Climate Change: How to Change Your Personal Atmosphere

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Is there a dark cloud of negativity covering your relationships? Are your thoughts about the important people in your life generally anxious? Are even the “good times” in your life seen as temporary because you feel something bad will eventually happen? Then according to research Psychologist John Gottman, you are in Negative Sentiment Override. This is a state where we see our lives through a filter of negativity brought on by negative past events. In other words, we see the worse possible outcome in most situations and relationships. Left unchecked, this condition sabotages relationships and creates severe anxiety which and can lead to crippling depression.

It is caused by allowing our minds to get stuck in a perpetual cycle of negativity which inevitably produces negative outcomes which then produces more toxic beliefs.

Here’s the progression

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  1. An event happens. It could be something someone has said or did that has the potential of being seen in different ways. For example, Your spouse is late for a dinner.

  2. You give a negative interpretation to that event. You might say something like; “They’re disrespecting me and are completely unreliable”

  3. This causes hurt, anger, and resentment which is a result of your negative interpretation.

  4. This leads to an unhealthy confrontation that sounds something like; “I can’t believe you were so thoughtless and inconsiderate, you don’t care about me!” Negative Sentiment Override becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in that we create the environment that we expect.

  5. This negative interaction puts the other person in a “no win” position by either agreeing that they are thoughtless and inconsiderate and that they indeed don’t care about you or they defend against your negative interpretation by trying to justify their actions. This interaction reinforces your belief because, in your mind, there is absolutely no justification for such thoughtless and inconsiderate behavior.

    And now we wait for another situation to “prove” our negative belief about them, therefore, repeating the cycle and putting the relationship into a toxic downward spiral where one or both partners can no longer see any positive aspects of their relationship.


I was speaking to a client who was currently in Negative Sentiment Override and she was describing her husband. She said, in a tone of disgust, “When he gets up in the morning the first thing he does is make his bed!” Instead of seeing that is a positive, or even as a neutral event she sees it as some kind of character flaw. I understand that there is a lot more going on in that relationship that has caused this unreasonable negativity but this is how irrational we become when we see our partners through the lens of negativity.

The most insidious aspect of Negative Sentiment Override is that when we are in it we don’t know it. This is because we think we’re being “realistic” or “sensible” and the other person is the one who is creating the problem. We have ceased to put their lives in any positive context and have become myopically obsessed with attributing the worse possible interpretation to their character, actions, and motives. This is where relationships hit that tipping point and the belief that life would be better without the other person becomes an ever-increasing option.

Negative Sentiment Override is not merely confined to relationships, it can become a pervasive way of thinking as represented by “Murphy’s Law”. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong – or as some modern-day Merphyites have quipped “Murphy was an optimist”. This is not just a “glass half empty” mentality but an inability to see the good and a concentration on the bad that puts a dark shadow over our lives and relationships. If this condition persists our brains develop neurological pathways that default to the negative which then makes it increasingly more difficult to escape anxiety and fear based thinking. It is as if the events in our lives trigger a negative response which then deepens our propensity to cast our life in a negative light.

And when we are in Negative Sentiment Override we often come across as …

What do I do to escape

Negative Sentiment Override?

Recognize you are in it and take personal responsibility

The very first step is to step back and objectively look at your response to the various things in your life. Is your negative focus obscuring the good and beautiful things in your life? If you are regularly experiencing anxiety, regret and resentment then chances are in Negative Sentiment Override. This is not about ignoring the “challenges” in your life or avoiding confronting problems in your relationship. It is about recognizing that you have a choice as to what you focus on. You can choose to look up or look down, believe the best or believe the worse invest in hope or despair. When we have been in negative default mode for a while it may seem like we don’t have a choice but we do and it starts by becoming responsible for our own feelings. No one MAKES you feel anything – you CHOOSE to feel what you feel.


Create a new positive neuro network

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
— Thornton Wilder

Yes, you can actually change your brain. It begins by refusing to allow your mind to ruminate on anything toxic and to meditate on health, uplifting, and healing thoughts. This all starts with developing an attitude of gratitude. It is clinically proven that those who cultivate gratitude in their lives live longer and have healthier and more satisfying relationships. Start with developing positive affirmations and increasing your daily dose of uplifting music and conversations. Turn off the news and media sources that are only about crime, conflict, and destruction. Limit regular exposure to anything toxic whether they be people, places or things. If you are finding yourself in Negative Sentiment Override it took you a long time to get there and you are not going to turn your brain around overnight – but you can change!

Create relational understanding

If I thought the way you think, I would feel the way you feel

Begin to seek to understand and create empathy for the reality of others. Here’s a statement that I have found very helpful. “If I thought the way you think, I would feel the way you feel. This sentence is a way of bridging the gap between our reality and the other’s reality. When we become willing to truly understand others we shed our prejudice and open up to understanding and connection. We still may have sincere disagreements but they are not tainted with criticism, bias, and resentment.


