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What If Constructive Considering Doesn’t Work?

positive thinking

The Limits of Constructive Considering

Have you ever ever been instructed by somebody to have interaction in optimistic considering to repair a life downside? Do you keep away from occupied with disagreeable life experiences? Have you ever educated your thoughts to attenuate ache?

If the reply is sure, you wouldn’t be alone. Numerous individuals have interaction in optimistic considering as a life-style. However what if optimistic considering doesn’t work? Are there any choices for coping?

It seems the reply is sure. On this episode of the Males’s Self-Assist Podcast, Dr. John Moore explores the downsides of unfavorable considering and helps listeners deal with options.

Take Aways From Present

  • The professionals and cons of optimistic considering
  • How minimizing trauma and ache could make issues worse
  • The ins and outs of acceptance and dedication remedy
  • Physique picture points within the bed room
  • Mirror affirmations

Assets Talked about in Present

BLOCK A: Constructive Considering

Howdy, and welcome – or welcome again, to episode 34 of The Males’s Self-Assist Podcast. I’m so glad you’re right here. My identify is Dr. John Moore, and I’m a licensed psychotherapist out of Chicago, Illinois and I’ve been concerned with counseling and educating for practically 20 years.

In at present’s present, which is being sponsored by Higher Assist, we’re going to speaking about optimistic considering and asking the query: What occurs when optimistic considering doesn’t work and what to do as a substitute.

However earlier than we take a deep dive into that matter, a few of you listening could also be questioning what this podcast is all about. In different phrases, why did I begin it?

Properly, right here’s the deal – I created this present as a result of I wished to maneuver past the partitions of my personal apply and attain three particular teams of males.

The primary are guys who’re all about self-improvement and hit the subscribe button as a result of the ideas we discover assist them with staying linked to their wellness targets.

In order that’s group one.

Group two are males who could also be inquisitive about remedy and observe a present like this one as a result of it provides them a way of what counseling is perhaps like.

Group two can also be house to males who’re at present concerned with remedy – be it one on one with a counselor or as a part of a gaggle – and use a few of what we focus on right here as a part of their journey.

After which there’s group three. These are my go it alone varieties, that means these males are simply by no means, ever, going to come back knocking on the door of somebody like me, a counselor, to speak concerning the points occurring of their life.

No siree bob – it’s not occurring.

In truth, for a lot of of those males, I’m about as widespread spoiled milk, however to maintain it actual – a few of these similar males would possibly simply be curious sufficient to faucet on an app and hearken to a present as a result of the fabric one way or the other speaks to them.

Are you a girl listening to the present? Properly, welcome aboard! The reality is a number of girls subscribe to this podcast as a result of the content material helps them to raised assist the person of their life, like a boyfriend or husband or perhaps a member of the family, like your dad or brother.

However no matter what introduced you right here at present, I simply need to say now proper now – I’m thrilled you’re right here – actually.

Only a fast disclaimer – this podcast isn’t designed to behave as an alternative choice to counseling or medical recommendation and I’m not your private therapist.

Alrighty, let’s slide again into at present’s matter: What occurs when optimistic considering doesn’t work?

As you replicate on that query, right here’s just a few extra to consider:

  • Have you ever ever been instructed that if you happen to simply deal with the optimistic, all the pieces will prove OK?
  • Does it appear to be you pressure your self to suppose completely satisfied ideas, solely to find the expertise itself falls quick?
  • Do you keep away from emotional ache since you’ve been taught that males don’t present their emotions?

Properly, if any of that resonates, be a part of the membership – as a result of as a person, I get it.

To assist us discover all of this extra, we’re going to speak a few shopper I as soon as labored with identify Rusty, an Military veteran who wanted assist as a result of optimistic self-talk had failed him. In truth, it made his state of affairs worse.

So, there’s that.

We’ll additionally discover a listener electronic mail from man who describes himself as obese and may’t have sexual activity except he’s carrying a t-shirt.

As you possibly can see, we’ve obtained rather a lot occurring. Stick round!

BLOCK B: What if optimistic considering doesn’t work?

Proper now, I’d such as you to go forward and take a deep breath to clear your thoughts.

Permit your self to think about that you just’re standing alone on a quiet seaside, at that magical place the place the ocean meets the shore.

It’s a vivid, sunny day and the water is crystal blue.

All the things appears so good.

However as you forged your consciousness on the horizon – you notice an enormous wave cresting within the distance.

