How to Self Help
How to self help means at its most basic level, change the thought to change the feeling. I can have what ever thought I want whenever I want. You can manage your attention that effectively.
What most self help and counseling types of people don't tell us about, or do not know, is that this process has to happen very frequently because of the way our brain perceives and functions.
Ever heard of the human orienting response? Advertisers have and they know just how to use it to make sure their jingle gets stuck in your brain, and I am fighting off an old Double Mint jingle from 30 or 40 years ago right now.
So what happens when I change the thought to change the feeling? Usually I am working towards feeling better. Why make myself feel ashamed or resentful?
I usually look to self help tools when I compare myself to someone else, who perhaps has more of what I think I do not have enough of, whether that be self-esteem, money, sex, beauty, ect.
However, if I change my thought from something like, "If only I had more money, I would be ok" to "I can increase my income by learning how to build websites," I can change the feelings inside my body from anxiety or shame or worry to curiosity or wonder or determination.
Just remember that you do not hold that helpful thought long, and can be distracted, and lose your helpful thought. Ever been typing away on your computer, and your child, who had snuck into the home office yells in your ear, surprising you into a fight or flight physiology, and then after you have calmed down, you try to type again, and cannot remember your train of thought?
That is when you will need to make some effort to remember just where you were, and get the same creative physiology going in your body, and the chain of thought may come right back.
A very important distinction for us to learn is that the only place I can experience my reality and you your reality is inside your head.
That is why I use the Necker Cube at the top of my pages. When you look at it for a bit, you see one side of the boxes come close, then another side flips to the front. So if you see one and I see another side, who is right, or correct? We both are, and I may need to engineer those kinds of thoughts in my brain very frequently when I am dealing with fear for example, about my economic situation.
Actually, the key to effective self help is relaxation, not stress hormones, and relaxation is something I need to consciously attend to with deep breathing and loving thoughts.
A little further down the page, you will find a link to HeartMath, which is an extraordinary self help tool and thought changing tool and relaxation trainer all in one.
The 'change the thought to change the feeling' process is a basic tenet of Cognitive Behavioral and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy, and it begins to sound like affirmations, which I believe are helpful.
Once I have learned that basic skill, I need to repeat it as often as I choose.
Since my thoughts happen in my brain, it would make sense that keeping my brain fundamentally fit would provide the best possible platform for managing attention and thought changing, and these days it is very possible to increase your brain's fitness, give it some exercises so that it flexes its dendrites, and stretches its axons.
Not too many years ago, no one knew that the brain grew new neurons daily, or was so incredibly plastic, constantly seeking new ways for neurons to connect. It is those neural networks that make it possible for us to have those insights, and sudden "AHA' moments that lead us to new levels of performance, new confidence in our ability to manage at life, and now we have a very basic positive thought and feeling spiral going.
How to Self Help by Encouraging Neuroplasticity
It turns out that brain fitness results from some very basic attention to the pillars of brain fitness. A number of authorities have written about those pillars, and they are physical exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress management, and novel learning experiences, which might include the use of computerized brain fitness programs.
Want a self help resource that goes into great detail about brain fitness, written in lay person language? There is one. It is called Brainfit for Life, written by Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D. who are both neuroscientists at the University of Michigan.
So it sounds like if you are following a brain fitness routine, you will be preparing yourself for how to self help, right?
I hope you will take a look at Brainfit for Life which is available for $17.00 for the book, or $3.00 for a chapter.
Most folks think of physical exercise and activity and experience some resistance, and physical exercise is the single most important thing you can do for your self help training, because they think exercise means a membership at a health club, and the expense of a trainer.
Not so. As far as your brain is concerned, if you walk more, or walk up more flights of stairs, it will be satisfied. No heavy barbells, or sweaty workouts necessary although it does not hurt your brain to build to that.
Evans and Burghardt will explain what the brain needs in terms of sleep, nutrition, including Omega 3 fatty acids and novel learning experiences.
To really induce or enhance your brains neurogenesis and neuroplasticity, you need to learn new stuff. The kind of learning best for your brain fitness program is learning a new language, learning a new instrument, re-careering, or using the newly available computerized brain fitness programs, which have some stunning research behind them.
I know I am not going to take up a serious study of a language, but I am working online all day every day, so it fits for me to use the brain fitness programs.
The programs most helpful for my attention have been these three, and the HeartMath program which will teach the Freeze Frame technique to change your thought to change your feeling, are Mind Sparke Brain Fitness Pro, the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program, and Lumosity.
The practices are fun usually, but on occasion, when I am not doing as well as I think I should, they give me an opportunity to work on my cognitive therapy skills, so I can remember that learning and how to self help are processes that occur across time.
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