Free Yourself From Imprisoning Thoughts

Reading is a means of thinking with another person’s mind; it forces you to stretch your own.
~Charles Scribner,Jr.

Lately I’ve been listening to life coach Martha Beck’s book Steering By Starlight. In it, she discusses how to dismantle the “thought dungeons” we create.

The idea of changing our thoughts to change our feelings originated in cognitive therapy by Aaron Beck (no relation to Martha) and Albert Ellis. One of the first books on this, Feeling Good, painstakingly described common cognitive distortions like “all or nothing” thinking, my favorite, “catastrophizing,” aka “living in the wreckage of the future,” and how we can neutralize/”refute them.”

Martha Beck’s book is much more fun than this with her keen wit and uncanny sense of how people get themselves stuck in “thought dungeons” of their own making and how to get out. For example, moms/parents who devote themselves to their children, totally neglecting their own needs. Sound familiar?

Here’s what she says to make the point, as we often do, that doing this is not necessarily best for you or your child. “The reason they tells parents to put their oxygen masks on first is because a conscious parent can save an unconscious child, but a conscious child cannot save an unconscious parent.”

What are you doing for self-care? If not, what thoughts are keeping you stuck? As last Thursday’s post suggested, ” Perhaps our arms will be more willing to hug and take care of others after we take care of ourselves.”

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