Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Shit Happens

Life Changes!

It is funny how life changes. I guess that is what life is all about… It is an every moving, ever breathing thing…. Life…..

The sun is out and it warms the morning air. The grass is starting to green and it actually feels just a little like spring. The last few weeks have been reminiscent of Winter…. Blustery, Cold and Spitting Frozen Rain… sometimes even Snow…. I guess that’s LIFE!

Change! How can one adjust to it? You can’t prevent it. Change, especially when life changes and smacks you right alongside of the head? What can you do?

No, you are right. You can’t change what happens but you can change how you deal with it. You can take the Roller out of Coaster and stop the Emotional Roller Coaster that seems to control ones existence when “shit” happens.

Coping With Change or When Life Hands Out Lemons….. Throw Them At Your Neighbor…..

WOW…. What does this really mean? Change is hard enough. Why would anyone want to “cope with it”? And lemons, they just make your mouth all sour, your lips pucker and you come close to down right drowning in your own saliva; minimally you just drool. Not a good picture… Right?

Well, a man named Albert Ellis; the Grand Daddy of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, believed we, as people, were responsible for our own thoughts, our own attitudes, our own behavior and yes even our own emotions. Personal responsibility; where did he come up with that?

Yes, I know that remains somewhat of a challenge in today’s society, yet Ellis developed a Model he believed could give you more control and influence over the lemons in your life. He also believed in the ability for you to exercise your mind and find a peaceful place for it to dwell.. and no it’s not lonely street….. or heart break hotel…..

You heard me right! It’s not a place to go. It’s something to do. I said the word exercise, right! Yes, exercise. Well, not in the traditional sense though… Peace of mind does not come without work and directed energy on your part. Maybe that’s the hard part?

Peace of mind is something you have to work for. It’s not just handed out because one feels they deserve it; even though sometimes, it may appear that way or that’s the way you want it. It just doesn’t happen!

So what about this guy call Albert and what did he develop? Well, Ellis developed a four part model. His A, B, C, D Theory of Emotions and it puts YOU right on the leading edge.

A: is the activating Event or Situation. In other words, “shit happens” but he says that the event itself does not make you angry, sad or worried. Rather it is YOUR interpretation of that event. “Shit” he say’s, just happens….

B: is your belief system. Yes, your values about what just happened. They include your shoulds, your should nots as well as your musts. All the “stuff” you place on yourself and others. All that self talk you do automatically.

Ellis believes that only YOU make yourself unhappy and you do that by what you tell yourself. He says that beliefs, though logical, can be irrational.

These irrational beliefs, along with too high expectations, are the culprits of emotional trauma as they are inconsistent with reality.

When these beliefs are not in sync with the reality, they lead to disabling feelings and emotions such as of helplessness, hopelessness, anger and depression.

C: is the consequence. The result of what happened due to the situation. It is also how you “feel” about this event based on your own self-talk. Yes, two things. The consequence of the situation or event (behavior) as well as the consequence you set up in your own mind (disabling emotion).

D: is the dispute. This is the confrontation you use to fight the irrational beliefs that propelled you towards the anger, the depression, the worry or the inadequacy. It is here you need to argue with the thoughts that are upsetting you and express the feelings that are underneath the Disabling Emotions...

Basically, you confront them and tell them to go away. You have to tell yourself, “Yes, I can accept what I can’t change.” “Shit does happen, even to good people.” “I can accept it; I don’t have to like it.” Simple yet effective; No, I did not say it was easy, just simple.

We often defend ourselves by blaming others when things don’t go our way, when they are not what we want or how we want them. When this happens we need to use a technique where you interrupt and depute the negative trash thoughts and emotions. This confrontation is called “Thought Stopping”. It is where you keep watch of yourself throughout the day.Yes, throughout the day.  It is not a one stop shop.

It is here you become aware of the negativity in both your thoughts and emotions. It is here you examine your beliefs and expectations about yourself and others. It is here you sit back and take a good inventory of you.  It is difficult because most of us do not want to take a good hard look at "ME".  We would rather look at others.

How do you do this? Well, you sort of have to “take a strong grip on your frontal lobes” the next time something bad happens that something upsets you. Yes, I’m talking about your “mind”. I know, you are not even sure you have mind let alone a strong grip but I assure you, you do..

You can stop that emotional roller coaster that tries to control your life. You start by taking control of the ups and downs that seem to drive your emotions. No, you can’t change what happened but you can have influence on how they affect you.

You can make a conscious choice to break all the negative, damaging beliefs and thoughts that bind you to the situation; the quicksand that pulls you down and traps you like a Louisiana Bog. You can become aware of what your self talk whispers about what is happening and going on around you. You can shift your focus.

You can confront irrational beliefs and you can express your feelings. You can also choose your behavior and how you react to the situation. You can also change your self talk, your cognition's and redefine your labels. Isn’t it time you become the master of your own mind and not let an emotional run-a-way train rule you?

Remember, your mind only works when you work it. Yes, shit happens but it is up to you what happens next? Life….!

Isn’t it time to be an active player instead of a reactive one?

As always, there is a choice…. And again, I’ve made mine…..What are you going to do?

The choice is YOURS.

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