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There was famous study in America where a professor would walk into a lecture room and ask his students to think of anything except for polar bears.
“Don’t think of polar bears.”
Of course what would they think of… polar bears. It was one of many studies that demonstrated what we resist persists.
When struggling with mental health it is very easy to fall into the action of focusing on what we don’t want. I don’t want a panic attack, I don’t want insomnia, I don’t want to feel anxious, I don’t want to feel depressed. Unfortunately this focus is likely to result in the thing we are trying to avoid.
So when trying to improvement our mental health and well-being how can we overcome this.
Think about the outcome you want.
Sounds simple but it is harder than we think. It is so important to think about the thing you want. I want to be calm, I want to be balanced, I want to be well rested, I want to be happy.
Sounds to easy right? Perhaps, spend some time listening to the people around you, to your colleagues, friends, children. How much of their time do they speak about the thing the want rather than the thing they want to avoid.
Remember ‘Where attention goes action follows’.
And ‘where actions flow results will go.’
Focus on the process not the outcome.
Think about the next best step, not the end goal. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a set back. We all have unique paths that weave their way through life. It is normal and sometimes even good to experience a set back. Sometimes it is our body’s or minds way of asking for a little more time before they are ready for that next step.
When I was told I could never be cured of PTSD I refused to believe it. Yes it is true a few years down the line and I am not there yet but my symptoms are lots better, and I still believe one day I will be.