04 Dec Our health & happiness depends on the quality of our thoughts
Check out this great blog by my good friend Faustina Agolley…
Our health and happiness depends on the quality of our thoughts. So simple. So true. Yet some of us a lot of time time find it difficult. I’ve been there. Boy have I been there. I’ve seen my friends, family, people I’ve met recently here in Los Angeles either miserable or kind of happy but hitting a rut. So I wanted to share with you some things I’ve learnt in the past few years and particularly over the past few months that have made my thoughts better and therefore made me a much happier person. [This is the disclaimer part where I'm telling you to not entirely rely on me to medicate you, so please don't make my perceptions or ideas professional advice, consult your local doctor. Oh and this is French Bulldog, Arrow by the way. I met him on Melrose and thought this picture may help lure you in to read this. Who doesn't love a cute dog?]
HOW INCREDIBLE OUR BRAINS ARE. AN ACE STORY TO GIVE YOU CONTEXT
My fascination about how our mind works was sparked from a book suggested by an old mate’s Dad. Ray had finished reading The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph by psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, MD. Ray gave it a glowing review a few Christmases ago and it’s one of very few non-fiction books that has left a firm impression on me. The essence of the book is that our brains are capable of changing, sometimes even drastically, and for the better.
One of the best examples in Doidge’s book was about Catalan poet and scholar, Pedro Bach-y-Rita. Pedro was 65 years old when he suffered from a severe stroke that left him disabled. Pedro lost his ability to walk and talk. One of his sons, George, loved his ‘Papa’ so much that he taught him how to walk and talk again. Beyond the typical rehab he was given, George took his Papa home with him. George’s theory? Teach him like he’s a baby and start from the beginning. Speech was starting with basic sounds to whole words to sentences. To walk he got him to crawl, with kneepads and often supported my a wall on Pedro’s weakest side. New synapses fired up in undamaged parts of George’s brain. Papa got a new lease on life, he went back to full time teaching at City College, New York and ended up climbing mountains.
So if countless of stories of brain and practical training can make us do brilliant things such as recover from stroke, surely our thoughts can change for a happier and healthier life? I think so.
HOW TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF OUR THOUGHTS. A PRACTICAL APPROACH
Doidge’s book touches on it though his book his greatly weighted on medical conditions and more serious human behaviours.
I want to shift the discussion back to more everyday issues that so many of us come across – negative, depressed, unhelpful thoughts that leave us feeling low on life and for some of us stuck in bed, anxious not being able to live life to its full potential. There’s only so many positive quotes one can read on Facebook and Twitter and I’m sure at times when you’re feeling the lowest of low that stuff seems to just wash over you.
In May this year I met Tim Sharp all from a retweet of… well … one of his quotes. On Twitter he’s Dr. Happy. Tim is based in Sydney and is the leading expert in happiness and positive psychology. My curiosity made me meet with him. Tim has a lot of literature on positive psychology but a lot of it, which he encourages, needs to be practiced. So Tim’s work is quite the opposite of lying down and pouring out one’s sadness and worries – it’s much like the elbow grease of George and Pedro.
Here’s the essential excerpt that comes from one of his books The Happiness Handbook. Tim catagorised 10 types of Automatic Negative Thoughts a lot of us generally have. The practice comes from after reading this, writing your thoughts down for a couple of minutes twice and day and then analysing your thoughts according to his guide, recognising it then reminding yourself to think about every day situations differently…
…keep reading Faustina's great blog HERE