Turning our thinking around is never easy but very worth the effort. It may be helpful to look at your past and see if there are any negative messages that may be creating unhealthy thinking. These messages are insidious since we often don’t know they are there because they feel normal to us. Messages like, “you can’t trust anyone” or “you aren’t loved” cause us to distort our perceptions. If this is the case it may be helpful for you to get counseling to surface these toxic beliefs.


Our passion is to help you live the most successful life possible so If we can be of any assistance, please reach out to us.

Learn Why Eight-Five Percent of Us Struggle to be Happy

Research Shows that 85% of us are Living with the Effects of  Low Self-Esteem and a Lack of Self-Confidence, Resulting in Frustration and Unfulfilled Potential.

What's the big deal about self-confidence?

Confidence is hard to define but easy to recognize. With it, you can take on the world; without it, you live stuck at the starting block of your potential
— Katty Kay and Claire Shipman - "The Confidence Code"

The observation by William James, that most people live in a restricted circle of potential,  holds no less true today than when he made it over a century ago. The reason that so many people never fulfill their potential is not a lack of intelligence, opportunity or resources, but a lack of belief in themselves. Or to put it another way, too little self-confidence.  Without it, you can do little, with it, you can do anything!

 But what is confidence, anyway?

Often people think of confidence as something that the lucky few are born with and the rest are left wishing for, but that’s not true. Confidence is not a fixed attribute; it’s the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take. No more; no less. It is not based on your actual ability to succeed at a task but your belief in your ability to succeed.

For instance:

  • Your belief in your ability to speak in front of an audience
  • Your belief in your ability to learn a new skill set
  • Your belief in your ability to be a leader
  • Your belief in your ability to handle confrontation or manage conflict
  • Your belief in your ability to change career path, or start a new business
  • Your ability to exit an unhealthy relationship
  • Your ability to live a healthy lifestyle

It's been long established that the beliefs we hold – true or otherwise – direct our actions and shape our lives. The good news is that new research into neural plasticity reveals that we can literally rewire our brains in ways that affect our thoughts and behavior at any age. Which means that no matter how timid or doubt-laden you’ve been up to now, building self-confidence is largely what psychologists call a volitional action. Or to use layman language: “By choice.” With consistent effort, and the courage to take a risk, we can gradually expand our confidence, and with it, our capacity to build more of it!

Of course, confidence can wax and wane throughout our lives. It’s boosted when we experience a win or receive praise. It takes a hit when our efforts fall short of the mark, we’re criticized, rejected or simply feel a lack of external recognition. We’re only human after all. It’s therefore vital not to become overly reliant on external affirmation to prop up our self-worth but to take ownership for taking the worthwhile actions needed to sustain it. Which begs the question:

How do you build the confidence needed to overcome your challenges and achieve your goals, particularly when you don’t first succeed?

The following FREE eBook "How to Boost Your Self-Confidence" will help clarify several common roadblocks and help you on your journey to being more confident.

Do you want to keep informed on tips and articles on Self-Inprovement? Sign Up for our newsletter and receive your FREE book "How to Boost Your Self Confidence"  

 
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We are passionate about helping others become the person they were created to be.  Your feedback is always welcomed, simply send us a note at connect@totalwellnesscente.net and we will respond as soon as possible. 

 

Warmest,

The Total Wellness Team

Expectatitus: The Disease that Stole Christmas!

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Are you without someone you love this Christmas season? Are you longing for a tradition that will not be happening this year? Do all the decorations and happy wishes make you wish that it were January? If so, you’re not a Grinch you probably have a bad case of Expectatitus.

Other names for this disease are the holiday blues or a bad case of nostalgia. It comes on when things are not the way they are supposed to be and our dream for that “perfect Christmas” doesn't come true. When this happens we are in danger of catching the disease Expectatitus.

Expectatitus: A disease of the spirit that is often caught around major holidays and special events when expectations are not met. Symptoms include a general malaise brought on by an unsuccessful attempt to recreate a past experience or tradition. Below is a symptom checklist

Diminished Vision:  Those afflicted become blind to the true joys of the moment and the beauty all about them.

Difficulty Hearing: New ideas and creative solutions are not heard

Negative Speech Patterns:  These and other phrases are common to those afflicted with Expectatitus “I wish it was like it was”, or “If only __________ were here”. Or “we’ve always done it that way” 

Perception Problems: Dilutions regarding a perfect past and flawless expectations are experienced by those afflicted with Expectatitus.   

Warning: Expectatitus is a progressive disease that ultimately affects the heart.

The Heart becomes rigid and obsessed with the past and unable to find contentment, peace, and joy in the present experiences.

If you or someone you know is showing any of these symptoms then it is critical that you take immediate action because this disease is both highly communicable and often genetic. Those with the disease spread it to others causing them to exhibit the same symptoms. It is also passed down from generation to generation through creating unalterable and pointless traditions.

Is there a cure?

Yes! It requires one to put aside their own preconceptions and unbending expectations to focus on the true nature of the event. In the case of Christmas, the afflicted person must stop making Christmas about what and more about who. The ability to be flexible, and focus on the true meaning of Christmas is essential to full recovery.

