When you look out of your window what you are looking at is the next moment of the unfolding of the universe. What you are seeing is the direct result of all the moments that happened before. A mind – blowingly long time before.
The unfolding of the universe began 13.8 billion years ago at the time of “The Big Bang”. I’m guessing you’d agree that had absolutely nothing to do with you. So an interesting thing to ponder on is why does the moment you are looking at have anything to do with you? In CBT Therapy there is a thinking error called “personalisation”. This basically means that often we mistakeingly take things personally when in fact they aren’t personal in anyway.
It seems that because you are looking at the moment, that it has something to do with you, Even though at the same time you are experiencing the moment directly in front of you there are moments happening behind you , to the side of you, above and below you and everywhere else in the universe. There are moments occurring in Japan but you don’t care about those do you? You only really care about those moments that you see. What you call your life. As a result because what we think we see is ours, we naturally think we can and should change it. To bend it so that it is more how we want it to be.
However this is a huge error on our part. A mistake that can lead to dire consequences for our mental health. How can we change something that we did not create? Why and how are we responsible for something that is the direct result of 13.8 billion years in the making? What right do we have to do this? We are just visitors here. We are here for a miniscule amount of time compared to the universe itself.
Do you want to be responsible for the weather. Or the waves on the sea? Or making trees grow. Or whether a Polar bear and her three cubs in Antartica eats tonight. Or for making every heart beat?
Be careful because your Mind can make you think you can change things in the outside world and that you are responsible when the truth is you are not. It is just creation unfolding in front of your eyes. And you get to see and experience it. Lucky you! An article on gratitude.
If the dinosaurs had not roamed planet earth, the moment you are seeing right now would be entirely different. Everything had to happen exactly as it did for you to experience what you are seeing right now. This fact is uber relevant when it comes to our past and wishing some, most or all of it was different to what actually happenned. You see it `couldnt have been any other way. If it had there is no way you would be reading this right now. If one thing in your past had been different you are not here in the way you are now. In CBT Therapy we help people process and come to a deep acceptance of their past. And at the point where people can truly accept their past regardless of what terrible things happenned – healing occurs.
To put this in perspective the earth itself is only 4.5 billion years old. All the elements that are on this earth and are in everything that lives here were created in the big bang. The periodic table has in total 118 elements. 94 of those elements occur naturally on our earth and were created at the time of the Big Bang. That means that your nose is made of stuff that came into existence 13.8 billion years ago. Your face is literally made of stars.
It’s completely human to blame people, places and things in the outside world for the problems we have inside of us. Also most of us try to seek, get or change things in the outside world to try to feel better inside of us. It’s not wrong. It just doesn’t work.
It can’t work. The reason is that you didn’t make the outside world and therefore you don’t have control over it. Every time you attempt to control, manipulate or change someone or something in the outside world, you will experience a disturbed stress inside you. Why? Because you simply can’t change or influence what never was in your control to start with. If you want to read more about why you can’t change the”outside world” read this article.Learn More
The funny things about us human beings is that we are literally spinning around on a rock in the middle of nowhere and we are stressing out if we get ketchup on our new shirt! We live in just one of three trillion galaxies that make up the universe and we think our own personal problems are such a big deal. Boy have we lost perspective.
We can use our Mind to get some perspective back. It is the kindest thing to do. The act of doing this. Using your Mind to wrestle back the perspective you have lost. Forcing your Mind to see the reality of your life and thinking about things differently is CBT Therapy.
The minute we start to think differently about our lives and our problems, we are putting much more useful thoughts inside our heads. This can’t help but create a nicer experience inside of us. Give it a go and see for yourself.Learn More
Ever had a catchy, repetitive pop song stuck in your head for days? Annoying isn’t it. But the fact that our Minds have the ability to do this, means we can create and have playing in our minds much more useful things. “I can handle it”…”I can handle it”…”I can handle it”… for instance. Now wouldn’t that be a much more useful thing for your Mind to be automatically saying to you? A phrase like that. Something you purposefully put in your Mind and repeat over and over until it “sticks” is a Mantra.
The truth is that I can have my Mind saying all the negative automatic junk it usually says or I can literally tune in and listen to my Mantra. Now I’m sure you’ll agree that having “I can handle it” or ” I can learn to like it” are much more useful and hugely less problematic for me as opposed to my Mind saying “I’m a terrible writer”, “no one will read this article” “why am I bothering” etc etc . The Mind , if we let it, will literally bombard us with this negative crap all day long won’t it?
A Mantra is literally any word or phrase that you purposefully repeat in your Mind over and over again until it eventually “sticks” in your Minds. At this point it just starts playing all by itself in the back of our Mind, all day long. Check it out for yourself and you will see this is much nicer to have going on in there than the alternative. The predominantly negative stuff.
A Mantra can be one “meaningless” word or a “phrase” that you believe and can get behind. The only thing to be mindful of though is that the “word” or particularly the phrase you pick needs to be quite neutral so that the automatic Mind doesn’t get hooked into it and start thinking about too much. If possible try to pick a word or phrase that your Mind is less interested in.
Now it takes a while to have a Mantra “stick”. First when we start the Mantra is weak. But through repetition of saying it over and over again, which will be a nicer thing to have going on in your head, rather than the usual negative automatic stuff, it will get stronger. Eventually it will create a layer in your mind and then just be there going on in the background whenever you need it. A strong Mantra becomes like a haven to go to when the other part of your Mind is driving you crazy, making you react to things or just creating a negative experience inside of you.
