How Do I Rewrite My Life?

Image by william68 from Pixabay

Image by william68 from Pixabay

Identify Your Thoughts and Emotions

In order to make changes you must first become aware of your automatic thoughts and the associated emotions. Some changes are easy to make just by changing your automatic thoughts. Others are more difficult because the core beliefs are multifaceted and require more work.

Start by making the easier changes first.

The first step is to identify your automatic thoughts, core beliefs, and the accompanying emotions. Identify what you have convinced yourself is true, but in reality may be false.

For example, are you always complaining or quick to place blame? Take notes! Ask yourself why you are feeling this way? The emotions behind these types of comments are the keys to discovering what you believe. When you understand what you believe and why, you will be able to change the belief and the associated emotion .

A simple step, but not an easy step, is to catch the thought before you say it and change it to the opposite. Catch your complaining thought and turn it into a thankful thought.

 

Complaining Comment

“I really wish you’d help with the kids instead of going fishing (whatever) all the time?”

 

The Opposite

“Thank you for helping me do the dishes, yesterday. I really appreciate it.”

When you practice saying The Opposite, you will soon see a difference in your attitude and the other person’s attitude.

Pay attention to the negative things you hear yourself say and the negative thoughts you think. Ask yourself, “Why do I feel that way?” The emotion and feeling behind those thoughts and words are the keys to discovering what you truly believe. This will identify your starting point to begin the change process.

The list of thoughts below will help you begin to identify your negative thoughts, emotions, and feelings that lead to negative behavior.

Read these statements. Have you ever had thoughts like these? If so, put a check by the ones you’ve had.

  • I can’t do this. I’ll never get it right.
  • She’s really going to be upset with me (when there really isn’t a good reason).
  • I know I shouldn’t eat that piece of cake, but I’m fat any way, what difference is it going to make?
  • I can’t stop drinking. The last time I tried I got really sick.
  • I know he’s having an affair.
  • The boss said there was a possibility of a lay-off. I know I’m going to get fired  and I’ll never find another job. My family will leave me. I’ll end up living under a bridge, homeless.
  • I’m not smart enough. I can’t do anything right.
  • It’s his fault we’re in debt. Because of him we’re going to lose everything.
  • It’s not fair. I sit at home alone just so he can go jam with his buddies. It’s just not fair.
  • Why should I try? Life is hopeless. I couldn’t do it anyway.
  • I’ll never find a good job. I’ll never be able to take care of my family.
  • If I didn’t have to work so much, I’d be happier.
  • If I got more sex I’d be more loving. It’s all her fault.
  • We’ve always done it this way, so you should listen to me.
  • If she’d just be nice to me I’d love her more.
  • I’ve given up everything for my kids and now they never come to see me.
  • I’ll never get a promotion. She’ll get it because I know she’s sleeping her way to the top.
  • She will do this or else.
  • If he loved me he’d know what I needed. I shouldn’t have to say anything.
  • They don’t treat me right. I’ll teach them, I’ll leave.
  • I’m too slow. I can’t keep up. I know I’m going to get fired.
  • Things never work out for me.
  • I’m not pretty/handsome enough.

 

Analyze Your Thoughts and Emotions

Now, select the one automatic thought that causes you the most problems or comes up the most often. It may be from the list above or one of your own. Answer these questions about that thought. Write as many details as possible.

  • Describe the event, situation, or memory.
  • What goes through your mind when you read or think about it.
  • Describe any emotions or emotional reactions you get when you read the statement or recall the memory?  
  • List any other thoughts that go through your mind when you recall the event.

Thankfully, you can choose what you think. You can become aware of your automatic thoughts, emotions, and core beliefs. If you question and evaluate them, you can change them.

This will be a journey worth taking.

Identify Changes Needed Using your automatic thought from above or your own list:  

  • Identify destructive feelings and behaviors that you would like to get rid of.  
  • Identify constructive feelings and behaviors that you have or would like to have.

Once you have analyzed your automatic thoughts, emotions, and feelings and you know what you want to change write a letter to yourself.

Include in the letter

  • A complete statement of the information from above.
  • Talk about your emotions (happy, fearful, angry, depressed, etc.) and where you would like to be.
  • Describe where the core belief came from, if possible.
  • Add what you are going to change the thought to – the new thought.
  • Set goals to change your life. Write them out.
  • Identify your downward spirals. List the circumstances that cause them and how you are going to prevent them.

