Posts Tagged ‘negative beliefs’

The Scientific Method Can Flaw Our Thinking

Picture from “The Scientific Method Today”: http://scientificmethod.com/

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My friend had suffered from severe depression for many years. One day he came to me and asked for advice.

“I have tried everything out there,” he said, “and nothing works.”

“What have you tried?” I asked. He got his fingers out, and started in with his list.

The first five fingers

“First, I tried antidepressants, several different kinds; gave it a good sincere try for many months. No help. Gave them up.

“Second, I tried vitamins and minerals, many different kinds; gave it a sincere try for many months. Didn’t work. Stopped taking them

“Third, I tried exercise, many different kinds; sincere try; strenuous; many months. Felt better immediately after workouts. Didn’t seem to last long-term. Seemed no real point in continuing that huge effort.

“Fourth, meditation. Have you any idea how many different kinds there are out there? Really went at this. Long effort. Tried really hard. Didn’t help. No point in going on with no results, eh? I did find some comfort in the stillness and quietness of the mind sometimes. Didn’t last.

“Fifth, tried music. Gentle  music. Kept this up for a long time. I did enjoy listening to the music. Didn’t lift my depression permanently though. Stopped listening. Kinda sad, eh?

The second five fingers

“Sixth [he had to switch to his other hand], enzymes. I had heard that dysbiosis can cause brain problems. Gave it a proper trial. Did settle my gut down a lot. I enjoyed eating more. Didn’t help my depression though. So I stopped that. Enzymes can be expensive if you take as many of them with every meal as you are supposed to do.

” Seventh came positive thinking and repetitive self-affirmations. Looked on the bright side of everything even though things were really awful. Kept telling myself that I was OK endlessly. On and on and on. Know what? I didn’t believe that crap. After an interminable period of time, I stopped. What a relief!

“Eighth, socialization. I was told I had too few friends and that I didn’t get out and socialize enough. That was why I was so morose all the time. So I gave it the old college try, eh? Found a few new friends. Really enjoyed their friendship. Tried to go out every week and socialize. What agony! I think it  made me even more depressed, although I don’t think that’s possible. Finally, after doing this like what seemed forever, I finally realized that this was definitely not lifting my depression, so I stopped the agony and stayed home where I was more comfortable, eh? I was less depressed at home. What’s the matter with solitude anyway?

“Ninth came EFT [Emotional Freedom Technique]. The big Kahuna. This guy said it would fix me up in no time. So I started in with this, even though I didn’t think it would help. You tap your head and body in various places and repeat the same boring words over and over again. This is supposed to get your energy moving and clear out your depression. Stupid technique. I kept at it for awhile and got no results. No point in going on if you don’t get any results, eh?

” Tenth. I tried punching a bag and yelling a lot. Get the anger out, eh? Felt good. Really good. I pounded the living daylights out of that bag for weeks. Didn’t help. No real value in yelling at a bag if you go back to being just as depressed as you were before, right?

Running out of fingers

“Eleventh . . . ” [he ran out of fingers, and was still going to plow on . . . ]

I raised my hand as a signal for a possible pause . . . he sighed deeply . . . and let his long list die a premature death. I was proud of him. He had suffered unspeakable agony and it really wasn’t my place to deny him the full list of things he had tried without success.

“Do you want to hear about my experience with depression?” I gently queried.

“Yes.”

“Depression is the natural result of unwanted circumstances.”

“What!?”

Science and the one variable approach

“The scientific  method has a tendency to teach us to look for one variable that will resolve the riddle we are grappling with . . . uh . . .  the riddle with which we are grappling. [Gotta follow the rule about a sentence not ending with a preposition, eh? :o]

“We tend to work pretty hard to find the ‘one magic bullet’ that will permanently resolve the presenting issue.”

I went on: “If you had continued on with some of the things that you tried, and added some new ideas (like dancing, say, or maybe walking in the woods) and continued on with some of them, you would probably be well ahead of yourself by now, maybe even well.”

Free Butterfly Screensaver - The dazzling beauty of these unique  creatures really makes you think about the treasures that

This butterfly was once a caterpillar. Photo from: http://www.files32.com/Free-Butterfly-Screensaver-i68639.asp

Forest Waterfall. Photo from: http://free-beautiful-nature-screensaver.smartcode.com/screenshot.html

http://free-beautiful-nature-screensaver.smartcode.com/images/sshots/free_beautiful_nature_screensaver_29116.jpeg

Placid Lake. Wander in the woods and along the streams and lakes . . . see them . . . feel them . . . smell them . . . drink them in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Photo from: http://www.filetransit.com/screenshot.php?id=26272 …………………………………………………………………………………………….

