A luxurious life, high-flying career, friends, good looks and creativity.  She tells me she’s stressed and needs a ‘life-style’ balance.  She tells me she wants to stop drinking so much, she wants to stop lying awake at night worrying, she wants to stop feeling lonely.    She’s asking, ‘Why am I so miserable, when I have so much?’.

Now, without doubt, they’re all in a bit of a mess.  The problems they have are real.

But did you spot the issue with their questions?

If so, you’ll have noticed they’re the types of questions we ask ourselves all the time when we hit some bother.  It’s standard to get caught up in asking questions relating to the problem we’re facing.  Questions like, ‘Why do I have this problem?’, ‘Why am I miserable/anxious/depressed?’, ‘What’s wrong with me?’.

BUT… they’re the wrong questions.

The questions they’re asking are not on the level where the solution lives.

Albert Einstein recognised this, when he told us… 

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’

Research in neuroscience shows that if we ask a problem-focused questions, we get problem-focused answers.

Questions such as ‘why am I so miserable’, will have the brain running around gathering up all the data about misery.

Now, this can bring insight and it’s useful for someone in a trouble-shooting sense.  As humans we have a need to understand ourselves and why we feel and behave in certain ways.

But focusing on the problem too long, just keeps the brain wiring-In the problem over and over and then we wallow and remain miles away from the solution to the damn thing.

And I’m not talking about life ‘situations’.  If our loved-one dies, or we get sick, or we lose our job…these are situations and events that need time for healing and repairing.

What I’m talking about are persistent problems that don’t seem to be getting resolved.  That means grief that’s never-ending.  Illness made worse by worry.  Job-loss that has us paralyzed with depression and anxiety.  Bad habits that have us bound in gloom.  Relationships that suck.

THOSE types of problems.

Research in cognitive psychology shows that if 100 people have the exact same problem, background and biochemistry, they won’t all react in the same way when their world shatters.

Some will thrive and rise stronger after a crisis.  Others will falter and fail to get over it.  Some can’t even bear to stay alive.

And what we really want to know is…why?

What are the processes that the thrivers and survivors use to get unstuck and flourish in the face of adversity?

Well there are hundreds of strategies that can be used.  And in order to embrace a fresh perspective and get out of the doldrums, the first thing we can do is back up from the problem.  Because the mind that’s creating the problem is not the one that has the solution.

Statements such as ‘I hate my life’ or ‘I don’t want this’, are normal as a starting point for change. But they should act as signals that trigger something new.  They’re NOT a place to dwell.

One important piece of research might help give us insight.

Igor Grossmann, of the University of Waterloo, carried out experiments in relation to problem-solving.  The name of the study was…

Exploring Solomon’s Paradox

For those that don’t know, King Solomon is the biblical figure known to give wise counsel.  But, apparently his own life was a bit of a shambles!  What he could dish out to others, he seemed unable to apply to his own life.  Taking that as context, Grossmann formed the hypothesis for his experiment.

Grossmann wanted to test if people were wiser when they solved other peoples’ dilemmas rather than their own.

He also tested to see whether viewing your own problems, as if you were looking down on yourself in the third person, would give better answers…rather than trying to solve it from an ego-centric perspective.

He found this was indeed the case.

He asked those in romantic relationships a series of questions related to being cheated on and betrayed by their lover.

The questions included things like:

  • Do you need more information and context to really understand this situation?
  • Is it important to you to look for a compromise?
  • How much do you consider others’ perspectives on the event?
  • How many different futures can you imagine?

The findings showed a higher level of emotional intelligence and wisdom by those who imagined it was a friend who had the problem, rather than themselves.

This has stunningly important implications for how we go about asking the right questions, in the right way.

It indicates that psychological distancing can lead us to make better decisions and solve problems more quickly and wisely.

If we want to see how this works in real life, we can look at an example.

Let’s take Georgia from the above list of clients who presented problems.

Instead of asking Georgia directly what she thinks the solution to her misery is, I ask her, ‘Imagine your friend has this problem.  What needs to happen for her to get out of misery?’

Georgia tells me, ‘She needs to stop dwelling on what she doesn’t have and appreciate what she does have.  She could be more pro-active at finding a relationship.  If she stopped drinking, she’d have more clarity, focus and energy’.

And the list goes on.

When Georgia takes herself out of the equation, she knows the answers.

It also worked when Georgia imagined herself floating up and observing herself and asking the questions from a third person perspective.  So, I ask her, ‘Does Georgia need any more information to really understand her problem?’.  ‘What are Georgia’s options for moving forward?’. 

