Article by Irving Schattner
Edit and post design by Christy Zigweid
Photo by Unsplash via Pixabay made using @WordSwagApp
Our brains are constantly working. Neurons are firing and chemicals are released and absorbed, leading to thoughts, emotions, and actions. Whether we are in a state of motion, standing still or sleeping, our brains accommodate to ever-changing circumstances and states of consciousness. As much as we may try to convince ourselves of the need to slow down the process of brain function, there are elements of biology and conditioning that dictate the flow of energy circulating up the spine into our brain and down to our organs. That is a given.
What is less of a given is the extent to which we can exercise control over our brain and, therefore, bodily organs. The extent to which we are able to exert conscious control over mind and body can be dictated by a number of factors. One factor is how aware we are of what we think and feel. It is through conscious awareness that we can begin to gain some mastery over how we channel our thoughts, emotions, and actions. “Failure to be aware” leads to automatic thoughts, feelings, and actions that may be counterproductive to our goals. While this may seem an obvious conclusion, many people in distress often find themselves “stuck” in the very patterns which perpetuate and even exacerbate the problems from which they seek freedom.
For some in distress, it is more comfortable to accept one’s fate than to examine what influences and motivations keep them from seeking change and joy. Admittedly it is a daunting task to examine that which is hidden from consciousness, and break through the defense mechanisms often used as self-protection.
To engage in a process of self-awareness can begin the process of change. If we continue to ignore or avoid what has been brought to our consciousness, we perpetuate self-sabotage. Some believe that motivation is what is needed and continue to wait for motivation that never comes. The stark reality is that motivation is usually achieved by the mere act of doing. The act of doing, or being, may seem at times like an uphill battle, but once undertaken becomes a process through which motivation is reinforced. In other words, one can sit idly by and think about taking action, or one can learn through repeated attempts (trial and error) until success is achieved. Success is best achieved when fear of failure is challenged through opportunities for learning made possible by taking action. By taking action, assessing what went right and what needs to be modified or corrected, one is on the path to adaptive change. Unfortunately, having gained conscious awareness (or understanding), many people in distress often recoil into typical patterns of thinking and behaviors which further reinforce their negative self-image and disbelief in their ability to gain mastery over their distress. The fortunate few, often with the guidance, support, and encouragement of a well-trained mental health professional, are determined to undertake this next phase of action which flows from their newly-discovered awareness.
It is my wish for each one of you that you take the necessary steps to move from awareness to action, in order to achieve a life of joy, purpose, and direction. Show the courage to change. Reach out and give me a call so we can explore taking this journey together. The rewards are fantastic!
About the Author - Irving Schattner, LCSW
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