Mary: a case study of one who did not contract Expectatitus

The circumstances of Jesus’ birth was not at all what Mary had in mind for her first child. Nine months pregnant she was forced to travel hundreds of miles to a town where she knew no one. When she arrived she began to have contractions but discovered there wasn’t even a corner of a room for her to have her baby. An animal stall became her delivery room, her attendees were the displaced animals and the welcoming party consisted of a band of shepherds; societies outcasts. This wasn't even close to what she would have dreamt of much less hoped for. So how did she deal with this situation? The record shows that Mary took it all in and this was her attitude.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
— Luke 2:19

Mary put aside her expectations and experienced the wonder of the moment. Even if she didn’t quite understand the significance of what was happening. She kept herself open to these experiences and in the coming years gained greater awareness of the miracle of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem.

So that is the cure to Expectatitus? It is not in the forsaking of our dreams and traditions but rather in being open to all that is new around us. It is the ability to focus on what is truly important. So during this Christmas season let’s do what Mary did and treasure the unimaginable gift of God in the birth of Jesus and make our goal to share our love and joy to all around us. No matter what our circumstances.

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This One Habit Will Change Everything!

I've Just Got To Share .....

When I come across something that is life changing I’ve just got to share it.

It is a simple thing but it will change the course of your life.  Don't get me wrong, simple does not mean easy – In fact, this may be one of the hardest things you ever learn to do. It could even take months to perfect … but it’s worth it.  So What is this "thing" I am talking about?

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR MIND

( I TOLD YOU IT WASN'T GOING TO BE EASY)

Take control of your mind every morning and make sure it is nourished with healthy, uplifting, inspiring and empowering food.  Yes, I mean every morning make this your first exercise.

Let me ask you, when you wake up in the morning where do your thoughts go? Do they start working on the agenda of the day? Maybe they rehash yesterday’s failures, or they may run into the future working out possible negative scenarios and worrying about upcoming events.

For many of us who struggle with anxiety or depression, these first morning thoughts set the stage for the rest of our day – and for the rest of our lives for that matter. But even if you aren’t prone to anxiety your first thoughts of the day are critical for giving you the ability to function effectively and efficiently throughout the day.

Bottom line – Don’t let your thoughts default to the problems of the day until they have had a healthy breakfast of empowering and inspirational nutriments.   I once heard someone say. "Put your pen down and stop trying to write the last chapter before the entire story unfolds".

But many of us are habitual negative thinkers, so much so that we don’t think we can change. But you can change – you can rewire your brain - your story,   you can create new neural networks and change the course of your life.

Here are some ways you can do it.

  • When you wake up, before you even get out of bed, grab a 3x5 card on your nightstand that has several morning affirmations and read them 5 times out loud.
  • Upon getting up, grab your hot tea or coffee and sit in a quiet place then read something inspirational, uplifting and empowering. If you’re not a reader listen to an inspirational message.  I personally like to read the Bible but you may want to find something else that inspires you.
  • Then journal your thoughts – make them positive! Speak to yourself like an inspirational coach even if you don’t feel it (ESPECIALLY IF YOU DON’T FEEL IT!)

I know some of you may have a hard time with this.  When we live with negativity for a long time it begins to feel like being positive is wrong. But please hear me on this – You need to stay ruthlessly positive until your negative thoughts begin to feel wrong and your positive thoughts begin to feel right. That’s the change we’re after and it takes time for the mind to process this new way of thinking.

I have 30 daily affirmations to kick start your new morning routine that I would love to send to you. Just send me an email at connect@totalwellnesscenter.net and I’ll send it to you immediately.

You can also ask for our ebook- 10 Days of Loving Yourself. We'll send it to you free if you request it. 

 

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As always we'd love to hear your feed-back.

Take Care and Be Kind To Yourself

Depression: YOU Can Find Healing

Because You Deserve to Live the Life You Were Created to Live

 

Are you sometimes feeling a sadness that seems to hang on no matter where you are or what you’re doing? All of us go through down times but for some of us these times are longer and deeper than most.

There is hope.  You don't have to suffer

Here are three steps you can take to start your journey towards  freedom from depression

Step One: Acknowledge  it

Prolong sadness and feelings of hopelessness don’t need to be a “normal” part of your life. If you are unsure if you are depressed then take the brief confidential survey at the bottom of the page. 

Step Two: Be willing to Accept Help

This is the hardest step for many of us. We may admit to ourselves or even those closest to us that we are suffering but then we don’t let anyone help us. There really is a way to feel better … Believe it!

Step Three: Reach Out

Take the bold step of reaching out to a caring, compassionate and skilled counselor who is trained to get you on the road to wellness. Counseling is like having a coach who is fully dedicated to help you experience your ultimate wellness.

We at Total Wellness Resource Center want to be your partner for attaining Total Wellness in Mind, Body, Spirit and Vocation. Our competent, compassionate staff are ready to help you take your next step toward Total Wellness. 

Click the button below to take the confidential brief 8 question survey