Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Control and Command: Shift to a New Mindset

For over a year now, I have been asked by my clients to write an article on the difference between control and command. Control and command are important because this is the distinction between whether you respond to your life because of being forced, or you choose to exercise respect and empowerment.

"I should have been able to control it." I have heard this statement throughout 40-plus years as a therapist as well as a life and addiction recovery coach. But I must ask you, can you control anything in life? The answer is a resounding: No! When reality sets in, you cannot control how you think or feel … you can’t control other people or the events in your life. The concept of control is actually an illusion.

Let me explain by starting at the beginning. Everyone has been told since childhood that we can control anything if we are good enough and focus hard enough. People would tell you, "just stop doing it" or "just control it." I always ask the question "where did you get that?" The response is generally, "I was taught that. If I can't control it, then I am weak person."

The fact is, the more we think about controlling a thought, feeling, behavior, another person or situation, the more unable we are to exercise any control at all. Can we control our physical organs, such as stopping our breathing, heart or thinking? No. Control is based on a false expectation, achieved through power and manipulation. The more we try control a thought, feeling, or behavior, the more it comes to the foreground. Why?

3 Stages of Control

Thinking of achieving control over someone or something? Gaining control is not possible, in fact it is an illusion. You cannot control yourself other or life situations. 

There are 3 stages that you would go through when attempting to control someone or something. Here are three stages of trying to control something. 

The first stage is the plain "control" stage. In this stage control is the act of forcing something against its will. When we want to control something (ourselves, another person, a situation, or a feeling), we work and work, but in time we find that we just cannot control. It reminds me of a person trying to be perfect. Nobody's perfect, at least I haven't met that person yet.

Our failure to control can really frustrate us, so we think "I have to work harder at it." This forces us into the second stage which is "over control." In this stage we focus harder and work more on controlling the subject, situation or person by using everything in our arsenal. Again we are not able to achieve our "unreasonable" expectation.

Not achieving control in the second stage drives us into the third stage of control which is "out of control." We wildly do unreasonable behaviors or say things which are uncharacteristic of ourselves. Then the realization finally hits, we cannot control anything even ourselves. At that point hopefully, we stop, yet that is not always true. Disappointment, fear, rejection or failure sets in hard and we go into a downward spiral.

 So What is Possible?

What is possible is a skill called "command." Is there a difference? Yes. Commanding can be learned and can be achieved. Command is not based on power or manipulation. Commanding is based on respect. Command can be a learned skill and mastery can be achieved through practice. Really now … can you stop thinking? No, but you can learn how to shift your thoughts from negative to positive. The more you practice this skill, the better you will become at it. 

Will it ever be perfect? No, but who would want to be perfect. I tell people all the time: if you are perfect then that means that you never have to get out of bed. You would know everything, have done everything, seen everything, and felt everything in life, so there is no challenge or reason to function in life.

There is a law of command. The law of command is based on earning respect. You respect certain positions in life only because the person in the position has earned it, like a parent, the President, a religious leader, etc. (you get the idea). You may not like or agree with everything they do in that position, but you do respect them for earning the position. Another example you should be able to relate to is a five star General in any military service. A service person may dislike the General, may not agree with their decisions or orders, but they will follow the General's orders because they respect the rank. The General did not get the rank automatically and was not born into the rank. The General worked very hard from the bottom as an enlisted person, studied and trained for many years and weathered all the internal politics to achieve that rank. Therefore, the soldiers follow the general’s orders into battle at possible peril of their own lives out of respect of the rank that the General holds.

After Thoughts

The same is true when you apply this idea to yourself. You should have respect for yourself. How is that achieved? Plain and simple … you earned it. How? You earn yourself respect in two ways.

First way is by being conscious that your word matches your deeds. The second way is by acquiring a skill and achieve a high level of performance through practice. Over time, you will see that your need to control an issue, situation or person will decrease. You will also see a corresponding increase in the ability to competently respect yourself therefore gain command of previously unruly areas of your life.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another Young Entertainer Lost to Drug Overdose: Cory Monteith

The world has lost another young talented, creative and admired entertainer to drugs. Cory joins the ranks of other celebrity entertainers who accidently lost their lives to drugs use such as singer Janis Joplin, guitar player Jimmy Hendrix, Blues Brother John Beluchi, Rocker Jim Morrison, Actress Judy Garland and of course the King Elvis Presley.  All of their lives were cut short by overdoses to drugs. Not only celebrities but over 100 people die of drug overdose in America every day.
What was missed?
Even though entertainers look self assured, confident and strong on stage, in private there is a very different story being played out in their head. Thoughts of insecurity, fear, self loathing, self escape and judgment of weakness and inadequacy fill their minds and consume their thoughts … even though praise is coming toward them constantly. Like thoughts of:
Did I perform well enough?
I don’t deserve this much praise.
I don’t deserve this much money.
I am not that talented.
Will they stop loving me?
If my fans only knew the real me, they would leave me.

