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Thread: How our thoughts can affect us page

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    How our thoughts can affect us

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    This curiously seems to be a topic that actually annoys some people. They don't, apparently, believe it to be a possibility -- what they think explains the placebo (or, indeed, nocebo) effect I don't very well know -- over and above that they seem to resent others taking note of the phenomenon. One wonders how else the phenomenon by which primitive people have been observed to die after cursing could be explained. It seems to be their belief in the power of the curse that does it: they're literally frightened to death.

    People also seem to take any interest in such phenomena as stemming from a wish to have what they refer to contemptuously as a "guru". That's a non sequitur. Also it's claimed such interest is "New Age" or "woo-woo". However, I've often been struck when reading the writings of William James, the founder of psychology, by how alive he was to this aspect of things. I just went online to garner some James' quotes:

    ‪“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.”‬

    ‪“The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.”‬

    ‪“Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”‬

    ‪“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”‬


    William James Quotes
    Anyway, suffice to say: nothing strange, nothing disreputable, nothing even particularly new about interest in this area. What is a large and difficult area is the question of how the phenomenon occurs and how and to what extent we can get inside the process and make use of it.

    I was interested to find that Sean Croxton, who as most people here know has a fabulous podcast, just had an episode where he did an interview with a man who did a film on belief and emotion in which he interviewed people like Bruce Lipton and Paul Chek. I'm not necessarily agreeing with anything this guy says. I'm just saying it's an interesting area to think about and this is worth a listen:

    The Cure Is... with David Scharps 11/27 by Underground Wellness | Blog Talk Radio
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    Last edited by Lewis; 11-28-2012 at 10:44 AM. Reason: My appalling typing

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    it's funny, i was just talking about this with a few students yesterday...how changing behavior starts with changing the mind, and the best way to reach that point where you are willing and able to make a change like that.

    i find this topic fascinating. i do know a lot of people that find it annoying though, and they seem to come from all kinds of backgrounds...old, young, rich, poor, educated, uneducated. i wonder if there is a commonality in skepticism.

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    When people ask me how I've gone about the changes that are so obvious they expect to hear about diet or willpower or denial and I always tell them it is knowledge. If something isn't working, I try something else. Like many here I had the ve*an phase, the conventional wisdom/unsustainable exercise phase and found Primal on some random web search. I was skeptical but gave it a shot. If it hadn't worked I'd have tried something else.

    So, yes it's attitude but also a willingness to admit to myself that I was wrong and needed to change things up. Not so easy to do, apparently.
    Last edited by IvyBlue; 11-28-2012 at 06:34 AM. Reason: tense
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    funny, I was just on a website last week about this very thing: from
    make a ripple - make a difference

    The universe is a sea of energy. We are all living in a sea of energy. Everything in this universe is energy and everything is vibrating at its own vibrational frequency including you and me as stated by the Law of Vibration
    Everything you do - how you behave and how you think and feel will be vibrated into this sea of energy and hence it is affecting everyone in it - making a ripple.Anything you do, any thought you have, ripples on forever and changes the composition of the whole universe, however small that change is.

    The best thing you can do to make this a better world is to change your own attitude to everything around you - people, animals, plants - think positive and act accordingly.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noreaster View Post
    The best thing you can do to make this a better world is to change your own attitude to everything around you - people, animals, plants - think positive and act accordingly.
    I really like that. I'm not sure I'm up to that, but I like the thought.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IvyBlue View Post
    When people ask me how I've gone about the changes that are so obvious they expect to hear about diet or willpower or denial and I always tell them it is knowledge. If something isn't working, I try something else. Like many here I had the ve*an phase, the conventional wisdom/unsustainable exercise phase and found Primal on some random web search. I was skeptical but gave it a shot. If it hadn't worked I'd have tried something else.

    So, yes it's attitude but also a willingness to admit to myself that I was wrong and needed to change things up. Not so easy to do, apparently.
    Very well put.

    Knowledge is important. It must also be applied. That's wisdom, I believe.
    We all have areas where we know one thing but still do another.

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    Coming from a history of mental health issues, I recognize the validity of what you say, but I also know that it is REALLY HARD for some people. For me, without the right nutritional groundwork and the amino acid supplements I take for my depression and anxiety, all the therapy I had undergone for 9 yrs did nothing. It was not until "the stars aligned" (how I refer to making your environment a supportive one, mostly in a nutritional sense) that I began to feel like I could choose to be less anxious about something, or actually stop thinking about something bothersome. It doesn't always work, but then again, I'm not always well. Right now, I'm not well, and it's very difficult for me to convince myself to change my mind.

