Thursday, July 23, 2009

Overcoming Challenges

"Learn as if you were to live forever.
Live as if you were to die tomorrow"-Chandler
I just received my monthly magazine from my licensure professional organization, on the cover I was caught by an article entitled, "Overcoming Challenges" and it seems like my organization knows what I've been through because I was thinking of blogging a topic pertaining to challenges we encounter in life. One author (whom I forgot the name...oopps) says, "challenges are the key ingredients of life because without it we won't be able to grow and learn" which I attest is really true. We learn by experience and we become stronger through experience. But what is the best way to overcome challenges and end up being a winner? The best answer is by exercising the power of positive thinking. On my monthly magazine, Karen Appold, a freelance writer, cited these techniques on how to think positively.

Be Creative, Live for Today. As to Chandler, an author of motivational books, says that being creative is a better response method than being reactive. Because by being creative and building an inner strength through outer work and getting better at what you do, you can increase your strength daily and can build up your inner strength. Chandler added, the more we focus on doing our own best work and staying in action to fulfill our personal goals, the better we are for others.
My insight: I truly believe that creativeness leads to everything. By all means creativeness came from a root word "create" then why do we always have to focus on how to destroy ourselves when we're in the midst of chaos? Destroy here means we focus on creating negative reactions and emotions into a situation we thought we can't solve. Well, I have learned long time ago that for every problem there is always a solution only if we are being creative rather than being reactive. After all, we do not know what life has to bring us for tomorrow then why don't we just spend "today" in a worthy way. As Chandler says, "live as if there is no tomorrow."

Replace Worry With Action. If you respond to problems by worrying about them, then it will reduce your own mood and energy and turn yourself into someone with low self-esteem, says Chandler. Worry is a misuse of imagination. The imagination is better used to imagine action you could take now. Getting into that habit increases self-esteem and raises your energy level and love of life. How do we stop ourselves from worrying? Karen Reivich, Ph.D., co-author of the book, "Resilience Factor:Seven Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life's Hurdles, presented these steps the ABC's of worry: Adversities, Beliefs, Consequences. She advised, try to identify which adversities make you stumble. Which button pushers send you reeling? In any situation, your thoughts in the heat of the moment are your ticker tape beliefs. The consequences are your feelings and actions that follow from these beliefs. Once you can identify your ticker tape beliefs, you can change your feelings and behavior.
My insight: In a simpler way, For every problem we encounter, our initial and instant reaction is worrying! We became more focused on the problem itself and not on the outside of the box. What about if we try to create a simple positive exit solution first rather than worrying every little detail of what went wrong? Wheew..I am guilty on this one..tsk..tsk.. Anyway, I believe that if we do create one simple positive thought or plan for any problem we have, we then could stop ourselves being worried or emotionally disturbed. We all know that we could do better than worrying, right?

Causes of Pessimism. Some ways of thinking can cause pessimism. One example would be if when something goes wrong, you have a natural tendency to believe that it is your entire fault. Dr. Reivich called this as personalizing. Another cause of pessimism results from over-generalizing, which is also known as the character assassination trap. This means that you view everything at the level of character. By over-generalizing, you think the worst of people which makes both you and them feel bad. Or, if you over-generalize about yourself, you feel crummy, as Dr. Reivich explains. Other cause of pessimism is the tunnel vision, this occurs when you pay attention to one detail and ignore others. To fix these problems, figure out how your mind works under pressure and challenge your beliefs. Once you identify your ticker tape beliefs, you can anticipate how you will react.
My insight: Here are scenarios where we usually apply these behaviors: Tanna's boss gives her last minute assignments with tight deadlines, she then concluded that her boss is lazy and doesn't have herself together. Instead of thinking that there might be another reason for her boss' behavior, such as she is overworked she reacts on her negatively. In this scenario, Tanna is over-generalizing his boss and the whole situation. Say, her boss returns the project and says that it looked good excerpt that she needs to make a few changes to Appendix A, she had concluded that she did a horrible job on the project. As a result, she felt picked on, angry and anxious.

Challenge Beliefs, Think Positively. When seeking to challenge your beliefs, generate alternatives as Dr. Reivich advises. For example, does one mistake in one appendix really mean that Tanna did the whole project horribly? It is really important to look for evidence to counter-act what is known as the "confirmation bias," which is the tendency to only see the evidence that supports initial beliefs. If you are a pessimistic thinker, another method is to indulge yourself in creating the worse possible scenario, For example, : I could make a typo, get fired and my spouse would leave me because he thinks I am a loser." Now, generate an equally outlandish best case scenario, "My boss won't even notice the typo, I'll get a promotion and I'll take over the company." Dr. Reivich furthermore says beliefs drive moods and behavior, so if you think positively, your energy level will increase, you will think more creatively, you will come up with innovative solutions to problems and your stress level will decrease.
My insight: I have an inspirational book I bought 4 years ago when I was experiencing another blow in my life, one page have this passage: "Today you stand on a mountaintop...behind you are all the challenges you conquered on the way; before you lies a new horizon filled with exciting possibilities. Today you choose the direction of your life." So why would we choose to react negatively if how we react today lies our tomorrow?

Evaluation: The First Step. Dr. Reivich, Dr. Michael Irwin and Norman Cousins, a psychiatry professor, all believes that an evaluation is an important step in preventing negative thinking. Dr. Irwin stated that someone who reports negative thoughts and feelings may suffer from depression. Evaluation of the presence of depression is needed to determine whether biological and/or psychological treatments are necessary to ameliorate these negative thoughts. He further says that cognitive behavioral treatments can make a person change his/her thoughts into a positive outlook because it focuses the development of coping skills designed to reduce the impact of stressful life events and depressive symptoms. Social support enhancement is also an important aspect to improving emotional awareness and clarity. Lastly, one should clarify his/her life goals and implement strategies to augment the pursuit and attainment of the goals, thereby improving personal mastery. autonomy and choice.
My insight: After evaluating ourselves, we should learn how to say NO to negative emotions. Coping up with depression in only a matter of choice. There are times that depression could eat us up but we have think about tomorrow, do we opt to stay a loser or a winner? Try this, "Think BIG, if you can't think BIGGER!" A passage from an inspirational booklet entitled, "Believe and Achieve."

Why Thinking Positive Works. Evidence exists that certain positive states can promote both mental and physical well-being says Dr. Irwin. Optimism is one of the best-studied positive states, and good evidence exists that optimist use more effective coping strategies and report less distress when confronted with stressful life events, such as cancer diagnosis. In addition to that, evidence shows that optimist have more active natural killer (NK) cells and higher CD4 T cells, these two cells play a very important role in establishing and maximizing the capabilities of our immune system, compared to a pessimist during a stressful event.
My insight: To be successful to all our endeavors, the power of positive thinking is a necessity. A passage from Emerson says, "We find in life exactly what we put into it." With this thought, guarding our thoughts is also an important aspect. Why? This article explains it all.

No comments:

Post a Comment