Habit 2: Using a sequence of thinking to manage setbacks and walk on with confidence
We all want to be successful in the tasks we carry out but this aspiration is at times hindered by setbacks or roadblocks and is frustrating to our happiness. We need thoughts that help us stay strong and live with confidence.
The roadblocks either come from ourselves or other people. But there’s a thinking strategy to acknowledge the hindrance and overcome it so we can stay strong and keep moving.
For example, you plan for a productive day but a conflict at work throws you off course. What happens in your mind?
With the capacity for creativity, our brains come up with an abundance of options or explanations. They seem plausible because we’re wired to think, ponder, and reason as intellectual beings.
To survive a possible bear attack in the wild, we are wired to notice the negative as a survival strategy. But this is a painful hassle when we just want to think well in hard times and get on with life in a positive way.
Thoughts that arise remind me of a sudden bust of storm water cascading along a gutter. They just flow and pick up speed with no real direction, but we can become aware of flowing thoughts and change their direction.
The flow of healing substances in the brain
In an article at Quanta magazine, the author Elena Renken explains results from studies revealing how when we sleep, a sequence of events involving electrical pulses, blood, and CSF washes away harmful toxins in the brain. If we lose sleep, the toxins accumulate and create poor brain health .
The interesting part is the sequence of these substances in their pattern of flow. It begins with slow electrical pulses, then a reduction in blood flow followed by a wave of CSF into the brain cavities. This is described as bathing the brain for cleaning and clearing.
The substances work to create the success in brain health and rely on the sequence to be successful.
In the same way, our thoughts are helpful when they flow in a sequence to create health in our minds after a difficult situation.
Coming back to the example earlier of a conflict at work, if as soon as the problem pops up we have a habit of thinking that flows in a helpful sequence, we are more likely to stay strong and pursue our goals again with confidence.
Noticing the random drop of messy thoughts
The flip side is to feel the onslaught of thoughts that upset us and make problem solving more difficult.
- This person is angry so I must have done something wrong
- I can’t stand them
- This argument will change things forever
- How will I have a good day now after this?
- What if my mistake was too big to fix?
These thoughts just plop into our minds with randomly and arise from poor evidence 
Creating a sequence of thoughts for happier living
So let’s create a sequence that’s easy to remember. Imagine you’ve just had a colleague criticize a decision you at work. To add to it, let’s assume they’re in a junior position to you and have overstepped a professional boundary. Now you’re mad, upset, offended, or anxious.
Choose an emotion your might feel. I’m not suggesting here your emotions are wrong but you still need a thinking process to help you stay on a track for mental wellness, healthy thinking, and staying within your confident assurance.
3 thoughts to stay strong and help you move on in strength and confidence
- This isn’t all down to me. I am not the sole cause of problems. I make mistakes but I also create many successes. I’m human with flaws but able and effective in my work and life.
- This isn’t forever. This will pass and a solution will present or I’ll find one that is professional, calm and backed by my values and integrity.
- I will recover and succeed. I have the self determination and self efficacy to move along to the next step.
The second thinking strategy fights any fear of a problem lasting forever. If we all take some time to look back on our lives, most problems eventually lessened in intensity or ended. I recognize there are tragedies that affect our lives with permanent change such as a long term illness or death of someone we love. But even in that we need Counseling and hope.
The third thought process is to enhance our sense of efficacy, determination and ability in our lives. We are strong and able. We are experts in our own lives with innate strengths.
The sequence is as follows: the first truth is you are ok. It’s the truth about you. Second, that things can change within the situation. Then last, your agency is activated. This final stage says I can change things in a healthy and mature way.
Choose a situation recently that upset you. Notice your strengths in how you managed this situation and list three of them. List three thoughts about the situation that give you hope and energy.