It will all be okay
Sometimes you just need someone, somewhere to tell you it will all be okay. When you feel lost and lonely, read this quote below – it’s one of my favourites.
We all have a tendency to use ‘confirmation bias’ to help us make sense of the world around us. Confirmation bias can lead to self fulfilling prophecies. Let me explain. Confirmation bias is the human tendency to look for evidence of our thinking. If we believe that, for example, all tennis players are arrogant, we will be looking out for examples and instances in life that confirm this belief rather than refute it. When we see anything related to a tennis player being arrogant, it makes us feel safe and gives us a sense of security that our beliefs and the way we see the world is accurate.
The problem with confirmation bias is that we tend to overlook/ignore evidence that contradicts our beliefs. In this way, our thinking can lead to self fulfilling prophecies. If we have a belief that we aren’t good in social situations, we will think about all the times we embarrassed ourselves in a social situation and this will reinforce our negative thinking. When we think and believe something, we tend to act in accordance with that belief. Our body language may change and we can give off signals that show us in an unapproachable light. Not making eye contact and avoidance will lead to others not talking to us and this then confirms our negative beliefs and the self fulfilling prophecy will be in full swing.
Watch your thinking, make sure that you challenge beliefs (see the blog post on the “cause of anxiety” for more info on conquering your fears) and don’t allow negative thinking to create self limiting beliefs and unwanted situations that you may inadvertently have created through your own thinking!
When we act in a certain way, our bodies send messages to our brains about how we are feeling. Research has shown that putting a pencil between your teeth tricks the brain into thinking you are happier as you are smiling!
If we are feeling lethargic, we tend to adopt a depressed,stooped posture which leads us to feel depressed. When we are light on our feet and moving freely, we will feel free and optimistic.
How are you feeling?If you are content and satisfied, you are probably behaving in a way that is working well for you – stick with it.If you are down about things, remember that you create your own reality (in terms of your perceptions/attitude) and that you do have a choice.If you took a different approach to what you do, you would start to feel different and in turn this would have a positive knock-on effect on other areas of your behaviour and your life.
Maybe you are doing what you have always done.We are creatures of habit and when things don’t go our way, we often get caught up in doing more of the same thing in an effort to get the result we want. The trouble is that then we end up feeling the same, only more so.
What could you do differently right now? How could you ACT differently? As soon as you change your physiology, by moving in a new way, and change your actions and the way you look at things, you will feel different.
If you want to feel happier, act happy. If you want to feel confident, act confident – sometimes we have to “fake it to make it”. If you want to feel motivated, behave in a way that someone who is motivated would behave. We can wait forever to feel in the mood to do something and that mood may never come, but if we just get up and get started the feelings will usually follow the behaviour and the mood for doing what we are doing will come upon us as if by magic.
The fact that feelings follow behaviour is an incredible and useful reality. It means that the power lies in a positive action – no matter how scared or resistant we may feel. Use it to your advantage and you can find a resolution to most issues.
I found the words below on twitter and thought I should share this with you. I don’t believe that positive thinking can overcome everything but I do believe that trying to choose thoughts that are hopeful will be more helpful than filling our heads with all that is wrong with the world.
Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a good day
Now:read from bottom to top..
I know which version makes me feel better xxx
More often than not, I find that my clients never give themselves credit for any of their success in life – they rarely celebrate their small successes. It seems that we tend to focus on what hasn’t gone right rather than maintaining perspective and looking at the strengths we possess and the things that have gone our way.
Get into the habit of congratulating yourself for your small successes. For some of my really depressed clients, getting out of bed at 2pm instead of 4pm is a small success that should be acknowledged. For others, it can be that they have finally acted on something that they have been procrastinating over.
Learn to recognise and acknowledge your small successes. It gives you a psychological boost and can work wonders for a person’s self esteem. I also recommend that clients write a gratitude journal where they write at least 3 things per day that made them smile. Priming our brains to focus on positives is a clever psychological trick to become more optimistic.
