Can we change? Yes we can – if we want to

Change is not easy, but it’s simple: if we change our thoughts we can change our lives. Changing our thoughts is not easy, but there’s a process called Cognitive Restructuring which helps us to change our thoughts if we change some beliefs that no longer serve us.

It’s all described in the book Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think by Dennis Greenberger and Christine A. Padesky.
This is a workbook on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for people who want to change habitual thoughts and behaviours which keep them stuck in a place they don’t want to be. Aaron Beck, the founder of Cognitive Therapy, has written a forward to the book.

Spending time in places such as depression, anxiety, and anger is an unpleasant way to go through life as I recall. A diagnosis of cancer made me wake up and decide to enjoy life instead. I was told to make each day count, so I worked with a therapist and it’s been well worth the time and effort I spent to change my thoughts. I have been cancer free for over 22 years now.

The book describes how our behavior often results from automatic thoughts. Underlying many of these automatic thoughts are our assumptions which may be right or wrong. Assumptions come from core beliefs which have been stored in our bodies since childhood. These beliefs served us as children since other people such as parents, siblings, and relatives have a large influence on the way children think and behave. However, as we mature we’re required to be responsible for our own actions and well being, and the core beliefs may not apply to us as individuals.

Changing our thoughts can be easier if we look at what’s causing us to think the way we do. Many of us would do well to look at our core beliefs and let go of the ones that keep us stuck in a childhood mentality. It’s an exercise that creates awareness – we will no doubt choose to hang on to core beliefs which serve us, but there’s an opportunity to de-clutter the core beliefs which create obstacles. With those obstacles out of the way, it’s easier to move forward to a new way of thinking and a whole new life. The book, Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel by Changing the Way You Think, is set up as a self help method, and I believe that a person would have nothing to lose by trying it out.

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