She showed a high level of emotional intelligence and creativity, when she viewed her problems objectively and got out of her own head.

Before I share a list of things you can do to find your own answers…I have a free gift for you…

 

So, here’s a list of things we can do when faced with a persistent or important life dilemma:

  1. Get the problems out of the head and into the open. Whether that’s writing it all out or talking it through with someone, clarity is key.  Now at this point you might want to scream and wail…and you should.  It’s important to acknowledge and release stress, pain and frustration.  In order for the wiser part to step in, the distressed part of yourself needs to express its fears, or it will likely shut down the process and tell you, this is all a stupd idea.
  2. Trouble-shoot each problem to see what can be done. Ask questions from the third-person or as if you’re talking to a friend.
  3. Write out wise solutions that pop up and avoid letting the distressed part hijack the process, (e.g. getting distracted, saying it’s pointless, telling you this is NOT helping).
  4. Commit to avoiding problem-focused questions in favour of solution-focused ones.
  5. Be on guard for setbacks. The brain is used to defaulting to old patterns of churning the problem.  When you notice it…. stop.    Switch tracks.  Repeat until the brain catches up with the new way of doing things.

At this point you might be thinking, ‘Well Linda, you clearly don’t understand how bad MY problem is’.

And I get it.  It always feels like OUR problem is worse, different, bigger, tragic.

But we only ever have two choices…

Give our power to the problem.  Or give our power to the solution.

And they ARE choices.

Sometimes, it doesn’t feel that way.  Sometimes, the mind whips us into a frenzy.  When that happens we now have the problem, coupled with painful thoughts, emotions and self-defeating behaviours.

And here are just some of the little thoughts that tie us up…

  • I’m devastated, I actually can’t cope.
  • The universe hates me, I must have done something terrible in a past life to deserve this.
  • It’s the end of the road for me. I can’t stand it. I’ll die lonely and alone.
  • I’ll never get over it/him/her.
  • I’m going to end up a failure, a starving bag-lady, disowned by my children, old and sick, ugly and unloved, fat and worthless, unacknowledged and forgotten.

Then we wonder why we end up anxious, depressed and for some…suicidal.

And it’s not all to do with the problem. It’s to do with the faulty thinking about the problem.

And thank goodness we have a choice about our own thoughts.  With practice, we can recognise how we’re sabotaging our chances of turning everything around.

Statistics show that those who are resilient and bounce back quickly do some of the following:

Get humble – and recongise that the world doesn’t spin around their desires

Cease fantasizing – that if they keep head-butting a brick wall, it’ll magically disappear

Quit demanding – that the world and everyone in it changes

Stop the drama – of playing the problem over with a large dash of catastrophic thinking and mind-movies that are hellish

Become Intolerant – Of any thoughts, beliefs and behaviours that are self-defeating.  Laying down values to live by, owning their circle of control, being single minded in the pursuit of self-growth and empowerment

Get solution-oriented – If the problem is a ‘dilemma’, then it’s a matter or working through the pros and cons and seeing where the sticking point is.  If the problem is a ‘loss’ then it’s a matter of nurture and support until grief and healing takes its course.  If the problem is strategic, then it’s a matter of getting steps in place to overcome the hurdle and get to the goal.

Get REAL – And work in terms of the Serenity Prayer, where they ask their higher-self or their God to, ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference’.

 

So, the next time your life turns into a nightmare…

Look to see what’s real and what’s not.  Look to see what you can and can’t do about it.

Have deep compassion for the part of you that’s devastated. We don’t want to be in denial about pain, we want to acknowledge it and listen to our inner fears.  BUT, then we have to take charge and not let that part try to solve the problem. Remember the solution is on a different level to the hurt and fear.

 

And it’s not easy.  It’s a ‘Hero’s Journey’.

The gauntlet you’re being called to pick up, is a means of transformation.

If you don’t pick it up, it’s going to trip you up over and over again. It’s lying there on the ground and you’re not going to get anywhere having a staring contest with it.

Now it’s possible that at this point in time, it’s just too heavy to lift.  You can’t do it. Your life is in bits. If you’re in the middle of a crisis, you feel like the gauntlet can go eff itself.

You don’t want transformation.

You don’t want to do the work.

What you want is peace!

And that’s normal.

We all want things change ‘out there’, because it’s so much easier than changing ourselves.

So, we might have to start slowly. We have to commit to removing problem-related thoughts one by one.