Entertainers in the constant spotlight turn to drugs to gain a false sense of confidence, numb emotional pain, eliminate fear, and reduce thoughts of rejection. The drug is used to turn off the critical thoughts and associated emotions. The insecure performer actually believes:

This drug will help me perform better.
I am more confident and entertaining with this drug.
This drug helps me focus.

Looping self-limiting thoughts are invisible to an adoring crowd and unseen behind a charismatic smile. Could something have been missed that might have reduced the chance of a tragic ending to this actor’s life?

Cory, like many others, went through addiction treatment and rehab. Not once, but many times. Is it that treatment centers are not effective enough? No, they are very professional and effective. Then what? One thing that addiction treatment does not address is an addict’s thought addiction. Thought addiction is not on the addiction professional’s radar right now. Thought addiction is a hidden addiction that affects many American’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Why? Think about it … Every addiction starts with a thought! That is a fact. A person will turn to drugs because of overwhelming self limiting looping thoughts.

What is Thought Addiction (TA)?

The definition of thought addiction is the development of an intrusive habitual pattern to one thought or set of thoughts. Thought addiction is the returning to a thought that does not serve the individual and has negative and damaging results to one’s life. A thought addiction depletes every system of the human body. TA is repetitive and unhealthy thoughts that deplete emotional, mental, physical and spiritual energy, leaving the person empty and second guessing themselves endlessly. Thought addiction follows the same rules and progression of all other addictions. Individuals will expand into other addictions like substances, food, exercise, emotion or behavior in an attempt to silence a thought addiction or unhealthy thought looping pattern.

Forms of addicting thoughts are:
  • Anxious
  • Compulsive
  • Depressive
  • Fearful
  • Obsessive
  • Negative
  • Ruminating
  • Self demeaning
  • Self defeating
  • Self limiting
  • Sexual
  • Suicidal
  • Unwanted
  • Worrisome

Another critical time is post treatment. If the original thought that initiated the addiction is not dealt with, once the person becomes sober, the original thought surfaces again and will be a major driver and red flag of relapse. For an addict whose thought addiction is not addressed and treated effectively, relapse is inevitable.

What to do differently?

The addiction treatment and recovery community needs to pull back the curtain and look at the real culprit … the thought that started it all. These professionals need to expand their old treatment and recovery thinking and allow a new method in.  The most dangerous time is not in treatment or rehab, but it is when the newly recovering person comes out and is left alone with his or her own thoughts again. The 12 step principles say an addict in sobriety needs to change old friends, places and life style to eliminate triggers that encouraged them to use, but the silent driver has always been – the thought.

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

3 Ways to Benefit from Your Mistakes

Have you ever made a mistake? Everyone has. Yet after making mistakes you become so frightened or apprehensive to make another mistake for fear of what might happen? It also causes you to second guess everything you do after that point.

Society has become so performance orientated and focused that many shy away from risking new things or learning new skills and causes you to stay with only familiar and comfortable things even it they are bad for you. You may become so afraid of making a mistake that you just don't venture into new experiences and keep you in a rut. In fact you may isolate yourself from experiences to stop any future possibility of making another mistake.
Is not getting involved with life a mistake also?

The more afraid you are of making a mistake, the less willing you will be of taking a risk, the more restricted you are, you become rigid and end up stuck. You actually create a pattern that can cause you to be less involved with other people, situations and you learn less. If you shy away from trying new things or not taking risks, you deprive your Soul of the nutriments needed to grow and thrive.

Could your mistakes be positive?

Making a mistake is normal part of life. No one is perfect. Making a mistake can be very positive. If you don’t make a mistake when you attempt something new then how do you learn. Each different experience, task or situation should bring something beneficial to your character.

Remember all the times growing up when you were so afraid to join in playing with others kids for fear of being embarrassed, ridiculed for not performing as well as others or just plain not being good enough. Look at all you lost out on. Don’t let that happen now. Accept and embrace your mistakes for what they can bring to your life.

Therefore don't let past incidents of mistakes determine who you are as a person or a barrier to your future. We all make mistakes. Without mistakes there is no way you can learn or make positive changes. If you are always right and do everything perfectly then you have no reason to get out of bed. Isn't that sad? So you cannot allow mistakes to define who you are.

3 Ways to Benefit from a Mistake

Remind yourself every time you make a mistake to ask yourself these three questions.

  1. What did I learn?

       2. What can I do differently next time?

       3. How did this make me better as a person?

Once you get your answers you will see your lessons clearly and your Soul will have fuel to keep on growing.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Imagination is the Power to Success

"All change stems from our imagination. Imagination is capable of turning mind energy into a vision and success."  --Dr Bill

“How do I change my life in a positive way?”

Simply use your imagination. Imagination is one of our most powerful tools available to you.  Imagination is the one thing within you, as a human, that gives you the amazing ability to "create" anything you want.  Think about it.  Your imagination can truly assist us in creating something new? Everything that you has been created in the world has stemmed from the seed in someone's imagination. Everyone has this ability.