Make an effort to celebrate your small successes. Write them down, give yourself a pat on the back. Even the small stuff counts – be proud!
Self sabotage is common and I have witnessed many people give up at the first hurdle that comes their way. They flounder when things don’t go according to plan. Don’t be taken in by the idea of overnight success. Modern media shoves unrealistic airbrushed images at us on a daily basis and if you’re not careful it is easy to be taken in by the perfection we see around us. It is not necessarily the most talented that succeed – it is the most determined. The world is full of talented people will never make it because talent is no substitute for staying power.
Expect the best for yourself. Basic confidence in yourself will see you through where others fall behind. Being blessed with an inbuilt faith in yourself . Is often the magic ingredient that will take you further than others. When you’re optimistic, it is easier to maintain hope even when there are setbacks and frustrations. Optimism carries you further.
Optimism can be learned. What is your attitude? Ask yourself about lessons that you learned from your parents. Were they positive? What core beliefs do you hold?
Complete the following sentences:
Other people are…
The world is…
Complete the above sentences without thinking too much about the answers. What is the tone of your answers? Optimistic or pessimistic?
Complete the following sentences:
These thoughts would really empower me…
What do you need to believe about the world and about yourself that will power you forward?
Watch those core beliefs! If you want to give the best of yourself and achieve your true potential ensure that your core beliefs are sound and objective as possible. Positive core beliefs are brilliant to but stay away from pessimistic core beliefs. You will be living life with cracked foundations if you choose to believe pessimistic things about the world.
Choose core beliefs that promote empowerment and help you to feel you have mastery over the events in your life-and outlook psychologists call “self efficacy”. Albert Bandura, a Stanford Psychologist puts it like this “People’s beliefs about their abilities have a profound effect on those abilities. People who have a sense of self efficacy bounce back from failures; they approach things in terms of how to handle them rather than worrying about what can go wrong”.
Life is better when you’re an optimist. All about being for closing your eyes to the world around you but it is about knowing that you will manage and find a way through. It can take time to grow into the most polished version of yourself. Franklin D. Roosevelt was one of America’s most popular president yet in his early days he was awkward and not particularly charming. In 1921 he was crippled with polio but he still went on to become a much loved leader. It is never too late succeed.
Obviously something is too much like hard work this is a message in itself. Having the wisdom to know when to cut back or change direction is also important. That aside, if something means enough to you, you have to keep going. You owe it to yourself. This does not mean you have to put daily pressure on yourself but it means you have goals to work towards.
What to do:
Make a list of the things you truly want. Be sure that these goals for you and not ideas other people want for you.
Make a list of small steps that you can take to start achieving these goals. When things don’t go well draw on faith and hope and know that you will find a way through.
Be realistic-remember that success is very rarely linear. When you mess up get back on track. Learn from the failure but never see yourself as a failure.
Lean on others. Try not isolate yourself others are more willing to have the new realise.
Finally watch yourself fulfilling prophecies. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Your abilities are at the mercy of your beliefs. Neither of fixed!
Where there is a will there is a way. You can choose the pace, just keep going in the right direction and believe that you can and will get there.
How to be more lucky
I have often wondered why it is that some people seem to lead much easier and charmed lives compared to others. They seem to be the right place at the right time and have managed to make the most of opportunities that come their way. What’s their secret?
Lucky people tend to be the optimists in life-they never get bitter and they always look for the positives in every situation. They make a conscious effort to fortify their, what I call “mental buffer system”, to protect them from the harsh reality of life. This does not mean that they do not feel disappointment and experience setbacks but rather, the way they choose to perceive and respond to the setbacks varies vastly from people who are more easily affected.
A few characteristics that I have noticed that these people have in common are:
1) They ooze charisma
These people genuinely like others and have a knack for making other people feel important and valued. Others seek them out because of this feelgood factor.