We get quiet.  We stop resisting.  We stop magnifying the issue.

And most importantly of all, we don’t let our mind run off in all directions, bringing back more misery and pain to add to an already shit situation.  Instead, we send it off to look for solutions. It’s brilliant at its job, it’ll always finds what we ask it for.

Be patient.  Be persistent.  Be relentless.

Because putting our minds to work FOR us, is the only real power we’ll ever possess.

When we accept the challenge, we’re going to face life with courage and we’re going to overcome that problem we thought would be the end of us.

And we can start by getting out of our own way.  We can start engaging with our own inner, wiser, King Solomon.

This is the secret weapon that makes the difference between those who continue to flounder and those who flourish.

To your success.

Linda B x

 

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

MASTER YOUR MENTAL MELTDOWNS

MASTER YOUR MENTAL MELTDOWNS

The other day I was standing in a shop queue, when a woman barged past me and put her groceries on the conveyor.

Yes!  There I was already feeling frazzled and this rude woman turfs up taking liberties.

In my head I called her a name, which I won’t repeat.  But anyway, I was irritated!

And I was tempted to cause a little scene about it.

But just that morning, before I’d set off to the supermarket, I’d been reading about a fascinating experiment, relating to emotional control.  So, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to do a little timely testing.

The experiment I’m talking about was carried out at UCLA with spider phobics, which isn’t quite the same as wanting to murder a shopper, but hey, bear with me, there’s a connection.

During this university experiment, 4 groups of people who suffered from a spider phobia, were told to do different things in relation to moving closer to a spider.

Each group were given the following distinct instructions:

Group 1 – Were told to label the feelings about the spider situation, e.g. I’m feeling terrified right now.

Group 2 – Were told to think differently about the spider so that it feels less threatening, e.g. The spider can’t hurt me.

Group 3 – Were told to distract from the anxiety about by the spider, e.g. Think about being on a nice beach.

Group 4 – Were given no specific instruction, e.g. Just move towards the spider and see what happens.

When participants were brought back for second trials, they found that one of those groups had less physiological responses and emotional distress when re-exposed to the spider.

That group was….Group 1…those who had labelled their emotions.

Now that’s an interesting experiment isn’t it?

Just the simple process of naming the fear, lessened the grip it had on the individuals using that process.

Now I suppose the question we all want to ask at this point is…

Can it help us in every day situations, when our emotional buttons are pushed?

 

 

 

 

Because if it worked to alleviate fear in relation to spiders, then can it work with other emotions in other situations?

Well, going back to the rude woman in the shop and me with my raised blood pressure and murderous ruminations, I wanted to see if labelling my feelings, would help stop my agitation.

So, I tried it out.

The first thing I did was take a deep breath and whisper to myself, ‘I’m feeling frustrated.’ As soon as I said that, I felt the sensations in my body and tuned into the physical manifestation of anger.

And, very quickly, I did notice a marked change in my feelings.  I managed to calm myself down significantly.  I also stopped  playing the scenario over in my head, like we tend to do when provoked.

Impressed with my results,  I tried the labelling experiment out several more times, in different scenarios.  For example, When I was afraid, when I was sad, when I was gloomy.

And it definitely seemed to help.

I kind of got over myself more quickly. 

So….below are some steps you can take when you want to try out the experiment for yourself, and start taking charge when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

1. If the feeling is obvious, then just say it out loud (where possible).  That might sound something like this:

‘I’m feeling hurt right now’

‘I’m feeling rage’

‘I’m feeling depressed right now’

‘I’m feeling terrified about this’

‘I’m feeling guilty right now’

‘Right now I’m feeling so ashamed’

Whatever it is, name it and bring it right out into the open.

2. Feel into the sensations of the body. You might notice your hands clenching, a tight jaw, a gnawing in the stomach, sweating palms, shaking, shoulder, chest or stomach pains.   Maybe you have a heavy feeling in the pit of your stomach, a sinking feeling, or tears stinging your eyes.

Name the symptoms out loud, so they are in your conscious awareness.

e.g. ‘My chest is tight’, ‘My legs are shaking’, ‘My head is throbbing’, ‘I feel a sinking sensation in my stomach’.

3. Try zooming in on thoughts you’re thinking and the story you’re telling yourself in the moment.

Are you thinking guilty thoughts, shameful thoughts, hopeless thoughts, fearful thoughts, angry thoughts?

Research in cognitive and behavioural science shows that our thoughts cause our feelings.  We can often identify the emotion by turning to the internal ‘story’ we have running (often subconsciously).

