Positive Psychology

HOW TO RENEW YOUR MIND

Silhouette image of man's head with brain mechanisms in action

HOW TO RENEW YOUR MIND

Renewing Your Mind Will Help You Focus on Your Future

Once you renew your mind and refuse to live in the past you will become limitless. Your life will change and it will be evident in everything you do!

Easier said than done!  Is that what you’re thinking right now?

Yes, you’re right, it could take some effort but it is doable!  And I can give you a true example of how it can be done.

In my second year at University I became down and broken-hearted because of a relationship. As a result I failed some courses miserably, so badly in fact that I was called into the Dean’s office to show cause why I should be allowed to continue. The Dean even suggested I defer for a year.  I did not want to defer because finishing the course within the allotted time was important to me.

On the way home I stopped at a park and sat down, feeling worn and tired.  My mind was full of negative thoughts, except for the one good thought that came to me: “How can I turn this around?”

I had once read about visualization and how it can be used to achieve goals. Aha! Maybe I could apply this to my getting a better grade on my courses so I started to visualize the exam result notice that I had received, it showed a lot of “F” (F = Failed.)

Then I let that visualization disappear and visualised a new exam result notice. This time visualising more of “P” an “Cr” (P = Pass, Cr = Credit) instead of “F.” And it so happened that at the end of the year I was able to graduate, having earned a Bachelor Degree in Science.

Visualization will be the topic for another blog so keep posted!

The other key process used to renew your mind is to use your ‘self talk.’ If you want to live a renewed life stop saying to yourself or to others for example,  – “my life is a mess,” “I fail my exams,” “I can’t do anything right” and instead, start thinking: “How can I turn this around?”, “How can this work in my favor?”  In a future blog I shall show you a process that will make this easier, but for now, start noticing when you self talk negatively, and train yourself replace the negative self talk with something positive.

I proved that it can be done, now it’s your turn.  Yes, it could take some mental effort and yes you may still come across obstacles and challenges but NEVER GIVE UP! The only failure in life is the failure to try.  If you try your best and fail, then you learn from your failure, learning from your failure will lead to success.  STAY POSITIVE!

Albert Einstein once said “Problems cannot be solved by thinking within the framework in which they were created.”  You can only solve your problem by changing your way of thinking. If you think your problem cannot be solved then you will fail to come up with solutions that work. Nonetheless, if you see your problem differently and believe it can be solved, coming up with the right solution becomes more likely.

No matter what your problem is, it cannot be solved from the same level of thinking you were in when it occurred. Whether in your personal relationships, your professional life or your academic life. You need to rise above the pain, disappointments, as well as regrets and find new ways of dealing with what you are going through.

If you want to begin a new relationship, leave your past where it belongs and focus not only on beginning a new relationship but on making it enjoyable.

Once you change your mind and refuse to live in the past you will be become limitless. Your life will change and it will be evident in everything you do. Your relationships will be more pleasant, your work more exciting, and even your health will improve. You will forget about unpleasant things in your life and begin looking for ways of making things work. Instead of giving up, you will give it another try because you know it is worth fighting for.

Before you know it, you will be on the right path to where you are destined to be.

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If you want to learn more about depression and how to break through it click here for a link to my book page.

 

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NATURE AS A HEALER OF DEPRESSION

 NATURE AS A HEALER OF DEPRESSION

Most of us live near somewhere that’s natural. Be it a backyard, nature strip, a stream, a      riverside, a lake or a beach.

Research at the University of Minnesota reveals that environments can increase or reduce our stress, which in turn impacts our bodies. What you are seeing, hearing, experiencing at any moment is changing not only your mood, but how your nervous, endocrine, and immune systems are working.

Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.

Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical well-being, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones. It may even reduce mortality, according to scientists such as public health researchers Stamatakis and Mitchell.

And David Strayer, cognitive psychologist at the University of Utah, who specializes in attention, is in a unique position to understand what the stress of modern life does to us. An avid backpacker, he thinks he knows the antidote to depression: Nature.

Real-Life Examples of People Helped by Nature

Cheryl: After months fruitlessly searching for a job after graduation, Cheryl was losing confidence in herself. Seeing she was depressed, her parents gifted her with two weeks of wilderness training. Cheryl returned as a new person.

Of her experience, she said, “I learned the depth of my strength and how much I could accomplish. My courage surprised me…Being surrounded by nature reminded me to keep the Big Picture in mind not only during my wilderness experience, but also when I returned home. Life is in front of me and I have lots of options.”

Terry: Terry was suffering from one of the most powerful bouts of depression in his life. His therapist chose an unconventional treatment and sent Terry to his farm, located several miles outside city limits.

It was winter, and Terry noticed the way the wind slapped him in the face when he got out of his truck. Snow covered the flat land as far as the horizon line. Terry’s boots sank into the snow as he walked. He settled beside a frozen pond and noticed that the sensory input from his surroundings—the frigid wind, the blinding snow—had distracted him from his own depressed mental chatter.

Sitting next to the pond, he began to think about what lay underneath the ice. The fish and frogs and larvae that normally thrived under the water were all sleeping, he realized. As the snow began to fall on his own body, he realized that he was not separate from the sleeping animals and organisms below the surface of the pond. “I realized that my depression is like the snow,” he said. “It covers everything in me, and it’s like my heart has gone to sleep…but I’m not dead inside. I’m resting.”