2) Lucky people are great company
They make the effort. They always look as if they were delighted to see and we all like to be liked. They are easy to like back. They also believe that they are good company and this shows in their body language. They expect that others will like them and do not agonise ahead of time when a social occasion is coming up.
3) Lucky people have positive expectancy
They expect good things to happen – it’s just the way they are. When you focus on the good stuff it is more likely to feature in your life. The more we expect something, the more we make it happen – often through non verbal cues that we send out.
4) Lucky people have self belief
Lucky people believe in themselves, not all the time but they make an effort to think about themselves positively. They are quick to challenge negative thinking understand the importance of protecting their self worth. They enjoy having a high regard for themselves.
You can be more lucky too – watch the energy you are giving off. Is it cautious and ‘closed’ or is it friendly and ‘open’? Watch your thinking and work at keeping your mind filled with hopeful thoughts. Remember you get to choose what you want to think more than your realise – you choose which thoughts to focus on and believe. Make them work for you.
I wish there was a fool proof method for a fabulous happy life. There isn’t such a formula but there are definitely some good habits that can increase your chances of a better quality of life:
We willingly put ourselves into a mental prison of chaos when we make negative assumptions about other people’s intentions. One thought leads to another and we soon spiral downward. If you don’t have clear evidence – lose the assumption.
We spend to much time worrying about things we have no control over. Make sure that your worry check list includes the question – “is this something I have control over?”. Learn to let go of things you cannot control. It’s a part of life – embrace uncertainty.
The more we look for happy events and kindness in the world, the more it naturally lifts our spirits. Make a point of doing this every day. Some people even have a “gratitude journal” and write at least 3 things in it each day to remind them of the good things in their lives as well as things they like about themselves. Humans tend to default to the negatives and this is a good strategy to counteract this.
Sometimes when we worry, all we do is worry – there is no problem solving going on and this is the worst type of worry. Learn to set aside “worry time” if need be – half an hour a day and use it to make lists and come up with solutions. Overthinking is usually an unproductive habit.
Never ever put yourself down. Treat yourself like royalty. This one is so important. We all have negative thoughts about ourselves but get into the habit of identifying this negative inner talk and replace it with healthier, more supportive inner chatter.
Get out of your comfort zone regularly – it’s the only way to challenge and quieten the scary thoughts that stop us from reaching our true potential. Do a risk assessment and then go for it. Even if things don’t go according to plan, you will probably find the reality isn’t half as scary as you anticipated and you will learn that you are far more capable than you ever thought. But you won’t know this until you try -test out your fearful thoughts…
When we blame others for our place in life we effectively hand over all our power to them. Take it back and take responsibility for where you are. You have the power to change things, to alter the course of your life – it is never too late. Every journey starts with that first step – you can do it. No more procrastinating.
What a waste of energy comparing your life to that of others. You never really know what’s going on for others and we tend to see other people’s lives through our tinted perceptions and insecurities. If we feel we haven’t achieved financially, we will compare ourselves to those who we feel have made it in this area. Still – you never know for sure – they could be up to their eyeballs in debt. Besides, is financial success REALLY what you need to be happy?
Learn to relax a little and stop trying to control everything – it’s a losing game. Learn to work with the force of nature and the natural ebbs and flows of life. Too much perfectionism might stem from insecurity. Learn to see yourself as good enough.
Part of living in a society, going to school etc is that we are taught to conform, be conventional and behave like good citizens. Be aware though of when you let your personal boundaries be destroyed by too much societal indoctrination. Learn to be a critical thinker and follow your heart not the main consensus – it dilutes our personal identity in the long run.
Do what you love, and be yourself even in the face of possible rejection. Yep, I know that’s a scary concept but oh-so liberating if you can practise it a bit more often.
Life’s all about balance. Too much of one thing is never good. Learn to be good to yourself without the guilt. A bit of selfishness is fine now and then. Look after yourself and cherish yourself. There will never be another person like you…