For example.  Going back to the rude shopper, I might have been telling myself any of the following thoughts about that scenario.  Thoughts such as…

‘Why did she do that, she’s so disrespectful’ (anger)

‘There must be something wrong with me, because people always treat me like this’ (shame or hurt)

‘It seems I’m always going to be somebody’s mug. It’s hopeless trying to change things’ (depression)

‘I can’t stand the thought of having to confront her’ (fear)

‘She’s obviously someone important, I wish I was like her’ (envy) 

Name your thoughts and emotions out loud

Often when you do this, you can see how wonky some of the thinking is.

For example, if your hot date cancels on you, instead of sinking into negativity, say out loud what you’re thinking…maybe it’s something like… ‘I’m thinking right now, that he/she is a disrespectful idiot who has no regard for me. (Anger provoking thoughts).   Or ‘I’m thinking right now that there must be something wrong with me because I keep getting rejected’. (Hurt and shame provoking thoughts).

This psychological distancing allows us to separate ourselves from the automatic thinking and stops us going down a ‘woe is me alley’.

It can take a while to drop the drama story, because we’re conditioned to process negativity using old patterns.

What we are unaware of continues to control us.  So, raising awareness of our thoughts and feelings in the present moment, can prevent them being subconscious and destructive.

And we can set ourselves free.

Now, the question is…do you think this ‘labelling’ process will help when YOUR emotions are provoked?

The only way to find out is to give it a try.

The next time you experience a strong negative emotion, see if the ‘name it to tame it’ mind- hack can help you ease the stress and pain.

Instead of getting carried away by fear, depression or hurt…switch instead to ‘labelling’ the emotion you’re feeling, the body sensations and the thoughts you’re thinking.

And as an additional benefit, if you have a phobia of spiders or any other object, animal or situation…then you now know what to do!

To your success.

Linda B x

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

HYPNOTISED: How To Snap Out Of The Anxiety Trance

HYPNOTISED: How To Snap Out Of The Anxiety Trance

No matter how much we want to be happy and productive, we can behave in ways we don’t like. 

We get into moods that hold us hostage for days, weeks or months. 

We get dragged around by fear. 

Anger pops in unexpectedly and messes stuff up. 

Misery turfs up, acting like it owns the joint.  

We find ourselves replaying old stories and depressing ourselves.  Then we think about the future and worry becomes our bestie.

It’s only when pure overwhelm hits that we seem to stop and ask the all-important question, ‘why?’. 

Why do we seem to have so little control over our emotions and behaviour?  And more importantly, is there anything we can do to snap out of the trance and start directing our lives?

Well…there is a practice that’s increasingly being held up, as a 21st century cure for our blind spots.

It seems that our answer lies in staying in the present moment, so we can catch our thoughts and behaviours as they happen.  That way, we become more aware and can start to transform them.

That practice is…mindfulness.

We’re told that…

You cannot change the past because it’s gone, the future has not arrived…we should live in the present, as that’s where we exist.’

Perfect.  Sounds like fantastic advice.

Unfortunately, we seem to be wired to live anywhere EXCEPT the present moment. 

Because, our more unconscious survival brain, that also runs a lot of the self-defeating programs…likes to operate on auto-pilot.

It doesn’t want us getting all fancy and conscious. 

It likes things to stay the same.  It loves the past and future, because it uses them to make all its decisions, which are based on keeping us safe.  

Now…this auto-brain does serve an important function.  It lets us multi-task, perform daily habits like washing, dressing and driving, without too much conscious effort. It helps us jump out the way of traffic.

In doing this, auto-brain has our back.  

  

So, What’s The Problem Here?

The problem is…this survival brain is also a trouble-seeking little time traveller.

When we try to take risks, or get happy, or find love, or change habits…auto-brain says, ‘Woah…you can’t do that, because got hurt before doing that’. Or… ‘Woah, you can’t risk that, because what if the sky falls down?’.

Even if we try to over-ride it, it can’t be reasoned with.  It’s stronger than our conscious intentions.  5 times stronger, according to Steve Peters, author of The Chimp Paradox.

That means, it consistently wins the fight when it comes to our choices about behaviours, habits and moods.

It runs to the past to look for ‘historical’ data to inform our present choices.  It likes consistency, patterns, predictions, even if they make us miserable… (Hello hurt, anger and depression). Then it likes to fast forward into the future to look for danger…which it always seems to find. (Hello anxiety).

