Posts made in June, 2010

Beets and Blueberries

Posted by on June 10, 2010 in Musings, Skills Building | 0 comments

Earlier this week, I had a snack of beets and blueberries. The blueberries came first, and then I enjoyed a few slices of beet. I felt satisfied but decided to cleanse my palate with a few blueberries. Immediately afterward, I noticed that I felt hungry again. How strange! I can’t tell you exactly why this happened, but I can you I won’t be following beets with blueberries again.

I shared this interesting observation with a friend of mine, and she suggested that “beets and blueberries” sounded like the title of one of my blogs, so as I drove home, I considered what the related message would be.

Fairly quickly, I was reminded that just as it’s important to put healthy foods into our bodies, it’s important to put healthy, life-giving thoughts into our minds.

Too often I observe clients and friends and myself entertaining negative thoughts – as if it’s no big deal.

So what, I called myself a dummy. I do it all the time.

We got stuck in traffic … it was a disaster.

Today’s going to be a long day, I can already tell.

While we are not able to stop all negative thoughts from coming into our minds, we do have a choice in how we respond to them. We can embrace them and hang out like old pals, or we can let them float on by.

Did you know that your brain responds to stimuli similarly – regardless of whether it comes through your optic nerve (i.e., from something tangible that you see) or from your imagination (i.e., something you think)???

Thoughts and mental visualizations cause physical changes in our brains. The more these are repeated, the more the experience is etched into our brains. Our brains will then work to resolve the cognitive dissonance – that is, the difference between where we are now and what we imagine or think.

For example:

where we are now = not a dummy       vs.

what we imagine or think = a dummy

Over time, our brains will work to make our thoughts become a reality.

So, our thoughts do matter. In fact, they matter very much.

What thoughts are you going to let feed your mind today?

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Financial Therapy 101: Managing Money Scripts (part 1)

Posted by on June 1, 2010 in Financial Therapy, Skills Building | 0 comments

By now, I hope you have created a list your money scripts. (If not, please start with the first entries in this series … 1, 2, 3.). Perhaps you are even continuing to add to your list as you discover new ones. Great! Let’s start working on them.

Look over your list. What themes do you notice? Patterns? Repeats? The most frequent? Most annoying? Any of these could be a good place to start.

Pick one script and walk through the same restructuring process I introduced in the Taking out the Mental Trash series. Let’s give one a go together for practice …

Just for fun, we can use one of mine…

1. Give an example of a distressing thought you had during the past few days.

Context: In order to launch Vineyard Counseling, there were a lot of expenses involved. Furniture, lease, business license, insurance, supplies, and the list went on and on.  While building my client base, I worked some from home, so the idea of a laptop was appealing.

My automatic thought was “You have to spend money to make money.” (While this wasn’t necessarily a distressing thought, I did recognize that I needed to examine it, so this process is still useful.)

2. Review the list of thinking error types and identify the errors in your thoughts.

“have to” is a “should” in disguise

3. Is this thought true? What is the evidence that this thought is true?

Some times, but not always. I could not legally start the practice without certain expenses, such as a business license. I could not expect clients to find me without spending money on marketing. I would not function well without a computer, but I had a desktop at home and a desktop at the office, so a laptop was not a necessity. Conclusion: In this case, I did not have to spend money on a laptop in order to make money.

4. To what extent is this thought true (e.g., some times, occasionally, often)? Look out for words like always and never.

There was an unstated or implied “never” (as in “You can never make money without spending money.”)

5. Check for emotionally charged words, such as labels (e.g., stupid, jerk, devastating, horrible). Maintain perspective.

Nothing obvious here.

6. Realistically consider the worst case scenario – briefly. If the thought is true, how will you survive, cope, and overcome the situation?

Obviously, I could function without a laptop, as I did have a desktop.

7. Talk to yourself compassionately. Note the positive.

I can reconsider this decision later.

8. Based on your work above, create a substitute thought that is accurate, realistic, and maintains perspective.

While it would be nice to have a laptop, it is not a necessity at this time. Later, once the practice grows, I will reevaluate and may purchase a laptop at that time. (Side note: I’m happy to share that the laptop soon became a practical option, and I’ve been enjoying the investment ever since!)

Now, try one from your own experiences.

In the next entry, I’ll show you one more tool for managing your Money Scripts.

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