I have a question for you that may either get your gears going or get your gears grinding metal on metal:
Do you think that it is in your power to CHOOSE to feel happy? or sad? or anxious? or (fill in the blank)….OR do you believe that the circumstances in your life dictate how you feel?
The truth is, while the circumstance in our lives can be very challenging, it is actually HOW WE CHOOSE TO VIEW these circumstances that result in how we feel.
In all fairness, the word “CHOOSE” may be a bit strong, because more often than not, the way we typically view our circumstances is an “automatic” process, more of a habit than a choice. And these habits of thinking we learn from those around us and through our years of experience living, as we try to find the best way we know how to cope with and metabolize life.
The great news is that we can teach ourselves to “CHOOSE” and practice new ways of viewing the world. By intentionally practicing such new habits for about 30 days, we can actually begin to notice real differences in our reactions and in how we feel. AND, if we continue to exercise our muscles of changing our perceptions of life for about 3-4 months, these changes can become part of the basic infrastructure of our neurological system—where even the structure and mass of certain parts of our brain can show noticeable positive changes—This is so exciting!
Research in the neurosciences over the past 15-20 years has been particularly revolutionary, opening up new reasons for hope. Now we know that many emotional challenges that previously seemed to be virtual life-sentences for less-optimal functioning may in fact be malleable, and sometimes even reversible.
Of course, being an integrative wellness professional, I love exploring the multitude of pathways and resources to improve emotional, cognitive and physical functioning. How we think (our habituated/automatic cognitive patterns are one very important factor. Combined with other lifestyle habits (many of which we have many options and opportunities to enhance) around the food and other substances we invite into our bodies, the ways we move our bodies through space, and the company that we keep (with ourselves and others), all play a part in our resultant life experience.
I hope that you enjoy experimenting with switching up your lenses, if you feel inspired to do so! If you do, feel free to comment below or otherwise share with me about your experiences of doing so!
***This video is dedicated to you, Joe Palicki! I love you so much and hope you enjoy my reminiscences of you and our Grade 11 English class at Alta Loma High School—all those years ago! 🙂