And because it’s out of our awareness, it keeps us locked into auto-mode and we forget to come out. We bumble along making routine choices and don’t have a clue we’re doing it.   

We become hypnotised in all the wrong directions; bad habits, emotions rooted in the past and self-defeating thought patterns.

That part of the brain that protects us from danger, also keeps us shackled.

Its only task is to ride this past/future shuttle looking for the best behaviours to stop pain and seek pleasure. And by pain, that includes effort to change habits and patterns, even if the same old feelings and behaviours will make our life suck.

So, if we’re going to stop all this time travelling and make different choices as evolved humans, then…

  

What are we going to do with auto-brain?

Well for a start we have the ability to wake up...because… 

As much as we have this auto-brain, as humans, we also have the capacity for exquisite self-awareness.

And this is where mindfulness becomes useful.

Mindfulness allows us to momentarily, snap out of our trance and zoom our attention down on our inner world and also to zoom out to details in the environment. This is how we can become more grounded in the ever elusive ‘present moment’.

Just so we’re clear on what mindfulness is…here’s a definition….

 

 “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.”

 Jon Kabat-Zinn.

 

Kabat-Zinn, known for his work as a writer, scientist and meditation teacher, is credited with popularising Mindfulness in the western world. He states that paying attention, on purpose, in a particular way, means watching our thoughts, feelings and sensations intently and allowing them to happen without judging them OR trying to change them in the first instance.   

Research by Jon Kabat-Zinn, shows that mindfulness has a profound effect on decreasing stress and other physical and psychological problems.  And that sounds like something worth exploring.

 

So, where do we start?

To become a creator of our own reality, our future, our happiness, we need to figure out how to PAY ATTENTION.

We need to realise where we’re trapped and get more curious about our internal world.  When we do this, we shine a light on what’s really going on.  Because the programs we’re running today, whether we’re aware of them or not…. are creating our future.  The future we don’t want, if it includes fear, shame, guilt, depression and destructive behaviours.

But being mindful is a skill that tends to be underdeveloped, because auto-pilot makes us forget to use it. (hypnotised…remember?).

And this is tricky.  Because as the writer George Orwell points out…

 

 “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs constant struggle.

 

Becoming mindful is not a linear path of progression.  It’s not even a spiral upwards. If anything, it’s a big scribble, going in all directions, with a line that rises over time. 

What it takes is practice.  Which we don’t like.

Because…practice..

Yuck…(says auto-brain).

We don’t want practice when we’re stuck in a funk. We want magic.  We want easy.  We want FAST!  

But the question we need to ask ourselves is, ‘Am I willing to do what it takes to get out this hole and into a life I want to live?’. 

And if the answer is yes, then it means finding strategies and processes that will help us ‘rewire’ our brain to respond differently.  That means changing some of our beliefs about ourselves and the world.  It means becoming more aware of our current conditioning.

 

And that’s where mindfulness comes in…

Because when we’re in a bit of emotional trouble, then knowledge is power.

If we can begin having moments in our day where we snap out of auto-pilot and become the observer of our mental functioning, then we are no longer blindly following the old, embedded stories. 

Now we have some distance and some clarity that can start the untangling process.

Mindfulness of our thoughts, feelings and reactions can free us from patterns that are keeping us stuck and miserable.  

The psychologist, Carl Jung, wrote of his revelatory dream about the importance of conscious awareness…

 

“It was night in some unknown place, and I was making slow and painful headway against a mighty wind.            Dense fog was flying along everywhere

 I had my hands cupped around a tiny light which threatened to go out at any moment. Everything depended on my keeping this little light alive. Suddenly I had the feeling that something was coming up behind. I looked back, and saw a gigantic black figure following me. But at the same moment I was conscious, in spite of my terror, that I must keep my little light going through night and wind, regardless of all dangers… I knew, too, that this little light was my consciousness, the only light I have.”.

                                                             (Memories, Dreams, Reflections).

 

We all have our own ‘tiny light’ to guide us through struggles we face, when trying to leave the past, stay present and design a future worth living.

That light is mindful awareness.

It takes a certain amount of repetition and focus to ‘reprogram’ your auto responses.  But it’s very possible.

If you want 5 powerful and quick processes to start managing your mind and emotions, then grab my free guide ‘Heal Your Anxious Mind: 5 mindful processes that help you release your past, recover your present and re-invent your future’.  

You can download it below….

 

 

 What to do next...