As time passes and the wave attracts nearer, you begin to understand that it’s rising taller – so tall in truth that the horizon itself quickly disappears.

Because the seconds tick by, the wave will get even nearer, gathering vitality with every passing second.

Instinctively, you increase each arms and use your palms to make the cease gesture. And it’s presently that you just faucet into your secret superpower – the power to mission a large, gold vitality protect fabricated from pure mild.

Abruptly, the wave is upon you, crashing onto your safety display screen with monumental energy. And for a minute, it looks like you’re in a position to repel the water again.

“It’s working – it’s working” you say to your self.

However as time goes on, the wave’s vitality continues to construct up. Within the blink of an eye fixed, it has reworked right into a tsunami.

Overcome with exhaustion, your arms give out – and your protect drops.

And that’s when the water engulfs you – and all the pieces goes black.

So, how’s that for story telling?

Look, I shared this psychological imagery with you as a metaphor and its one which I repeatedly inform my shoppers.

Within the symbolic sense, that wave represents one thing painful out of your previous.

Examples is perhaps a trauma or loss – or deep emotions of disgrace that you just is perhaps holding.

So, that’s the wave.

The protect symbolizes your means to maintain away the ache – to repel in opposition to the dangerous – which can work for some time – till it doesn’t.

And may I degree with you? Many people have realized to craft our shields with optimistic considering.

In different phrases, we’ve instructed ourselves that by merely specializing in the optimistic, we are able to hold despair and disappointment at bay. Possibly you possibly can relate?

I’m considering now of all of the memes you see on social media that say issues like: “In case you discover issues to be glad about, all the pieces can be OK” and “Strive wanting on the vivid aspect”.

Associated: 50 finest podcasts for guys! 

Now hey -don’t me unsuitable – I’m all about having a optimistic mindset. In truth, I repeatedly encourage my sufferers to lean into gratitude as a coping technique.

However relating to one thing deeper, like advanced trauma and loss, making an attempt to pressure your self into completely satisfied discuss can really make you are feeling worse.

Know what I imply?

So, chances are you’ll be questioning – what are the options? What are the opposite choices?

To assist get to the solutions, I’m going to inform you the story of Rusty. He was a affected person of mine from a number of years in the past who got here to me as a result of he felt disconnected from life. He was in his late 30’s, married with two children and labored as a welder.

And you recognize, as I discuss this now, I can nonetheless keep in mind the primary time he walked by my workplace door. The man was all smiles.

As we obtained to know each other, I found that he had hung out within the Military, serving a number of excursions of fight responsibility within the Center East.

Throughout his enlistment, he instructed me a few buddy of his that had been killed in an explosion – one thing he apparently noticed occur up shut and private.

Simply so you recognize, I’m purposely not giving numerous element right here as a result of I need to defend this affected person’s confidentiality.

However I’ll inform you that after I requested Rusty if he had ever talked to anybody about what occurred, he shook his head and mentioned, “Nope – not likely. What good wouldn’t it do? I’d slightly deal with the optimistic.”

And so, at the very least for some time – I left the subject alone.

Within the weeks that adopted, I got here to study issues about his childhood, like rising up in a home the place males didn’t discuss their emotions and the ladies didn’t ask about them.

In truth, each time one thing uncomfortable did come up, it was often glossed over with completely satisfied discuss – feedback that solely touched the floor.

However then sooner or later throughout a session, I requested Rusty if he may draw a hyperlink between his early childhood experiences with feelings and his lack of ability to the touch something associated to ache, just like the demise of his buddy.

As he sat with that query for a minute, one thing came to visit him – one thing clicked. And it was then he started to cry.

And guys after I inform you he cried, it was uncooked and highly effective.

However one thing else occurred in that second – Rusty started to heal.

You see slightly than deny his feelings completely satisfied discuss, Rusty began to simply accept his loss and trauma, realizing how a lot had been bottled up – deep inside.

And I say accepted as a result of it’s his first step in one thing known as Acceptance and Dedication Remedy or ACT for brief.

Developed by Dr. Steven Hayes within the 1980’s, ACT incorporates six core processes – and I’m rapidly to rapidly tick off each, however know all the pieces that I’m about to say is on the Man Counseling web site and I’ve linked to this in present notes.

The primary is acceptance. That’s what’s Rusty did when he allowed himself to be weak in my workplace.

The second is cognitive diffusion, the place an individual learns decrease the emotional depth of a reminiscence of a sense in order that it doesn’t overwhelm.