 

Here’s what you are committing to:

  • Learning to be aware when you become emotionally charged and become aware of your negative thoughts and feelings through documenting daily.
  • Restructuring your negative thoughts to positive thoughts which will begin creating positive feelings.
  • Creating a plan of action for other peoples emergencies, or should I say, not taking on other’s emergencies.
  • Being conscious of other people’s atmosphere (moods, attitudes) and not getting sucked in.
  • Eradicating your negative thoughts and emotions and replacing them with positive, constructive thoughts and emotions.
  • Not judging others.
  • Seeking to be a positive influence in other people’s lives.

Draw up a contract with yourself for the above changes. Sign it

Fred’s Destructive Behavior

“Fred, Fred, are you alright?” the supervisor asked again as he walked by for the third time.

“What?”

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine,” Fred said as he leaned back in his chair still keeping his eyes on the floor. He felt as if he was trying to catch his breath after a hard punch to the gut.

The supervisor put his hand on Fred’s shoulder, “I just wanted to give you a head’s up so it won’t be a surprise.”

Fred continued to sit. The supervisor slowly removed his hand from Fred’s shoulder. He bent over slightly and looked into Fred’s face then shaking his head walked out.

Here it goes again. I thought this time I could advance and be able to take care of my family. Maybe my dad was right. I’ll never get a good job. What am I going to tell my wife. She just quit her job because mine was “secure”, yeah right.

Fred slammed his fist down on the desk, closed the lid on his laptop without logging off, grabbed his jacket and walked out of his cubicle headed toward the door.

“Fred, I’ve got a question about… are you leaving now, we’ve got an hour left?” Marty, another employee, said.

Fred walk passed Marty pushing him up against the wall and kept walking without a word. He jumped in his car and revved up the engine. Gravel flew as he fishtailed out of the parking lot. His erratic driving began to calm when he noticed the bar on his left. I haven’t been there for, what, it must be almost a year. I need a drink. If I ever needed one it’s now. He slowed then turned the corner to go around the block. I told Mary I wouldn’t drink any more. She said if I drank any more it was over, but I’ve been so good and I can’t go home like this. She’ll understand. Maybe I should call my sponsor. No, he’s working. What can he do, anyway? I just need to calm down and get my emotions under control. He slowed as he passed the bar. I’ll just have one. I can handle one. It’ll help me get myself under control before I go home. He cranked the steering wheel to the left and turned into the parking lot. Just one!

“Fred, I haven’t seen you for a long time. Where ya been?” the bar tender said.

“I’ve been busy, but today is a really bad day.”

“Do you want the usual?”

“Make it a double.”

“Yeah, I moved clear across the country to take this job because they really wanted me, now the first little hiccup and they’re firing me,” Fred said slurring his words,“ Give me another and this time make it a Triple.”

The bar tender grabbed his arm as he nearly slid off his stool, “No more. You’re over the limit. I’m calling you a cab.”

Fred instantly reached over the counter swiping the glasses and bottles onto the floor, “How dare you cut me off? I haven’t had that many. Every body’s against me.”

He turned and staggered towards the door. The bar tender slammed down the phone and ran around the counter to keep him from leaving until the cab arrived. Fred pulled his left arm free and swung his right arm around but missed the bar tenders head.

“Fred, you need to calm down. This isn’t going to help,” he said as he pulled out a chair and pushed him down. He turned to the bouncer, “Keep him here until the cab comes. Make sure the cabby knows where to take him. Make it clear that he can’t let him out anywhere along the way.”

“Got it boss.”

The bar tender could hear Fred beating on the table spouting profanities as he walked back to the counter.

With every cycle Fred’s thoughts, feelings, and actions escalated. It became a downward spiral until something bad happens. Now, he’s drunk and in real danger of losing his family. If there is no effort made to reverse the destructive thoughts, it is too often a traumatic event that snaps the person back to reality or they go from rage to depression or deeper depression. This can create a “crash and burn” situation. Hopefully, their emotions cool and their automatic thoughts are then, at least, filed back in the drawer until next time and life goes back to normal. The best situation is to recognize them and change them before irrepairable damage is done.

 

Conclusion

Amazingly, you can retrain your brain. You can replace those negative, automatic thoughts and core beliefs, which will have an effect on your emotions. You can make your brain to work for you instead of against you.

