Active Strategies to Combat Limiting Beliefs

Disclaimer: I PROMISE not to post helpful, and exciting videos on every blog, really, I promise! But long live fun graphics!

Taking An Active Approach Towards Limiting Beliefs:

Another blogger, Zazen Life, posted the video you’re about to watch and it can hit a chord for anyone. It did for me since I’ve used limiting beliefs to box in my life, shrinking it down to what I thought was a manageable size. But it wasn’t, it was a safe one. Watch and listen first and we’ll look at the world of BP/Depression/Anxiety/Borderline/wow, that’s a cool diagnosis/Obsesity/(anything else) limiting beliefs. And although this is a poker video, well, you’ll get the idea.

So, what did you think? Let’s take the video apart a bit, shall we.

If you’re in recovery from Bipolar Disorder like me, what’s one of the first things you thought of – yup, “Because I have BP, I can’t…:

  • Keep a job, or go back to work because I’m on disability
  • Handle a relationship (friends, romantic, with my cat…)
  • Keep my crap together for any length of time
  • Deal with life without meds/therapy/or staying socially isolated
  • Have any kind of real future
  • Make a difference in the world
  • _______ fill in lots of blanks

– AND/OR – Because I’m so overweight I can’t:

  • Walk more than a block without being exhausted
  • Take a trip because I don’t fit in the airplane seats
  • Go to a movie because I don’t fit in those seats either
  • Go out to eat because I have no willpower
  • Stick to a diet because I’ve tried them all and just gained the weight back
  • _______ fill in more blanks

– AND/OR – Because I’m  or I have ____________, I can’t:

Looking at these examples, can you see how insidious limiting beliefs can be, how one can start a chain reaction, adding more and more until you feel trapped in a very small box of “I can’s” surrounded by a sea of “I can’ts”? The only way to bust out of that box is to take action and keep taking it!

I love the speaker’s suggestion to write your limiting beliefs on a block of wood and break it. Talk about a powerful “flip” both psychologically and emotionally! And how empowering would it be to START your day with 5 things you’re grateful for and a loud, proud “I can do anything I set my mind too!”. Instead of thinking about all the things you CAN’T do today because of how you feel.

Personally, I have to START and END my day with positive imagery and gratitude practice. Every morning when I’m still groggy from the seroquel and having coffee, I listen to a TED conference speaker, a Tara Brach motivational podcast, a Fit to Fat radio podcast, The Daily Boost podcast, or something from a score of other free podcasts I’ve downloaded into iTunes (trying to give some helpful examples here!). It starts the day off on a positive foot while helping kickstart my brain. These are also great in the car on the way to work. You can check the news later!

And at bedtime, before I can even get to sleep. I have to spend time thinking of 3 things I was grateful for that day. And that’s not just thinking “I’m grateful for my loving and supportive spouse” but getting granular with a specific example of why I’m grateful for her TODAY. It doesn’t matter what I’m grateful for, focusing on the positive in life is nurturing, affirming, and encourages a positive outlook – and a good night’s sleep!

Finally, the “rubberband” suggestion (which is just negative reinforcement) has been around for years for a reason – it forces you, painfully, to pay ATTENTION (one of our “words”!) to your negative thought and replace it with a positive one on the spot. Because you’re actively engaging both the physical and the mental at the same time, it’s a powerful tool. And the more you do it, the better at positive affirmations you become, until it becomes, say it, a HABIT.

Negative thinking, especially thoughts that include limiting beliefs, takes time to form and will take time to change. One of the things I’ll reinforce over time is the importance of patience in changing thoughts and behaviors, whether they apply to weight loss or anything else. Taking a few deep breaths and refocusing will make all the difference in the world!

Helpful Resource: “Eat This Not That” Book series by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding

Some of you may already be familiar with them, but after getting the 2012 edition from the library, I was blown away! (No, I don’t work for Rodale Publishing.) The book has thousands of food swaps from real life including restaurants and supermarkets, interesting nutrition and new info, colored coded pages, and pretty full color photos (also tasty looking recipes). I especially like the “low cal” side by side comparisons. A quick, easy read and nice resource. Reminder: just because we’re focusing on long term weight loss and maintenance doesn’t mean we can’t have that piece of pizza, chocolately treat, or sub – you can if you choose wisely and are informed beforehand!

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2 thoughts on “Active Strategies to Combat Limiting Beliefs

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