How to Change?

In order to access our imagination we have to spend time with our self. 

Find a peaceful environment, get quiet, be calm, and ask for guidance with or inspiration about a specific desire or idea.
Focus on the desire or idea and say it aloud, then remain quiet and calm...and notice the flow of thoughts that come to mind.  

Listen and hear the answers in your head.  

Write down all the answers. Do not discount or rationalize any thoughts that come to mind. 

Then, rest in the faith that our imagination generates additional ideas and solutions. Know that imagination possesses all the energy needed to continue generating more ideas and solutions on the way to accomplishing success in our lives. 

Believe, have faith and harvest the rewards. The more you practice the easier success will come and our imagination will open to its abundance.

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Over Thinking can Result in a Thought Addiction

The importance of the concept of having an addiction to a thought has been increasing. Thought addiction is a fact. The truth is that the power behind all addictions is a thought.

Definition of Thought Addiction (TA)

Simply, thought addiction is when a thought or set of thoughts get stuck in your head and those thoughts begin to create a thought loop. As the thoughts loop, the you become more and more focused on the thought which increasingly becomes overwhelming and you are less able to turn off your focus on that specific thought. 

As the power of the looping thought(s) increases, you feel as though you have lost control of your mind as well as your thoughts. Once out of control, the thought ends up consuming your energy and depletes your ability to perform successfully in your every day life. At that point, the thought takes over your emotional and mental life therefore you become addicted. 

Once that thought is no longer controllable you may act out in different ways in an attempt to turn the thought off. Some people use methods such as self-medicating it, fighting it or use a substance to avoid thinking that specific thought(s). 

Many people with a thought addiction state “I can’t get this thought out of my head and it is driving me crazy”. 

Concept of Thought Addiction

What is so important to take away from the concept of addiction to a thought is that a thought addiction not a mental disorder or a lack of self control problem. Thought addiction is a skill deficiency.

Generally these types of thoughts are core beliefs from your past or negative statements expressed to you from someone else. These types of thoughts are triggered by a present event, statement or surfacing emotion. Once the thought is triggered it then surfaces unconsciously into your mind. The most common example of this type of thought is “I am not good enough”.

Cognitive therapists have long known and it has been proven that a thought precedes an emotion and a behavior. But there is more to it. Think of a triangle. Yes a emotion does not occur without a thought. An emotion generated a behavior. But also a behavior drives the development of a thought. Each one is connected to the other. Note that the triangle or everything starts with a thought first.

Form of Thought that can become Addictive

But what is also true is that “every addiction begins and ends with a thought”. 
Below is a few forms of thoughts which can result in chronic looping or can become addicting are:

·        body image thoughts
·        compulsive thoughts
·        depressive thoughts
·        diluted thoughts
·        thoughts of doubt
·        thoughts of fear
·        worry
·        negative thoughts
·        obsessive thoughts
·        lack of worth thoughts
·        superstitious thoughts
·        suicidal thoughts
·        weight thoughts

So it is important to understand that the way to stop an addiction to a thought or unceasing a looping thought is through gaining a skill and then practicing that skill. 

You have the power to command and reset your thoughts. All you need to acquire the right skills and have the willingness to consistently practice the skills to effect positive change.

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Dr Bill Tollefson is a certified master life, post trauma and holistic addiction recovery coach, speaker, radio personality and author. Dr. Bill wrote 2 books: Separated From the Light as well as Personal Philosophy Method and is working on his 3rd book 

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Trauma Recovery Southwest Florida

New Direction for Survivors of Abuse and Trauma in Southwest Florida
Are you having trouble coping with old trauma memories or flashbacks?  Do you feel like you are still living in the past and not in the present? Not able to move on with your life? Don’t know how to stop holding on to the past?  Keep dissociating as a coping skill?

Trauma recovery is hard to do on your own. Major inroads have been made trauma treatment, but living on your own and attempting to recover is very hard.  Coaching and mentoring can be a tremendous advantage and support reducing the affects of Post traumatic Stress syndrome.

Trauma recovery continues to be misunderstood by professionals for survivors with childhood abuse and trauma.  They continue to believe that PTSD symptoms are a mental health problem and not a normal response reaction to experiencing a life threatening events. Negative thoughts as the result of traumatic memories and flashbacks can be personally damaging and disrupting to daily life.

Are you attempting to fight negative self thoughts in your head constantly? Are negative thoughts making you uncomfortable in social situations whether you are at school, a job or with family?

Well it is possible to change the affects of PTSD symptoms. Stop letting your past define you. Get the support you deserve along with a customized action plan for recovery that really works. Having a trauma coach / trauma recovery mentor can help you accomplish it. There are skills you can learn that will help you move forward. You can learn to increase your ability and skill level to recognize, reset, restructure and recover. You can learn to shift old negative beliefs and create new beliefs and positive behavior patterns. Learn to live in the moment and stop holding on to the past.