(2019-08-11) Barker This Is How To Rewire Your Brain For Happiness4 Secrets From Research

Eric Barker: This Is How To Rewire Your Brain For Happiness: 4 Secrets From Research. “Think happy thoughts” doesn’t help unless you don’t need help... cognitive therapy (CBT )— suggests that the individual’s problems are derived largely from certain distortions of reality based on erroneous premises and assumptions

these techniques are proven to help with all kinds of issues from procrastination to anxiety to anger.

We’re gonna get some solid answers from Dr. Matthew McKay’s “Thoughts and Feelings” and even roll psychologically old school with UPenn professor Aaron Beck’s 1979 classic “Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders.”

Cognitive Therapy 101

“Thoughts determine feelings.”

if you change your thoughts, you can change your feelings.

The old grey matter goes way too far and “better safe than sorry” becomes “better safe than anything.”

That’s our first step… Listen... Next time you react to something with an inappropriate level of sadness, anxiety or fear — just freeze. Stop.

ask yourself: What automatic thoughts led up to these feelings? What unspoken rules are they supporting?

How true is this?

Aaron Beck talks about making a distinction between “I believe” (an opinion that is subject to validation) and “I know” (an irrefutable fact).

Let’s look at the 8 most common errors

Your rules and automatic thoughts may be idiosyncratic but they’re far from random. In fact, the errors they suffer from usually fall into just a handful of categories.

1) Filtering

This is when you focus on the negative and ignore the positive

Plan of attack? You need to change your focus to the legitimate good aspects of the situation. Force yourself to list all the positives.

2) Polarized thinking

Seeing everything as black and white.

correct this tendency by making yourself evaluate in percentages: “80% of this is awful but 20% is pretty good.”

3) Overgeneralization

Extreme words like “all,” “every,” “none,” “never,” “always,” “everybody,” and “nobody” are a tip off that you’re overgeneralizing. (sombunall)

4) Mind reading

Much like with filtering, you want to generate alternatives. Why else might Sarah be frowning? Could be hemorrhoids. Sarah doesn’t hate you. Sarah has butt problems.

Or you can try this incredible technique: Just ask Sarah why she’s frowning.

5) Catastrophizing

When you always jump to the worst possible scenario, that’s catastrophizing

You conquer catastrophizing by being a bookie. Assess the odds. If you had to bet real money

6) Magnifying

Every molehill becomes a mountain.

Plan of attack here is reminding yourself of specific examples of when you handled situations that were far worse.

7) Personalization

This is when you assume everything people do or say is some kind of negative reaction to you.

Most things are not about you because, in the grand scheme of things, you’re not that important.

8) “Shoulds”

rules you make about how other people or the world is “supposed” to behave

And there are also shoulds we put on ourselves: I should always be the best. I should always be the perfect friend/parent/spouse. I should never get upset or feel hurt. And a zillion others no mortal can ever live up to.

Plan of attack? First, you are not in charge of the universe so stop expecting your fiats to have any effect whatsoever on other people’s behavior. People aren’t frustrating you; your absurd expectations are.

Rewiring In Progress

Catch it in the act of making the error and let your prosecutor go all Law and Order on it:

Now it won’t go that simply the first time out. Your brain will try all kinds of tricks. But the important thing is to not accept its automatic responses as gospel. Don’t fight the feelings — argue logic and evidence against the underlying thought

keep that new thought as a mantra for future court battles. “People are rarely late because they died. They’re late because of something innocuous that isn’t worth getting upset over.”

Sum Up

Automatic thoughts are frustrating — but don’t get angry with them

Your brain does not hate you. It’s trying to help. Again, it’s like an overly concerned parent that wants to protect you from pain. So instead of declaring all-out war with the thoughts in your head (that’s the express train to crazytown, by the way) it’s far better to treat them like the overbearing parent they are. Thank them for their input. Then calmly go through the rewiring process.

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