Use the processes in the free guide above.  Start tuning into your thoughts.  Start watching your responses and reactions.  If you have a strong emotional response to a situation, look for the beliefs behind the feelings.  Refuse to get caught in your own mental stories.  Become the observer instead.  Make a note of what you observe and over time, you’ll raise awareness of where you’re getting caught up. 

Once you’re clearly aware of the current programs, you can start transforming them.  Even a ‘tiny light’ can work wonders, to release you from the loop.

I’m not saying it’s the only thing to do.  You may need help processing whatever arises.  But at least it’s out in the open, where you can deal with it. 

What’s more, you’ll increase your ability to choose your thoughts, feelings and behaviours more often…because you ‘catch’ them before they drag you into a drama story.

Then you’ll be increasingly free to change tracks and make new, life-enhancing choices.

Embracing mindfulness will allow you to develop self-knowledge and begin the process of  building yourself a more consciously crafted (better) future…right here…in the present moment.  The only place you ever are.

To Your Success.

Linda B x

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

Social Media: How To Manage Haters & Keep Your Cool

Social Media: How To Manage Haters & Keep Your Cool

 

Jane is a food blogger.  A few days ago, she posted a recipe for ‘sugar free muffins’.  72 negative comments later, Jane got her blogging head blown off.

Apparently, a lot of readers, didn’t take too kindly to her preaching the evils of sugar.

Let’s take that in.

Seventy. Two. Negative. Comments. About. Muffins.

People were losing their minds.  Apparently, they were ‘very concerned’ about who the hell this Jane thought she was, telling them what to feed their kids.

Now to be fair, Jane did have a strong opinion.  And she was a little annoying.  But I kind of admired her ‘take no prisoners’ approach.  She was trying to sell something, decided to take a stand and put her neck on the line to express her beliefs.

But then Jane got all squirrely and started hitting back at her critics, cussing at folk.  Jane was of the opinion that ‘it was her f*cking right to have her own beliefs. Then Martha called Jane a ‘bitch’ and it all ended in a big muffin fight.

Nevertheless, minus the crazy stuff, I think Jane had the right idea.

Because if we want to build a career or business, then having a voice and a point of view online is essential.  We can’t hide behind a polite social mask trying not to upset anyone.

 

Visibility is a 21st century necessity, which means

…risking judgement, criticism, confrontation and a degree of fear.

Public scrutiny isn’t something people are prepared for. Just a decade ago, only those with high profile careers were open to wider judgement.  Nowadays, Jane and her muffins are in the firing line.

It’s scary stuff. 

When we step out of our comfort zone, we can unleash hidden fears of rejection, abuse, humiliation and shame.  

Recent statistics show that over 15 million adults in the US suffer from a full blown Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).  Add to that the rest of the world and the those with mild to moderate social acceptance fears…and we have a problem.

And we don’t need a full blown disorder to have some pretty intense reactions to being scrutinised. 

Social Pressures

Many people hide away, because they can’t stand the social pressures.

They hate the hustle.  They can’t stand the critics.  The judgements terrify them.  A lot of them quit their dreams.

But that isn’t the easier road.  The social media situation is just a mirror reflecting our deeper insecurities.  If we don’t decide to use it as a tool for transformation, then we’re missing a trick.  We’ll carry that burden around and hide our light under a bush.

And hell NO, to that.

Because life means consistently showing up and thriving in both personal and professional relationships.

We need to fight the good fight (with ourselves), because no matter the devastation, disappointment, frustration or self-doubt…the show must go on.

It MUST GO ON.

Because the world needs our work (and our sugar free muffins)… so we need to find a way through the social swamp.

So what can we do?

Firstly, we can recognise that we’re being triggered, so we can own it. If we can take responsibility for our reactions, we have a chance of staying graceful in our behaviour and stop self-doubt creeping in.

And for sure, it creeps in.

Because trying to play bigger in the world, means our insecurities are poked daily.

Our only option is to look to ourselves and start asking why we care so much. 

We have to find ways of minimising the impact it’s having on us.

That means recognising what’s in and out of our control, so we can make a plan to cope.

There’s a branch of psychology known as ‘Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and the research here has shown…

‘We’re not disturbed by things, but by our beliefs about things‘.

Which means…we’re really upsetting ourselves.

No-one out there can provoke our emotions to the extent we have a meltdown.

And If it’s not ‘things’ out there that upset us, then…

Where do we start turning things around?

Well we have to look at our beliefs. We need to investigate what meaning we’re attaching to the judgement of others.