    Maybe it was just luck that things started to turn around for me this year, but I don't really think so.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annieh View Post
    We all have areas where we know one thing but still do another.
    That's another huge area, isn't it?

    I had a book by a French medic who worked for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and died tragically young. It was called Healing Without Freud or Prozac:

    Healing Without Freud or Prozac: Natural Approaches to Curing Stress, Anxiety and Depression: David Servan-Schreiber: 9781447211464: Amazon.com: Books

    He reckoned that you could have a very good understanding of your problems and still be able to do little or nothing about them, because thinking about them and talking about them often couldn't really touch your "emotional mind".

    And this, even if it were all true rather than highly debatable (as it is), would be why Freudianism would fail: you could understand your problem and still not touch it.

    I think psychoanalysis in particular is "the god that failed". I recall a woman who's deeply into the neurotransmitter stuff saying that "you can't talk someone out of a nutrient deficiency". But even leave that aside and how do you get someone to act on their insight when their emotions are screaming otherwise?

    Servan-Schrieber seems to have been one of the first people to have got onto omega-3s. He also has a lot on SAD and light boxes -- and, had he been around now, would surely have been interested in the other side of light: too much at night just as there can be too little in the daytime.

    He also has stuff on therapies that, building on our knowledge of dreams, try to use REM -- Eye Movement Desentisization and Reprocessing (EMDR). And -- yeah, why not say it? -- emotional communication and the need for love.

    Sean Croxton has mentioned "Tapping" before. I think that would be another therapy that links in here. It seems that tapping on some acupuncture points while talking about someone's issues to them can help them to take what's said on board in way they couldn't without the tapping. IIRC, Sean had it done to him and was able to stay and enjoy an evening with friends whereas previously the crowding would have caused him to go home whether he really wanted to or not.

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    Oh, I certainly believe our thoughts can affect almost everything in our lives. While my father did a lot of things wrong as a parent, one of the things he did very right was to constantly support every one of my childish whims (when I grow up...) and instill in me that I was capable of achieving anything to which I set my mind. The result is that I still believe this. So, even when my more destructive behaviors or even a bad decision have put me behind the proverbial eight-ball, I always have the belief that I can get back to where I want to be. And so far, knock on wood, that's always been true.

    I've known a lot of people who didn't get this instilled in themselves, and I've known people who try to drag others down by belittling dreams, hopes, aspirations, etc. I always try to bolster up people with low self-esteem, unless it's so low that it starts to drag me down also. The people who try to belittle others, well if I started writing how I feel about that, I could write for hours. I'll just say that a slap, or even a beating will heal, but a psychological beating can lay a person low forever.

    I also have "talismans" that, even though I know it's illogical, always seem to work in a given situation. A pair of earrings that I've worn to every job interview that landed me the job, for example. I know it can't possibly be the earrings, but I still wear them when I really want or need the job. Why mess with success?

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    Screw the mystic B.S. But attitudes can make or break any situation in seconds. It's critical to asses all thoughts before affirming them. i didn't know that until rehab.

    I stand rigidly in the employee back-halls at work, tense and immovable like a death metal vocalist. In the patient's room, I have to ooze love and compassion. I get paid to give a darn. So when I'm standing in the hall, on my computer figuring things out for the next stab, that's my chance to feel gruff and negative. Because in three minutes I'm mandatory Mr. Sunshine again. I'm starting to understand why medical people are all a little nutty. Do I wave and smile to passing nurses and other staff? Yeah. Do I give a darn if they start telling me their life story? No way. I get myself out of it so fast! I think pretending to care is professional courtesy - and the line is drawn where you have to start pretending to listen to long drawn-out B.S. about who said what to whom and other details that mean nothing.

    What happens to THAT energy? Do others get on board and also not give a darn while pretending to care? I think we all like having the ice broken, but cower in terror of what lies beneath. In that way, sarcastic sunshine sets the stage for reducing emotional exhaustion. We only have so many darns to give, and we're not going to waste them on each other when there's a whiny patient 30 feet away we have to placate. So positive energy has its place, but there are circumstances where it's healthier to sulk a bit and just pretend, and even just plain frown a bit to flex those emotional muscles.


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