I decided to take another tack:

“Let’s put it this way. I think it was Justice Brandeis who said something like this:

‘If we would just realize that life is difficult, things would go a lot easier for us’.

“Whatcha mean?”

So I suggested he put in place–permanently–this “medical model”:

Step one: Start low.

Step two: Go slow.

Step three: Don’t stop.

Step four: Add new ideas.

Step five: Repeat above steps.

[Five steps is all the fingers on one hand, right?] 😮

Depression is a many-splendored thing. It’s a multi-variable problem. It yields to a multi-factor approach.

Would it surprise you to learn that my severely-depressed friend got better?

Gradually . . . step by step . . .  over time . . . glorious time.

To your happy health!

Doc Meek, May 5, 2010, at Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; not at South Jordan, Utah, USA

Unhappiness is a learned behavior

The PVR.jpgPhoto from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Unhappiness is a learned behavior

I was listening to CBC Radio Canada this morning (it may have been the “Broken Social Scene” program) and someone said:

“It is easy to be unhappy; it is not easy to be happy.”

True.

Both unhappiness and happiness are learned behaviors.

The news is almost always negative

If you listen to the news upon awakening each day and watch the news just before you retire, you are probably reinforcing the learned behavior of distress about the harsh realities “out there.” If you work at this (and most of us do), we are chronically upset and unhappy. You may even wish you could run away.

The problem is, “Everywhere you go, there you are.”

Once we internalize external realities, we tend to carry them with us wherever we go.

“Carry” is the operative word. “Drop them” is the operative solution.

You have little or no control over the realities “out there,” the external circumstances if you like.

You cannot control the weather “out there.”

The weather inside your head

You can control the weather inside your head, in your brain circuits. Here you do have control.

You’ve learned well how to be not happy. It’s easy. You may not have learned how to be happy . . . yet.

Marci Shimoff, in her book Happy for No Reason, gives us insight on how to begin to escape the tyranny of external circumstances. She interviewed all kinds of people from all walks of life and selected what she came to call her “Happy Hundred,” because they seemed to have learned how to be happy, even in our not-so-pleasant world.

Marci’s “Happy Hundred” had very little in common, except that they had learned how to be happy. One of these ‘Happy Hundred,” when asked how he did his seeming miracle, responded readily:

“I am grateful for everything; I have no complaints whatsoever.”

I was so stunned when I read this I was in shock.

I remembered my legacy as an Irishman:

” ‘E don’t know what ‘e wants, and e’s not gonna be happy ’til ‘e gets it.” 😮

I vowed then and there that if this guy could do this outrageous thing (be happy), I could learn how to do it too!

Turns out this guy actually lives this credo; he actually walks his talk. Imagine! Grateful for everything, good and not good. His unwavering conviction is as follows:

(1) Gratitude about everything (“good” and “bad”) keeps him from departing from happiness; he simply waits for the upside lesson to come out of a downside event. And he also simply waits for the downside aspect of every upside event. Calmness prevails either way.

(2) No complaints, either way, keeps him bulletproof. No complaints, no unhappiness.

Does this guy live in a cave? No. He very much lives in the real world, and observes, if you ask him:

“You can’t do anything about most external problems anyway,” says he. “And if  you can do something, do it; no point in getting upset; doesn’t help solve anything, as far as I can see.” This guy was well liked of course. No shortage of friends.

Me? I’m working on it. Working on what? My shortage of friends. 😮

Doc Meek, April 30, 2010

Sherwood Park, Alberta, CANADA; South Jordan, Utah, USA

Our negative beliefs tend to dictate our behavior

Morty Lefkoe is a reputable practitioner who has helped numerous people improve their lives dramatically by helping them to change their negative or self-limiting beliefs. Now he has added a new helpful twist: you can change your personal meaning of something and your behavior, even if you don’t change your negative beliefs. Wow. Nice. I think they used to call it “will power” or “commitment.” :o) Still, nice to know I am not an automatic victim of my self-limiting beliefs, eh? Here is Morty’s blog on the subject:

http://www.mortylefkoe.com/030910/?awt_l=884UB&awt_m=1gEbNNMgtpopOv

Blessings, Doc Meek

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