Mindsets: Change The Backstory of Your Life!

Mindset Stones‘The Backstory Hides The Key To Success’ Dr Pete PhD

Let’s explore further why affirmations fail. Have you heard of the (dysfunctional) exercise of looking into the mirror each day to tell yourself you are beautiful to boost your self-esteem? Why is it that sometimes we do not feel beautiful despite the fact we look into the mirror and tell ourselves we are beautiful every day?

In the last blog we discovered that the reason affirmations often fail us is that they don’t engage our thinking patterns at the deeper levels where our unhealthy mindsets are hidden. Whilst our surface thinking may be changed through our affirmations and mantras, the deeper unhealthy mindsets remain unaffected and so our negative views remain intact despite the positive things we say to ourselves in the mirror. We refer to these important layers of thinking as the ‘Story’, which represents our surface thinking and the “Back-Story” which represented our deeper level mindsets.

In order to become more resilient and happy in life we need to be able to (1) quickly and easily uncover the Mindsets that have created a negative back-story to our lives, and (2) genuinely challenge and change these negative Mindsets to re-write this into a more positive and helpful back-story for the future of our lives. [Read more…]

Mindsets: Why Affirmations Fail

Waves of Life Kabat Zinn“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” The Queen in ‘Snow White’

“The Devil is in the details, but so is Salvation.” Hyman G. Rickover

“To change your mindset it’s not ‘what’ you are thinking that is important it’s ‘why’” Dr Pete

Affirmations: A Poison Chalice!

It’s not working!” cried my anorexia patient Chrissy. “Every day for the last few weeks I have been doing exactly what you told me to do – looking into the mirror each morning and telling myself ‘I am not fat and ugly – I am beautiful & healthy’, yet I feel even more depressed, fat and ugly then ever before!!!”

Affirmations are a poison chalice! Whilst it is a simple fact that your thinking patterns will lead you to happiness or despair – changing your thinking patterns is not so simple. When I did my postgraduate training to be a clinical psychologist I was taught to encourage people to use ‘affirmations’ and think ‘positive thoughts’ about themselves – and say these thoughts out loud in order to change their negative thinking patterns into positive ones. The idea being that if they repeat these positive thoughts often enough they will eventually replace the negative thoughts. Whilst this idea may be logical – the notion that you can ‘fake it till you make it’ – it does not change your thinking patterns – and used as a stand alone self-help strategy is down right dangerous – often making things worse. [Read more…]

The 3 Myths of Forgiveness

Mythical‘Forgiveness’ is such an important part of being able to recover from psychological problems and live a healthy and successful life. Yet ‘Forgiveness’ is often misunderstood and can lead to a range of unhelpful behaviors and consequences causing unnecessary harm to ourselves and others. In this article I want to share with you what the true meaning of forgiveness is and reveal the 3 most damaging myths of forgiveness and how you can avoid the mistakes and heart ache these myths may cause.

[Read more…]

Stress Management: Are You Amateur or Pro?

Pro SurferMost people know a bit about Stress Management – they have read a few books, watched a few episodes of Oprah or Dr Phil and done some breathing or muscle relaxation. Despite this knowledge, the rates of Depression, Anxiety and Stress are rapidly rising among us with 1 in 2 people on the planet (3.5 billion) likely to have a serious psychological disorder during their lives – WHY?

Surely it can’t be because we don’t have the knowledge needed to manage our stress? Perhaps it’s because, as the saying goes, ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ and knowing about something is very different to being able to expertly apply it to your life when you need it most! [Read more…]

Destiny’s Child: Define or Deny Your Success in Life!

Destinys Child Image

‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’ – Benjamin Franklin

‘Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars’ – Norman Vincent Peale

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right’ – Henry Ford

When someone succeeds in life people around them may say ‘it was their destiny’ as if to suggest their success was inevitable and in turn deny the enormous hard work, detailed planning, risk taking, setbacks and failures that all successful people must endure along the way. [Read more…]

The Top 10 in 2014

Yoga Balance

The only thing constant in life is change’   François de la Rochefoucauld

What a big year 2014 has been! It feels like there has been more turmoil and change in the world this year than other recent years. We’ve had more than our fair share of wars, conflict, and disasters both man-made and natural.

We’ve also had an increasing recognition of the importance of global warming and climate change as well as the ever-present challenges of job security and financial pressures as we try to provide for our families and maintain some semblance of work/life balance. [Read more…]

Summertime Sadness: The Loneliness Trap

Summertime Sadness“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” Plato

“Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out” J. Buck

The summer festive season is upon us once more and for many (myself included) it is a bittersweet time of the year. The chance to slow down and take a break from the chaos of everyday life and catch up with family and friends can be both a blessing and a curse. The blessing of relaxing and unwinding and re-connecting with family and friends can also become the curse of unexpected illness, stress, interpersonal conflict and loneliness.

Like so many other parents in separated families, the festive season is a mixed blessing for me. My children spend each alternate Christmas with me so the festive season can be either an intense high-energy family time or a quiet time of reflection, rest and solitude.

In either case, the expression ‘the cup can be either half empty or half full’ can apply. [Read more…]

Can You Really Control How Happy You Feel?

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Question: Can You Really Control How Happy You Feel?

“If you want the joy of rainbows – you gotta put up with the rain” Unknown

I have spent my entire life believing you can change how happy you feel at any given moment… I have posted numerous blogs on the subject, tweeted and re-tweeted over a thousand comments, and have written 5 books on living a happy life and improving your wellbeing.

More recently though, I read a series of articles in response to a social media campaign called ‘100 Days of Happiness’ whereby a number of leading Psychologists and Psychiatrists were openly critical of the notion that you could be continuously happy for 100 days. Here’s an excerpt from one article summarizing what many experts from around the world had to say about being continuously happy: [Read more…]

Ride The Waves of Life Like a Pro: 7 Things You Need to Know

bigstock-Surfer-rides-Big-Wave-In-the--17177051

 

‘You can’t stop the waves – but you can learn to surf!’

John Kabat-Zinn

I have a confession to make – until recently, despite all my years of psychology study and training, sometimes I would find myself stressing out about things – and know that I was over-reacting yet feel unable to stop the cycle of stress and worry! Has this ever happened to you?

You see it wasn’t that I didn’t understand the theory of stress management – I am a reasonably bright guy with a PhD on the topic. I think, looking back now, it was that I couldn’t simply and easily put this theory into practice when I needed it most.

Stress Management: Amateur or Pro? [Read more…]