We’re not talking about “sheer willpower”, we’re talking about replacing the negative, destructive, automatic thoughts with positive, constructive, automatic thoughts so that you make more constructive choices and perform more constructive behaviors and accomplish more of what you really want to accomplish in your life.

Your automatic thoughts and core beliefs, controlled by the emotional center of your brain, operate similar to the thermostat on your furnace.

Scientists have discovered a control response mechanism that is naturally present in humans and animals. For example, if you are overweight and want to lose weight we know we have to eat right and exercise.

If your brain is conditioned to keep you at a certain weight, your comfort zone, like the furnace keeps the room at a certain temperature, you will get stuck on a gain and loss cycle never getting to your goal weight or if you achieve the weight you won’t be able to maintain it.

In order to successfully change this destructive pattern you must change your automatic thoughts and your core beliefs.

As mentioned above your internal thermostat will raise doubts and fears and even launch sabotaging behaviors any time you step out of that comfort zone.

If you experience any sudden change your will receive an emotional response – red flashing light. Your brain begins to worry and starts maneuvering to bring you back into your comfort zone whether the change is positive or negative. How? Your automatic thoughts kick in.

What do you need to do to change it?

Rewrite the script of your ME- MOVIE.

Fred’s Rewrite

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

“Fred, Fred, are you alright?” the supervisor asked again as he walked by for the third time.

“What?”

“Are you alright?”

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine,” Fred said as he leaned back in his chair still keeping his eyes on the floor. He felt as if he was trying to catch his breath after a hard punch to the gut.

The supervisor put his hand on Fred’s shoulder, “I just wanted to give you a head’s up so it won’t be a surprise.”

Fred continued to sit. The supervisor slowly removed his hand from Fred’s shoulder. He bent over slightly and looked into Fred’s face then shaking his head walked out.

Fred thought to himself, “Here it goes again. I thought this time I could advance and be able to take care of my family. Maybe my dad was right. I’ll never get a good job. What am I going to tell my wife. She just quit her job because mine was ‘secure’. Yeah right.”

Fred stopped. He took several deep breaths to calm himself. He could see the red light flashing in his mind. He said to himself over and over, “My dad is wrong. I am doing great.”

After several minutes of saying the opposite to his automatic thoughts, he walked into the supervisor’s office.

“Excuse me, I have a question,” he said to the supervisor as he looked up.

“Am I being fired?” Fred asked.

“Absolutely not. Actually, we’re giving you 2 maybe 3 days of extra vacation while we get everything ready for the new contract. Fired, no way! You are the best draftsman we’ve ever had. You’ve done such a great job that we decided we’d give you a bonus instead of sitting here for 2 days without much to do.”

“Thank you, sir. I really appreciate it.” Fred said then turned and walked back to his desk.

The supervisor followed him, “Fred, you actually don’t have much to do now, do you?”

“No sir. I finished everything for the last contract.”

“Then, why don’t you take the rest of the week off also. Call me on Tuesday and I’ll tell you where we stand,” the supervisor said.

“Thank you, sir,” Fred said as he began putting his desk in order to leave.

Fred began thinking, ”Wow! Look what I would have missed if I’d had listened to the words in my memory. My wife and kids were going to be so excited. We can actually take a short vacation. Let’s see, where can we go?”

After spending approximately 20 years as a programmer analyst working in both the private sector and county government, Dena Warfield returned to college earning a Masters Degree in Psychology and in Creative Writing. Since graduation, her main focus has been on marketing – Direct Sales, Copywriting, and Writing for the Web. She co-owned and managed a direct marketing company with her husband working, primarily, with local newspapers. She managed the business office, human resources, and helped with training and marketing. She also designed their company Web Site plus writing for other web developers. Dena’s years of business, computer programming, and writing have helped to focus her copywriting skills in the marketing arena. Whether she is writing content for websites, emails, brochures, catalogs, or direct-response her goal is increased traffic and sales to your site or business. Education Dena earned her Master’s Degree in Human Behavior and a Master’s in Creative Writing from National University in San Diego, California. She has also completed a certification program from AWAI (American Writers & Artists Inc., Delray Beach, FL.) with a focus in copywriting for the web. Author Dena has authored a self-help book designed to help people become aware of their negative thoughts and core beliefs that keep them from becoming successful. The techniques described in her book were used to help their sales rep to become more successful. Her book is currently on Amazon.com. She also enjoys writing Flash Fiction which can be found on her Facebook page, WarStories by Dena – Flash Fiction with a twist.

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