Friday, January 27, 2012

Change your brain, change your life

The title of this post is a title of a book I just finished by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.  It was a fascinating look at the behavioral sabotage we go through and how that may be linked to various parts of the brain.  I needed to put my notes somewhere so I can refer to them later, and this was as good a place as any!

Limbic System therapy

1. Take responsibility for keeping the relationship strong. Don't be a person who blames his or her partner or friends for the relationship problems. Take responsibility for the relationship and look for what you can do to improve it. You'll feel empowered, and the relationship is likely to improve almost immediately.

2. Never take the relationship for granted. In order for relationships to be special, they need constant nurturing. Relationships suffer when they get put low on the priority list of time and attention. Focusing on what you want in a relationship is essential to making it happen.

3. Protect your relationship. A surefire way to doom a relationship is to discount, belittle, or degrade the other person. Protect your relationships by building up the other person.

4. Assume the best. Whenever there is a question of motivation or intention, assume the best about the other person. This will help his or her behavior to actually be more positive.

5. Keep the relationship fresh. When relationships become stale or boring, they become vulnerable to erosion. Stay away from "the same old thing" by looking for new and different ways to add life to your relationships.

6. Notice the good. It's very easy to notice what you do not like about a relationship. That's almost our nature. It takes real effort to notice what you like. When you spend more time noticing the positive aspects of the relationship, you're more likely to see an increase in positive behavior.

7. Communicate clearly. Take time to really listen and understand what other people say to you. Don't react to what you think people mean; ask them what they mean and then formulate a response.

8. Maintain and protect trust. So many relationships fall apart after there has been a major violation of trust. Often hurts in the present remind us of major traumas in the past and we blow them way out of proportion. Once a violation of trust has occurred, try to understand why it happened.

9. Deal with difficult issues. Whenever you give in to another person to avoid a fith, you give away a little of your power. If you do this over time you give away a lot of power and begin to resent the relationship. Avoiding conflict in the short run often has devastating long term effects. In a firm but kind way, stick up for what you think is right. It will help keep the relationship balanced.

10. Make time for each other. In our busy lives, time is often the first thing to suffer in our important relationships. Relationships require real time in order to function.

Basal Ganglia therapy

1. Don't give in to the anger of others just because it makes you uncomfortable.

2. Don't allow the opinions of others to control how you feel about yourself. Your opinion, within reason, needs to be the one that counts.

3. Say what you mean and stick up for what you believe is right.

4. Maintain self-control.

5. Be kind, if possible, but above all be firm in your stance.

One Page Miracle

Take one sheet of paper and clearly write out your major goals using the following main headings: Relationships, Work, Money and Myself. Under Relationships, write the subheadings: spouse, children, extended family and friends. Under Work, write current and future work goals, and include a section on how you want to get along with your employer. Under Money, write your current and future financial goals. Under Myself, write out body, mind, spirit and interests.

Next to each subheading, clearly write out what's important to you in that area --> write what you WANT, not what you don't want. Be positive and write in the first person. Keep a copy with you for several days so you can work on it over time. After you finish the initial draft, place this OPM where you can see it daily. Your life will become more conscious and you will spend your energy on goals that are important to you.

Cingulate Ganglia therapy

When you are bothered by repetitive negative thoughts, memorize and repeat the Serenity Prayer (attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr).

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, enjoying one memont at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking as Jesus did this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that you will make all things right if I surrender to your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you in the next.