You Are What You Think
Well, it's a week and a half into the New Year. How's your resolve holding up?
When people launch into the traditional weight loss effort at the beginning of a new year, that effort is very often based on a new gadget, a new diet, a new activity, and--for a while, at least--a new attitude.
The trouble is that the attitude is the most important tool, yet it's almost always the first to go. In fact, it's often more perishable than any of the fresh fruits and vegetables it probably came with. But without the right thinking, all that healthy food isn't going to help much.
People deeply underestimate the importance of attitude in their weight-loss efforts. Most just stoically figure that when the initial enthusiasm fades, they'll soldier on through sheer force of will.
But positive thinking isn't just having a cheerful focus or hopeful outlook that could just as easily be replaced with a stern resolve. Positive thinking is actually about our mental and emotional programming, it's about having habits and skills for supporting both our enthusiasm and our will!
Real Brain Power
Each of us responds to events in our lives according to how we understand and interpret what is happening to us. This is known as cognitive behavior.
Sometimes it seems like it doesn't matter if we understand what's good for us; we don't do it anyway. We stay stuck in the behaviors we're already programmed with. Of course, a dramatic shift in our beliefs can sometimes immediately change our behavior. For instance, one dog bite could permanently reprogram your attitude about pooches. You might decide to never pet another pup, and not even much miss it.
How much easier it would be to lose weight if that muffin bit back!
Fortunately, there's a lot of research showing that cognitive behavior therapies can also help people consciously change the way they think, to such an extent that they can produce not only new behaviors, but even biological changes in their bodies.
Brain scan technologies have been terrific in showing the dramatic differences cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has been able to produce for people struggling with everything from insomnia to panic attacks to addiction--very often as well or better than pharmaceutical treatments for the same problems.
And the effectiveness of using specific thinking tools has proven out in treatment of more specifically physical problems, as well, including hypertension and irritable bowel syndrome. CBT has even been shown to extend remissions and improve life expectancy for cancer survivors.
With that kind of potential, it's easy to see why we say that if you want to change your body, you've got to change your mind.
Set Your Mind in Action
And that's not just changing your beliefs. You've got to change your thinking habits.
If our brain perceives something as difficult, we respond in a particular way, both consciously and subconsciously. If our brain perceives that same thing as actually dangerous, we've got another set of responses for that.
But ask any performer, athlete or soldier, and they'll affirm that if the brain tells us, "This is a worthwhile challenge, and you can do it," that more positive mindset is far more likely to produce a winning attitude and a positive result.
By making choices to change our conscious thoughts, we can change our subconscious inclinations.