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The Enemy Within: How to Stop Standing in Your Own Way

Updated: Mar 8, 2021

by Dr. Jean

Curiously, we already know the destination that will bring us happiness, but our worries, concerns and negative self-thoughts prevent us from going there. In our mind, we construct potential gates and future barriers that we dare not trespass. Worries limit the breadth of our lives. Unhappiness brings us to the brink of our self-created slippery slope. This slippery slope of increasing disappointment and loneliness is created for us by us. We already recognize that the slippery slope only spirals downward, but we focus and refocus on it. Our concentration is seemingly out of control. We pay dearly for the unhappiness created during that downward journey to negativity and anxiety.

Is Our Mental Turmoil Self-inflicted?

Imprisoned by self-imposed bars, we are our own cruelest jailor. We keep ourselves, moment to moment, from emerging into a fulfilling life. In the words of the Dalai Lama “We need to learn how to want what we have, not to have what we want in order to get steady and stable happiness.” Simple to say, but much more difficult to attain.

The Unquiet Mind.

In your own experience, how many times each and every day do you want your mind to “quiet down and be at peace”? We meander in a world where questioning thoughts steal away the potential joy of everyday living. For some it may even seem that these drifting thoughts are our most common companion. Knowingly but uncontrollably, we focus on them and upset the harmony and balance of our day. Struggling through limiting beliefs, rising concerns and bloated worries only serves to exaggerate and confirm our growing anxiety. Sometimes negativity, through repetition, is featured in our mind as full-blown catastrophes. When any or all of this happens, unhappiness certainly follows.

What Does Negative Self-Talk Have to Do with Joy and Happiness?

In their article on happiness, MA Killingsworth and DT Gilbert1. noted that humans focus on things that are not present and perhaps may not even exist. We focus on a vast array of potential things; thoughts that may occur or thoughts that might be. The mind wanders about half the time we are awake. Indeed, they found that the wandering mind can concentrate on creating negative and unpleasant thoughts. Highly significant, they found that independent of the activities that the individuals were doing, wandering thoughts lead to a greater amount of unhappiness, p<0.001. Indeed, the authors suggest that …… “mind wandering in the sample was generally the cause, and not merely the consequence, of unhappiness1.”.

Getting Out of Your Own Way.

Think about a time when you were “in the zone”. Your attention was precise and totally devoid of any wandering thoughts. Your concentration was totally in the moment, focused in the present and without pre-judgements. In cognitive behavioral hypnosis, this is the “ah-hah” moment; the moment when the conscious mind frees up the subconscious to allow new behaviors. This change opens the door to happiness. Fortunately, this state of mind can be guided and increased through practice. Is now the time to get out of your own way and let your positivity and optimism shine through? Bring back the happiness that you so richly deserve. This may be the precise moment to foster the clarity and focus that ultimately will lead you back to your own joy and happiness.

1.MA Killingsworth and DT Gilbert. (2010) A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind. Science vol. 330, pg. 932.

Jean Eljay, PhD, MS, CMT, AdvHC, CH, NLPC. Any questions or comments or to schedule a consultation, please contact Dr. Jean at 484.574.1144 or Email at Office Location: 800 West Main Street Suite #201 Freehold, NJ 07728


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