By Loretta LaRoche
We are all bound to have negative thoughts. It’s just part of what makes us human. However, there’s a point where increasing the intensity of a situation when it’s clearly not that important can make your life a living hell. Our lives are somewhat akin to a movie and we are the directors. You can opt to have a script that leaves you feeling frightened, disillusioned, and lacking in energy, or you can encourage yourself to become more involved in optimistic explanatory style.
The above sentence sounds rather ponderous, but it is merely a model that was invented by Dr. Martin Seligman to help people feel more hopeful about their lives. He points to the fact that pessimists use the three P’s to explain themselves: personalization (“It always happens to me!”), pervasiveness (“It happens to me every day in every way!”), and permanence (“It will never end!”).
This practically guarantees a life that contains a feeling of hopelessness and suffering. it also contributes to a sense of inner worthlessness and a lack of self-control. The more we think we are a certain way, the more we become that way. Our thinking is also predicated on our biology, and those of us who have a brain that is skewed more towards anxiety and depression will have to work harder at changing their thinking patterns.
If we go around believing that we’re a failure, then before long, no matter what we do, we fail, for our intention is to not succeed. My mother had a hugely pessimistic side. When my career was humming along and I had gotten my first book deal, instead of encouragement and pride at my accomplishments, she cornered me one day and said “What do you think you’re going to do when people don’t laugh anymore?” I was dumbfounded, but realized that she had spent her life hedging her bets. She had practiced thinking the worst so that if something horrific happened she wouldn’t be disappointed.
If it’s one thing I know for sure after thirty years of teaching stress management is that changing our behavior is very difficult, because behavior follows our thoughts. There are a plethora of techniques on how to change our thinking so that we can feel healthier, happier, and more successful, but how many people are willing to take the time to do them?
If you are, I suggest you start slowly, by simply recalling those times in your life when you overcame adversity. What did you do to survive them and go on? The fact that you made it speaks to resiliency. You are able to bounce back from life’s inevitable ups and downs. In other words, you have survived your life.
Loretta LaRoche is an award winning, acclaimed speaker, author and international stress expert and humor consultant who has evoked wit and irreverent humor on her audience for over 30 years. Using humor to reframe a stressful situation, Loretta captures a new perspective on the difficult parts of life. Her teaching style, credibility and incontestable humor are integral parts to her compelling presence.
She is founder and president of The Humor Potential, Inc, a company offering programs and products for life style management. Loretta’s special brand of optimistic psychology has an undeniable positive effect on the health of all that are exposed to her.
As an acclaimed author, she has toured with the Hay House, “I Can Do It!”conferences. She is a well-recognized Hay House best-selling author of 8 books. For more information, including how to book Loretta for your next event or education conference, please visit her website: https://www.lorettalaroche.com
Reprinted from the March 2019 edition of the South Shore Senior News.