Pay a dollar

Repost from July 29, 2010.

We all have a number of our own eddies, currents that spiral behaviors. Assuming that when those are friendly behaviors, then like “casting your bread upon the water” you’re bound to see something nice coming back your way. Some people say these patterns come from neurological loops, grooves in your brain like indian trails. When you go back down over your same footsteps 100 more times, you now have an open path without resistance, easy to travel. That is how the connections – neurological, electrical, chemical, are all biased in our brains.  Adaptability to stress, in part, means that your pattern of coping is on a path that serves you well when you need it to.

Come on, though! Who spends even five minutes talking about good behavior? What we do ruminate over, is why we keep doing what we don’t want to do. …Such as screaming at the kids when what we really want to do is to grow up and practice the good skills we’ve read about in all those parenting books!

Why is it so hard to stop?  Why are we “triggered” so easily?  Grooves, my friend.  Grooves.  Any day we can list off several seemingly unrelated events – but our reaction is all too familiar.  It feels like getting sucked into a tornado with a word spout, as if today turns you round and round the same way you did the day before.  Inevitable self loathing follows, which can set off more self-destructive behavior.  The cycle goes on.

When you feel trapped by your own self, get friendly by remembering this.  You’re mistaken.  You’re talking about a groove, not a vampire.  It’s not hopeless.  Not much more, not much less than what it is.  A groove can be abandoned.  New paths can be made and when the stressor hits next time, you will have a longer moment to decide on which behavior to play.  You will have a choice and you will realize more often that you are not trapped by what you thought; you are not hopeless and ugly.

For example, now when I yell at my kids, regardless, I pay a dollar to the family money jar.  Anyone can call me on it.  That’s my effort to steer clear of the “yelling-groove.”  The innumerable reasons for righteous anger, took me on miserable trips.  Round and round.  Yelling equaled me jamming myself all over again.  That’s right.  Who did it to me?  Me.  Now that’s not too friendly.  So something’s got to change.

It may be something different for you, but if you end up hating yourself in the end, it couldn’t have been good.

Self Care tip #5: You are not trapped. Pay a dollar. Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  What has helped you abandon old grooves and make new ones?  When you don’t feel hopeful, how do you recognize that even though you feel that way about yourself, there is hope and the feeling is deceiving?  Please tell us your story.

What Must I Do To Be Happy?

Today, I can’t get my thoughts away from the frolic in temperament-land.

Teacher, what must I do to be happy? 

Who hasn’t asked this?  I remember Nicodemus who asked Jesus,

Teacher, what must I do to be saved? 

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I bet he was wondering, too, about happiness.

I’m not equating happiness with salvation or morality.  I am saying this might have been a parcel of his question.  Happiness is an emotion per our language and cultural definition.  And we have enjoyed our path of discovery in seeing how emotions are tools we use to interpret the world around us.  They are not universal or constant between us.

After I read,

Individualism, a stronger predictor of well-being than wealth,

in R. Fischer, PhD’s Meta-Analysis of Well-Being, I followed my thoughts toward the Jungian Typology of Temperaments.  Remember our pasture and barn people?  The Jungian Typology of Temperaments is our playground where we have a wish-basket equipped with supplies to become any variation we might choose of what our design requests.  Read the article and you might follow a similar path of thought.  Or not.

In case you’re wondering, and per Dr. Q (who is a poor statistician so take this for what it’s worth,) a meta-analysis is a study of studies.  A meta-analysis brings together a number of studies that reflect a population of people and a methodology that is as objective as we can find.  We compare them and through the tools statistics and logic offer, we make a summary conclusion.

If you are familiar with the tomatometer on RottenTomatoes.com, you already have a sense of what a meta-analysis does.  (I love rottentomatoes.com.)  There is more power in the indexed findings of many studies than in just one study.  There is also more power in a fresh tomato than a rotten one.

Questions:

  1. Do you see happiness as something that reflects your condition of spirituality and/or your condition of brain health?  Why?
  2. What do you perceive brings you happiness?  Please tell me your story.