Category: Believe in Yourself

Moving Through Change

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. We had our pea-coats with us, and I took a bag. Of all my worldly possessions I took no more than the few necessaries that filled the bag. Where I might go, what I might do, or when I might return, were questions utterly unknown to me…

I love this passage from “Great Expectations”, by Charles Dickens. It depicts the transitional March personality as well as new beginnings. Leaving it all to venture forward into the unknown is an enthralling experience. What big changes have you made in your life? What changes do you want?

I was feeling a bit low in remembrance yesterday so I did what normally boosts my mood: I slipped on my running shoes and headed out the door. My breath and strides felt heavy as my runs have felt labored since the 100K, yet I didn’t care. I was outside, moving and alive.

The night prior I’d thought about some losses I’d experienced. I remembered dismissing them as if they didn’t matter and thought I was leaving things behind. However, while it’s necessary to let go of the past, we also need to realize and even grieve over what was lost. Sometimes, that’s the missing piece that stops us from really being able to start over with a clean slate. Acknowledging what hasn’t worked and what that meant is part of moving forward in a new career path, relationship – life itself.

I took a deep breath, and like a Phoenix flying from the embers, the crisp air set my soul alight.

What would you like to change? Have you started? Why or why not?

What’s Stopping You?

You are only confined by the walls you build yourself

Do you ever feel down? Stuck in a rut?

What have you been pondering for too long?  Alex Korb, Ph.D., relates in his book, “The Upward Spiral”, that indecision can contribute to a consistently muddled state of mind, even depression.

Sometimes the important thing is to just choose. Korb states that any resolution you come to releases dopamine, a feel-good neurochemical in your brain. That encourages more decision-making, and begins to rewire neural networks so that future conclusions become easier. It also stimulates focused action.

A client felt stuck from deciding upon a career track. Two previous occupations that hadn’t panned out. As a result, they’d been fearful of devoting themselves to something else.

They’d been applying a cognitive distortion to this situation. These thinking ‘errors’ and their corrections are central to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which has been shown to successfully treat maladies such as depression, anxiety, insomnia and binge eating. This particular type of distortion, known as “overgeneralization”, asserts that just because something happened before, it will recur. Just because something didn’t turn out the way someone expected long ago, doesn’t mean it will necessarily recur in a new situation with a different journey.

However, even if a new career path doesn’t turn out as they currently desire, isn’t that just life? Many things in our lives weren’t meant to be forever, and things change in ways we can’t control or predict. I’ve read that the average person now changes careers four to seven times. So looking at it that way, twice doesn’t seem that bad. And any experience we have adds to our repertoire of what we can do in the future. Realizing these things, they were able to let go of the negative thought and move on.

Reframing cognitive distortions can lead to a more realistic viewpoint. It opens us to new possibilities and can help see things in a more positive light. Besides the impact on or lives, Positive Psychology shows a more positive way of thinking can improve health.

Which situations can you reframe in your own life? What’s stopping you??


Writing yourself IN

As I recently made my way to the starting line at a 10K race, I heard snippets of conversation.“I stayed up way too late last night and I’m too tired to do this now!” “I haven’t run all week.” “Oh I should move back – I’m one of the slow ones.” “I don’t even know if I can do this!?!?”

I could feel the anxious energy. I had to wonder why all the negative comments? Why write yourself off before you begin?

My Mom likes to say, “The mind leads, and the body follows.” If you think, “I can’t,” then you won’t be able to. It doesn’t matter if it’s a race, a job or your life. I’ve heard people declare such things about running: “I’m just meant to be slow,” or “I’ll never qualify for Boston,” and so on. And just as frequently others say, “I couldn’t get a job like that if I tried. I’ll just apply for a lesser one.” “The doctors say I’ll never be able to do <fill in the blank> again. It’s depressing,” or, “I’ll never fit into that/be that size/lose weight.”

I’ve later seen those things overturned. Sometimes a person just needs a glimmer of hope and starts to BELIEVE IN THEMSELVES. Then things start to change.

One day, I was running a 400-meter interval that felt right on par. I glanced at my Garmin watch and it said I was running a 4.xx minute mile. I thought, “What??? That can’t be right. There’s no way I can run that fast??!?” Suddenly I felt myself slowing down. My body was doing what my mind commanded. And, try as I might, I couldn’t speed up to that pace again. It was the proverbial self-fulfilling prophecy.

I’ve also had the opposite happen. I’ve had doctors tell me that I’ve had various conditions ranging from thyroid dysfunction to asthma and so on, for which I’d have to take medications for the rest of my life. I chose to find my own solutions and believed I’d one day be totally healthy again. I now need zero medications and have great health.

The only person who determines what you can or can’t do – is YOU. So instead of writing yourself off –  start writing yourself IN. It’s just as easy to say “I CAN,” instead of, “I can’t…” Make that replacement, and watch your life take off!!