If you want to ditch fear, stop approval seeking and get confident, then download the free guide and learn the 5 steps to taking control of your own troubling emotions and responses!

If you want to ditch fear, stop approval seeking and get confident, then download the free guide and learn the 5 steps to taking control of your own troubling emotions and responses!

Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy, doesn’t promote ‘positive thinking’.  It promotes ‘reality thinking’.

It allows for the fact that we are naturally going to feel negative about a negative situation.  However, it draws the line at disturbing ourselves unnecessarily.

It clearly outlines  two types of negative thinking.  One is healthy and rational, the other is unhealthy and irrational.

So, in a nutshell…

1. Irrational beliefs lead us to feel unhealthy negative emotions, and carry out unhealthy behaviours.

2. Rational beliefs lead us to feel healthy negative emotions and carry out healthy behaviours.

So both are negative and yet one is a healthy response and the other not.  How so?

Well let’s take Jane’s muffin incident as an example.  When Jane was criticized, she got into unhealthy anger and behaved in unhealthy ways that caused her some chaos.

In REBT we would help Jane recognise that she’s experiencing a very painful emotion because of her irrational thinking, not because of her critics. We’d also work through the consequences of her behaviours, which she needs to address if she wants to develop good on-line relationships.

So we’d look to help her move from irrational to rational thinking…which involves getting from the unheathy beliefs, emotions and behaviours to the healthy beliefs, emotions and behaviours…in response to this negative situation. 

 See if you’ve directly or indirectly experienced any of the following types of reactions…

 A. Irrational

(Not based on reality)

B. Rational

(Based on reality)

Possible Irrational Beliefs –  So Jane’s in a tizz.  In order to get into that tizz, she has to have attributed meaning to what happened.  The following is example thinking that would lead to her disturbing herself…

‘How dare they say that about my muffins’.  ‘I hate those people; they are out of order’.  ‘I can’t stand it when people do that.’   ‘I can’t stand this’.  ‘It’s not fair’. ‘I won’t stand for it’ ‘I’ll show them!’. ‘They’re all mean people’. ‘I’ll get my own back on them’. This is awful. I QUIT!

This type of thinking is irrational because, 1. It’s out of proportion to the situation. 2. Jane CAN stand it, she’s being overly dramatic  3. The audience are not mean, although their behaviour might have been mean.  4. There’s no fairness fairy in the sky, handing out fairness.  There’s only life being life. 5. Thoughts of revenge, anger, upset and quitting, is self-defeating and pointless as it hurts Jane, it doesn’t hurt the haters. Plus, she doesn’t reflect on her own behaviour so no change can happen.

It’s this type of thinking that leads to….

Unhealthy Anger

Jane’s interpretation is causing her to disturb herself…leading to unhealthy anger and possibly fear, which in turn leads to….

Unhealthy and irrational behaviours – Jane got defensive, started confronting people.  She got into arguments and lost self-control.  Depending on her nature, she might get more opinionated or she might withdraw and give up, because she fears another incident.  She might seek a ‘revenge of the muffins’ attack on her critics.  She might never bake another muffin again, telling herself her ideas suck.

Possible rational beliefs –  So, let’s compare the irrational beliefs to something that’s more reasonable and rational.  The following is example thinking that would lead to Jane being upset but not unduly disturbed…

‘It’s challenging, but I’ll cope.’ ‘I can do this, I‘m strong enough to face this (even though I don’t like it).’ ‘This is more about them than it is about me.’ ‘I do think they’re being quite rude and that’s upsetting, but maybe I was too opinionated, and I can tone it down a bit.’ 

This type of thinking is rational because 1. It’s in proportion to the situation. 2. Jane recognises it’s uncomfortable, but tolerable, she dosen’t do drama!  3. Jane sees the big picture and sees that it might be about the other peoples’ attitudes, but she doesn’t get into blaming.  4.  She doesn’t expect some magic fairness to occur, she accepts the situation for what it is.  She checks herself to see if she was inappropriate and uses the situation to self-reflect and see if she needs to change. 

It’s this type of thinking leads to…

Healthy Anger/Upset

Janes interpretation will cause her to be appropriately upset without having a meltdown, which in turn leads to…

Healthy and rational behaviours – If Jane was in healthy fear and anger, she would have been irritated and concerned, which is a balanced response to a negative event. She might have ignored the negative comments, or remained polite, yet assertive.  Even if she does initially get upset, her rational approach, will allow her to return to emotional equilibrium quickly, so she can choose her responses. 