The third is being current, which implies being conscious of your feelings with out going for a “fast repair” to make them go away.

The fourth is self as context – that means the particular person doesn’t permit one expertise or one occasion to outline them.

The fifth is values. For Rusty this meant valuing his personal ache and becoming a member of a assist group for army veterans.

The sixth is being dedicated to motion. And Rusty did this by proudly owning his feelings and never by wanding them away with denial.

So, that’s ACT in a nutshell.

Now of us, I’m not going to sit down right here and inform you that any of this was straightforward for him or that he didn’t hit snags alongside the way in which. He completely did.

However I’ll say that over the course of time, the person started to heal. His marriage turned stronger, and he started to really feel extra linked to life.

And that wasn’t due to something I did.

As an alternative, it was ALL Rusty – as a result of he’s the one who selected to be weak and ultimately share his experiences with different males.

In case you’ve discovered your self in a spot optimistic considering alone has stopped working OR if you’re excited by residing a extra genuine life, I’d prefer to share a strong useful resource with you.

It’s a guide known as Reclaim Your Life: Acceptance and Dedication Remedy in 7 weeks. It was authored by Dr. Carissa Gustafason and I’ve linked to it in Present Notes.

Of us, it is a guide I’ve used with a lot of my sufferers through the years and may inform you proper now it’s a sport changer. I actually hope you take into account.

As we shut out this block, I’d like to depart you with just a few questions:

What painful occasions out of your previous have you ever been holding at bay? How would possibly your life change if you happen to began coping with them by standing in your fact?

Block C: Promotion

Listeners are instructed a few particular provide with Higher Assist. Get ten p.c off first month of classes utilizing this particular hyperlink.

BLOCK D: Listener E mail Males Physique Picture

This week’s listener electronic mail involves us from a person residing in New Mexico. I’ll simply reduce to the chase and browse what he despatched me and after that, I’ll disclose to you what I despatched again to him.

Are you prepared – let’s leap proper in!

“Hello, Dr. John – My identify is Danny I’m actually loving your podcast. In a bizarre sort of method, it looks like I’m getting a way of what counseling is perhaps like.

[well, thank you for that Danny – OK – he goes on to say]

Right here’s some background. I’m 27 years previous and have struggled with weight my whole life. Over the previous few months, I’ve managed to drop ten kilos and hold the load off by working with a coach. So, I’m good there.

However my actual downside has extra to do with having intercourse with my girlfriend. It’s not like I don’t need to or that we by no means get it on as a result of we do. However each time it does occur, I should be carrying some kind of t-shirt – even when the lights are off.

I understand that is utterly tousled, however the fact is I’m embarrassed on the method my higher physique seems to be, like my abdomen and man-boobs. However oddly sufficient, I’m OK with my decrease physique.  

What advise are you able to give me about this? I’m keen to strive something, regardless of how “woo woo” as you generally say.



So, there’s Danny’s observe. And as you digest what a few of what he mentioned, I’m questioning what number of of you listening proper now wrestle with one thing like this – or at the very least a variation of it.

Earlier than I share with you my response to this listener’s observe, nicely, the essence of it – I simply need to say now that physique picture points are a frequent focus of dialog within the counseling workplace. For actual.

And to be actual with you, it’s turn out to be much more of a problem in current weeks with issues opening up – post-COVID.

Possibly a few of you possibly can relate?

At any price, he’s what I despatched to Danny – and bear in mind I’m paraphrasing a bit right here.

“Hello, Danny,

First, let me say thanks for hitting the observe button and listening to the podcast. Second, congratulations for making the choice to work with a coach and investing in your well being. It feels like you’re heading in the right direction!

So, let’s discuss for a second about this downside you’re having round intimacy and physique picture points. Whilst you didn’t come proper out and say it, my sense is that this has been inflicting you a substantial amount of ache and I simply need to acknowledge and validate that proper now.

And look – I get this. As males, we put numerous emphasis across the higher physique, just like the chest and midsection, as a result of a lot of that is tied to masculinity. I’m not saying I agree with this, however I’m acknowledging the fact of the world we dwell in. And it doesn’t assist once we see app-driven filtered and slenderized pictures of different guys on social media, replete with our bodies that appear too good to be true.

With all of that mentioned, you talked about that when you don’t like your higher physique, you’re good along with your decrease physique. That’s vital to know for what I’m going to ask you to do subsequent, offered that you’re keen.

And what I’m speaking about is mirror work. Yep, that’s proper, mirror work.