You may have first heard of Mantra in connection to spiritual and religious practices but the use of mantra in that way is NOT what I am talking about here. Here I am talking about how Mantras can help us with our mental health.
Having a Mantra that works for you, embedded in your head, rather than listening to the usual junk your Mind spews out is just sensible isn’t it? And with a little bit of hard work, effort and persistence creating a Mantra can be a complete game changer and is another way to “Get to Grips with the Mind”.
It’s a good idea to work on your Mantra and keep strengthening it whenever you remember to do so or when you know you are going to have extended periods of “free time”. I often work on my Mantra when I take the dog out for a walk. Instead of listing to stuff on I Tunes (which I used to do) I now choose to work on repeating and strengthening my mantra. So while I am walking around or picking up Dog Pooh – I am actively repeating “I can handle it…I can handle it…I can handle it”.
Please let me know if you found this little article on Mantra’s useful. Your feedback is really useful.
I wish you and your Mantra well.Learn More
There are two possible types of learning from painful or difficult experiences in our past. The first is a physical learning. If you put your hand on a hot kettle when you are a kid you learn not to do it again. It does not create any anxiety in you when you see a hot kettle the next time – does it? But if you have an emotionally difficult experience it’s a completely different story. When you have an experience that is emotionally upsetting, you simultaneously create a thought in your mind. This is mental learning.
Let’s say your emotionally difficult experience was around failing at something and that created sadness in you. The thought or thoughts now created in your mind by this experience are something like “Sadness is bad” ” I must not fail”. The difference between the kettle experience where there is no thought created is that experience just naturally stays in the past. Whereas the experience of failure has created thought formations in you that will live in you until you die. You therefore can not leave the difficult emotional experience in the past as those thought formations are now “stuck” in your mind.
The answer is to learn how to let go of the difficult past experiences stuck in our minds. If you would like to learn more about this process click here.Learn More
Life will show us where we are blocked, if we allow it to do so.
Then it is a question of knowing two other things. Firstly that we can handle the disturbance, emotion inside of us that is blocked. You see eventually if we give it the space and room, it will leave us when it is ready not when we are.
And secondly, we see that releasing the blockages inside of us will dramatically improve the quality of our life and the lives of everybody around us. That it is without doubt the way forward and the kindest thing you could ever do for yourself in this lifetime.
Life is sooo kind. You don’t have to go looking for where you are blocked. You don’t have to ask where do I start? You just have to listen to when in your life as you go about your day you are disturbed inside of you. Something someone said or did. Something you hear or see. Something that someone didn’t do or didn’t say. What in CBT Therapy we call “an external trigger”. Meaning something happens in the outside world and you have a disturbance inside of you.
If you think this is vague or a bit general, it’s because any, literally any experience you have during the day can hit your stuff and show you where you are blocked. To illuminate in that moment what you have stored inside of you and what you therefore need to release. For your sake and everyone elses.
Most of the stuff we experience during the day just passes straight by (or more accurately) straight through us. But if you are willing to look you will see that some of what you experience during the day disturbs us. Creates ripples on the calm lake of our psyche. Creates a disturbance inside of us.
How do we leave the past where it belongs in the past? We need to remove the blockages inside of us. How do we remove them? We release them. We let go of them inside of us.Learn More
Although CBT is a therapy that predominantly focuses time, effort, change, and attention on the things that are creating an experience in the present day. CBT does not just stop there. CBT also recognises that our past has a huge influence on who we are in present day. How we think and how we behave. For a therapist to disregard or ignore this fact when treating a patient is a kind of professional negligence. For a client or patient to be blind to this fact is also extremely unhelpful and often a barrier to their recovery.
Our minds are a creation of every experience we’ve had in the past good and bad, pleasant and unpleasant, nice not nice, wanted not wanted. The way that you think, the things you believe about yourself, about other people and the world and life itself are a direct consequence of the past creating and shaping the mind you have right now in the present day.
Many behaviours that we do in the present day whether it is to protect yourself, whether it is to fix something about ourselves that we believe is wrong, or whether it’s just to compensate for some perceived inadequacy or failure inside of us. All have their roots in the past and past experiences. Other more easily recognised behaviours ie Avoidance behaviours, safety behaviours, OCD behaviours. addiction behaviours eating behaviours all stem from the past.
BF Skinner the renowned Behaviourist famously said “Man is a product of his past experiences.” Although his quote adds weight to the fact that CBT Therapy should consider the past when working with clients. However what Skinner said is not actually correct. Your mind is in fact the creation of your past experiences not you. This is a very important distinction.
So I hope that’s helpful? I just want to spend a little bit of time to explain the difference between the focus of past and present when it comes to CBT Therapy I wish you well.Learn More
“Be Open to Life” is not a cheesy bumper sticker. It’s an essential way of being if you want to have a nice life. The opposite is being closed to life and shutting off from the experiences you are having. Particularly the “difficult” ones. The consequences of doing this are catastrophic and the damage done is invisible but nevertheless real.Learn More
What actually in this life are we responsible for?
This is an important question because if we take responsibility for things that we’re not actually responsible for that is a massive problem.
Actually one of the interesting things about us human beings, is we often take responsibility for things that are not our responsibility and often avoid taking responsibility for things that actually,when is all is said and done are down to us.
Obviously this can’t end well. This is not going to lead to a happy and fulfilled life. It can unfortunately lead to big problems not only inside of us but also outside of us.Learn More