 A. Irrational

(Not based on reality)

Possible Irrational Beliefs –  So Jane’s in a tizz.  In order to get into that tizz, she has to have attributed meaning to what happened.  The following is example thinking that would lead to her disturbing herself…

‘How dare they say that about my muffins’.  ‘I hate those people; they are out of order’.  ‘I can’t stand it when people do that.’   ‘I can’t stand this’.  ‘It’s not fair’. ‘I won’t stand for it’ ‘I’ll show them!’. ‘They’re all mean people’. ‘I’ll get my own back on them’. This is awful. I QUIT!

This type of thinking is irrational because, 1. It’s out of proportion to the situation. 2. Jane CAN stand it, she’s being overly dramatic  3. The audience are not mean, although their behaviour might have been mean.  4. There’s no fairness fairy in the sky, handing out fairness.  There’s only life being life. 5. Thoughts of revenge, anger, upset and quitting, is self-defeating and pointless as it hurts Jane, it doesn’t hurt the haters. Plus, she doesn’t reflect on her own behaviour so no change can happen.

It’s this type of thinking that leads to….

Unhealthy Anger

Jane’s interpretation is causing her to disturb herself…leading to unhealthy anger and possibly fear, which in turn leads to….

Unhealthy and irrational behaviours – Jane got defensive, started confronting people.  She got into arguments and lost self-control.  Depending on her nature, she might get more opinionated or she might withdraw and give up, because she fears another incident.  She might seek a ‘revenge of the muffins’ attack on her critics.  She might never bake another muffin again, telling herself her ideas suck.

B. Rational

(Based on reality)

Possible rational beliefs –  So, let’s compare the irrational beliefs to something that’s more reasonable and rational.  That might sound something like this…

 ‘It’s challenging, but I’ll cope.’ ‘I can do this, I‘m strong enough to face this (even though I don’t like it).’ ‘This is more about them than it is about me.’ ‘I do think they’re being quite rude and that’s upsetting, but maybe I was too opinionated, and I can tone it down a bit.’ 

This type of thinking is rational because 1. It’s in proportion to the situation. 2. Jane recognises it’s uncomfortable, but tolerable.  3. Jane sees the big picture and sees that it might be about the other peoples’ attitudes.  4.  She checks herself to see if she was inappropriate and uses the situation to self-reflect and see if she needs to change. 

It’s this type of thinking leads to…

Healthy Anger (probably milder irritation/concern/disappointment)

Janes interpretation will cause her to be appropriately upset without having a meltdown, which in turn leads to…

Healthy and rational behaviours – If Jane was in healthy fear and anger, she would have been irritated and concerned, which is a balanced response to a negative event. She might have ignored the negative comments, or remained polite, yet assertive.

 

Rational/Reality Thinking Is Our Greatest Power!

So now if Jane is operating from the B. column of rational beliefs and healthy anger/irritation, she’ll get over it!  She won’t give up, keep ruminating about it, seek revenge, cause a scene or withdraw.

Instead, she can be notably concerned, but recognise it’s no big hairy deal.

When WE face similar judgement or find ourselves disturbed by a strong emotional reaction…we can do the same.  We can check to see if we’re in the rational or irrational camp and adjust our thinking in line with reality.

That’s one of the secrets of a sane and happy life. 

And it’s totally within our circle of control.

When life throws rocks, making the shift from unhealthy negative to healthy negative emotions comes by changing your thoughts, that’s where your power lies.

You don’t have to jump on the happy clappy train. You just need to check who’s in charge of your brain when the negative hits. Is it you…or your inner ‘drama lama/victim’?

 

Turning around negative momentum takes skill.

You can treat it like a 100 kph train, you might not stop this ingrained habit suddenly.  It has to be slowed down until it stops, then you get out, go to the other end and drive in another direction.

Just catch yourself when you’re triggered and turn in the right direction by replacing each thought with something that is in line with real life.

This strategy will help bring you more harmony, better relationships and more resilience, because you’ll stay strong when it gets tough.  And it’s just as important in helping you be successful in all areas of your life.

Check in, turn it around, get perspective and carry on.

To your success.

Linda B x

 

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

Linda Bebbington is a psychotherapist & life coach, specialising in wellness and anxiety issues.  She’s the creator of ‘Hypno-Fit’, ‘The Confidence Code’ and ‘Dear Therapist’…which help you take charge of your own life and happiness.

If you need help to heal or to build a bright & healthy future you can book a free 30 minute consultation HERE

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