James: At fifty, James was beginning to feel the effects of working sixty hours a week, rarely exercising, and eating lunch at his desk. He was overweight, had high blood pressure, and always felt tired. On the advice of his doctor, James began a green exercise program with a local community group that walked through the countryside on Saturdays.

James was awed by the natural display of the trees and the quiet hum of wildlife along the hiking trails. The group gradually began jogging and rock climbing. Within a few months, James’s blood pressure had decreased, he had lost several pounds, and he had more energy. “Just by spending time outdoors each week I felt rejuvenated and relaxed when I came into the office on Monday,” he said.

And David Strayer said “If you can have the experience of being in the moment for two or three days, it seems to produce a difference in qualitative thinking.”

Strayer has demonstrated as much with a group of Outward Bound participants, who performed 50 percent better on creative problem-solving tasks after three days of wilderness backpacking. The three-day effect, he says, is a kind of cleaning of the mental windshield that occurs when we’ve been immersed in nature long enough.

 Now I am not saying that you should go to the same extremes as the people in the above examples did, but you if you’ve been cooped up indoors ruminating in your own thoughts, even sitting out in the sun in your backyard  could be a good start!

Today I walked up the hill to the top of local dunes. On the path near the top of the stairs a beautiful lizard stopped in front of my feet. Curious about what it would do, I watched it for a while and it continued its crossing into the bushes on the other side.  I love our local wildlife!

Then I walked down the stairs to the beach, kicked off my footwear and walked toward the ocean.  The sun was out, and there were a few fluffy white clouds in the distance. The sea was rolling gently toward the shore with the soft sounding waves breaking as they reached the shallows.

I walked northward along the beach. A few people were there with their dogs. A lovely black and white border collie ran toward me and allowed me to pat her. I patted her, waved to her owner then walked on.

Near the far end of the beach there is a group of flat volcanic rocks. I stood on one of rocks and let the waves lap gently over my feet. It felt so good. Sun, sea, air and spirit all in one. I indulged all my senses.

Not everyone is like me. Not everyone is a nature lover. But if you’re not, I do suggest you try being with nature for a while. It could bring about a total transformation.

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God Bless

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DEPRESSION CAN BE THE PITS!

DEPRESSION CAN BE THE PITS! – by Guest Blogger Dianne Beatty B.PsychImage of Snakes from Deviant Art

When we feel stuck and low on energy, many of us want a sure-fire way out of it.

My first year psychology lecturer mentioned a method that had a 100% success rate for depression – in medieval times, someone was dangled with a rope by one foot over a pit full of venomous snakes, and lowered and lifted in time with the snakes’ lunging at them, purportedly to scare the demons out. Everyone who went through that treatment said they were cured.

Now, many may wonder about the mechanics behind it, and I’m not talking about the pulley.

 Was the person overcome by the Tender Loving Care of the person holding the rope by making sure the former would not get bitten?

 Had they experienced something so terrifying they’d lie through their teeth to make sure they never experienced it again? Was the bottom of the barrel metaphorically lowered into the snake pit, too?

 Perhaps the dead bodies around the pit from unfortunate miscalculations of timing may have dissuaded the person to want to continue the treatment as a long-term option.

 If someone is desperate enough, this approach may make moving to the rural parts of Australia seem like an interesting prospect (we have plenty of snakes, and we’re willing to share in true Aussie fashion), keep in mind that a lot of country folk are less than fussed about seeing snakes since snakes mostly act defensively. In fact, one person told me their father would like to play a prank on them – putting a dead snake in the front seat of the car, then tying the head to the inside of the car door so the son would see a snake flying at them when it was his turn to drive. Exciting stuff.

 We’re all different. Anyone who says they have a blanket answer for any experience may be selling snake oil, as I believe context is important, our past experiences are important. There are a lot of variable approaches, and a lot of variability with each approach. Narrative therapy is an approach which is less about labeling and more about context and positivity, which I personally believe is a humane and realistic approach.

 And everything helps to some extent. What may be effective for some may not be as effective for others. It may be difficult to keep investigating if someone has low energy, but it’s important to keep in mind that we’re only ever acting upon our current awareness of possibilities or treatments.

 However, I’d like to offer some points for consideration – the first being about what enriches us the most. I believe humanity is more than simply having a human body – if we want to retain our humanity, we need to make sure we’re consciously expressing qualities of compassion, collaboration, community, teamwork and so forth. Set the example for the future, and be proud of doing so. After all, we can’t be responsible for other people, but we can be responsible for ourselves and our impact. Finding the need of the times is like riding a wave – help with it, and we’re propagated much further and much faster than if we had to paddle in isolation.

 Also, energy levels, or deep rest, are fundamental to our experience in all aspects of our life. Find a way to increase energy, and we find that we spontaneously act as a better version of ourselves, and we find that it’s also easier to learn, to adjust. All without trying. Simple and natural.

 And every bit counts. After all, do we want to fight the general and his army, or just the general?

 Keep an open mind, be kind to yourself, and keep looking!

 

Dianne has a Bachelor of Psychology and teaches Vedic Meditation, which improves energy levels through a procedure to experience deep rest. She can be reached by email [email protected]

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