The following time you could have some privateness, I’d such as you to get undressed and stand in entrance of a mirror, ideally a wall mirror. This might occur if you get out of the bathe, for instance.

As you discover your self within the mirror, focus your consciousness in your decrease components. I do know this can be onerous as a result of the pure tendency is to have a look at what we don’t like. However simply stick with me for a minute.

As you scan your self out of your toes going upward, in direction of your legs, say to your self, “I’ like my calves and settle for them simply as they’re” or “I like my thighs and settle for them simply as they’re”.

Don’t rush this half. As an alternative, spend a great two minutes staying on this area and absorbing the optimistic vitality.

Afterward, it’s time to shift the main focus of your consciousness to your midsection, beginning along with your abdomen. As you do that, say to your self: “I’m creating change round my abdomen and settle for what I see, simply as it’s.” Let me repeat that once more: “I’m creating change round my abdomen and settle for what I see simply as it’s.”

Now transfer upward to your chest space and take the identical method: “I’m creating change round my chest and settle for what I see, simply as it’s.”

Lastly, I’d such as you to finish by taking a look at your face within the mirror and make eye-contact with your self and say 3 times:

“I’m precisely who I should be on this second.

Strive doing this exercise every day for every week and when you find yourself carried out, think about your self being along with your girlfriend free and uninhibited. In your thoughts’s eye, rehearse letting her see you simply as you’re throughout these moments of closeness.

Lastly, Danny, I’d prefer to suggest a useful resource known as The Physique Picture Workbook by Thomas Money – and I’ve included a hyperlink. It’s therapist beneficial and has been useful to many individuals, together with males.

Thanks a lot for reaching out – tell us how issues go sooner or later.

Properly, there’s my response to this listener. Do you wrestle with physique picture points? If the reply is sure, what are you going to do about it?

BLOCK E: Closeout

Did you discover the matters we explored at present useful? Simply have a look at the bottom we lined – we talked about how optimistic considering can somethings be a canopy up for what’s occurring, deep inside. We additionally touched on acceptance and dedication remedy as a pathway to alter.

However that wasn’t all – the subject of physique picture got here up and doing mirror work may also help enhance confidence.

Haha, there have been even some metaphors used within the present. Did you catch them?

In case you beloved this episode or have ever discovered this present useful, I’d actually recognize it if you happen to hit that subscribe button utilizing no matter you employ to listen to the present. This manner, you’ll by no means miss an episode.

And right here’s the factor – I would like your assist with getting this podcast in entrance of different males – and one of the best ways to try this is to depart a overview on Apple Podcasts or no matter app you’re utilizing. Apparently, the extra critiques I get, the extra it influences its visibility and rankings.

Plus, I really like studying your suggestions as a result of it retains me so motivated to maintain making these pods. And folk, it’s simply me. I don’t have manufacturing crew or anybody writing out the scripts.

You recognize, there’s a number of methods to achieve me. You may cease by my Instagram web page on Instagram at Man Counseling. And you can too discover me on Fb and Twitter on the similar deal with.

Talking of Instagram, I’ve pledged that through the month of August, I promise to publish one factor a day, on a regular basis, that one way or the other pertains to well being and wellness. It could possibly be a meme, it could possibly be a quote – who is aware of – there might even be a foolish image of me. So, I’d like it if you happen to cease by and observe.

Associated: Anger administration with DBT

I’m on the internet at Guycounseling.com, and there, you’ll discover tons of weblog posts associated to matters males care about. Details about my guide is there, complicated love with obsession, and you can too join my e-newsletter on the sidebar. I promise I don’t ship out emails often and no matter I ship can be quick and candy. I promise.

Do you could have a query you’d like learn on the present or have some suggestions? If that’s the case, be at liberty to shoot me a observe at: [mentioned on podcast].

Something you ship me can be held within the strictest of confidence and I received’t share it with anybody except you give me permission. Now needless to say if you happen to do attain out, it might take just a few days to get again to you as a result of I’m educating courses or am in session with shoppers.

Properly, that’s it – one other present. I’d prefer to thank our present’s sponsor, Higher Assist – and in addition give a shout out to my sound engineer, Joel, with East Coast Studio.

Concentrate on your emotions and take a look at not decide them. Discover methods to understand your physique, simply as it’s. Bear in mind the method of change is a journey.

Take superb care. I’m Dr. John, and this has been, one other episode of the Males’s Self-Assist Podcast.


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

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