Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't -- you're right."

I love this picture!
  We've all heard the quotes a thousand times:
  • it's 'mind over mater'
  • 'life isn't what happens to you, it's about how you react to what happens to you'
  • how things are: '90% mental, and 10% physical'
  These sayings have been drilled into our heads over and over again. But do we actually believe them?
  And if we do, do we try implementing them into our lives?

  Sorry, these are the thoughts of a psychology major! Positive thinking and thoughts affecting outcome are some things that have arisen with me recently, and I thought blogging about them would help me sort though those thoughts.

The power of thought!
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy 
  One of the most-impactful and meaningful things I studied as a psychology student was the idea of self-fulfilling prophecy.

  A self-fulfilling prophecy happens when a positive or negative expectation about circumstances, events, or people may affect a person's behavior toward them in a manner that causes those expectations to be fulfilled.

  In short, it's thinking something true.

  For example, having a 'me against the world attitude'. Having that sort of attitude in all facets of your life probably won't work out very well. By constantly bringing that attitude to the table, the people around you might think you're a difficult person to be around (your attitude/behavior ends up alienating those around you) and because of this, they might not want to interact with you.

  That alienation, in turn, feeds your me against the world attitude even more.

  Another way of looking at it is: what is your internal dialogue, or what is your story? What are the thoughts that you consistently have about yourself? Those thoughts, stories, ideas, are amazingly powerful because usually they end up becoming our reality.

  Whatever our story is, it bleeds into everything. You come to expect it. You look for it, because you're so used to seeing it. (examples: feeling powerless, attracting abusive relationships, people being 'out to get' you, co-workers not liking you, etc.)

Henry Ford quote.
Focus on Positives, or Negatives?
  We all have the situation that seemingly arises everywhere in our lives, or a scenario that we recreate over and over. The question is, do we allow that story, or those thoughts impede our progress? Is it making the quality of our life poorer? Do we focus on the negatives in our lives more than the positives?

  If life really is mind over matter, shouldn't we do our best to focus on the positive aspects in our life, and stop dwelling on the negative?

My Stumbling Block
  This occurs with me when I begin thinking about what I am going to do after my basketball career is over. The first thoughts I have are: 'I am only qualified to play basketball', and I am inexperienced at anything 'real world' related.

  You can guess that by thinking this way, and focusing on those things would cause anxiety. Not only that, it doesn't allow you to enjoy your current situation as much as you should.

  It's a domino effect of sorts, because you can't selectively turn off emotions. Your anxiety leads to avoidance, and shutting down from the other parts of your life. And that, in turn, leads to being even more alienated, feeling more alone, and more reclusive. It's not a good cycle to repeat over and over again. So HOW do you keep this domino effect from starting in the first place?

Make a Choice
  The only solution is to CHOOSE to focus on the positives! Instead of worrying and focusing on the negative THOUGHTS in your head, focus on what is REALITY! What is REAL? What have you done? Celebrate the things you have accomplished!

  For me, think about all the awesome experiences I've had, the great people I've met, the fun things I've gotten to do, the places I've seen, how I've grown over the years. How can THESE things help me in my future endeavors? What are the skills and traits I have acquired through these experiences that transfer over into the 'real world'?

Easier said than done sometimes, isn't it?!
  I've decided that if you focus too much on the negative and the fear, it stops you from celebrating and appreciating the great things, and moving forward. You can never let the anxiety and fear win!

  The mind is a powerful thing, and we have a lot more control over our outlook than we might think.

  Let's make conscious choices (on a daily basis!) about what we focus on, and what we put our energy into (and what NOT to focus on, and waste energy on!). Hopefully by focusing on the positive, that old 'story' you tell yourself will erode away, and your internal dialogue will slowly begin to change for the better.

  That's what I'm going to work on: focusing on the positive! What's your story?
Jillian Michaels Podcast 10/21/2011

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