Why fate is such a terrible belief

The harder a decision, the more unlikely or improbable something seems, the bigger the issue that gets solved or event that occurs…the more likely we are to call it ‘fate’.

We’ve all heard: “That’s so amazing that you met your girlfriend/boyfriend/partner/best friend/soul mate/husband/wife in *insert seemingly random circumstances* – it must be fate!”

It’s not.

Fate is another word for something magical, a higher power controlling our destiny – in other words, it’s not real. To be clear: fate doesn’t exist, there is no godlike figure controlling our lives and manufacturing random events for our benefit or displeasure.

But, for some people who might find making big decisions or comprehending changes in their lives difficult, ‘fate’ is an easy way out. ‘It’s meant to be’, ‘god willed it’ and ‘it is what it is’ are other versions of fate, dressed up as religion or fatalistic thinking. Illness, relationships, jobs, money, accidents, birth, deaths and success are all things that are often talked about in this way.

Think about the first statement, regarding meeting a partner and how it is often attributed to ‘fate’. In your lifetime, you might meet tens of thousands of people as you go about your daily life. There is a high probability that at some point, out of all these people you interact with in various ways, you will meet someone you are romantically attracted to, who is also romantically attracted to you too, and that you have a relationship based on this.

Yes, there may some factor in the meeting that seems coincidental – but the same could be said for every human interaction. We’re all connected in some way – big or small – so that chance meeting or seemingly random event is rarely [...]

IF YOU SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION, YOU MUST SEE THIS

Most people suffering from depression and related conditions believe exactly as I did for many years; that there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Some sort of misplaced connection that’s different to everyone else, like a badly-wired plug or a car with an intermittent fault that nobody else can experience or see but you.

BUT, I can tell you now with a great degree of certainty – informed by my own experience and that of many others who suffered from lifelong depression – that this isn’t the case.

Yes, your GP and NHS-based mental health practitioner will have explained how your brain chemistry is the mental equivalent of a school science experiment gone wrong because that’s the way that the general medical profession have viewed many mental health problems for decades. Their solution to this is to medicate. You break a leg and it’s obvious that your bone has physically snapped and needs to be put in plaster – thus, when you suffer from a mental health problem your brain must be chemically broken or damaged in the same way and needs fixing.

This isn’t true a lot of the time. As complex creatures, humans have become adept at creating these problems for ourselves through the way we process events and things that happen to us, even though we don’t do this consciously or with any awareness of what we’re doing. This is a well-established concept with considerable research behind it stretching back decades. Perhaps the best known and most compelling study on this subject was published in 1984 by Jerry M Burger, the highly respected professor of Psychology at Santa Clara University.

Jeremy Burger studied students over a six-month period and identified thinking styles and habits that [...]

HOW I HELPED MYSELF THRIVE

April 10, 2017

I suspect my story is a familiar one, sadly. I say sadly only in retrospect, because right now I’m feeling great and living something approaching the life I’ve always aimed for, but never quite managed to grasp in my previous two decades of adult life. This was mainly due to my poor mental health, lack of coping skills and wholly negative outlook on life. My glass wasn’t half empty… it was drier than the Sahara!

I’d always experienced strong depressive feelings and thoughts, and carried other baggage – low self-esteem and poor sleep patterns – around with me too, so in the mid-00s I made a concerted effort to get ‘better’. This involved the usual confessional trips to the GP and subsequent referrals to whatever local services were deemed most likely to help – a combination of irregular NHS counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and strong anti-depressants. The doctor would then tell me to come back in a few weeks when the drugs will have kicked in and I should be feeling better.

Except I didn’t get better. CBT was comically ineffective and the medication made very little difference to my daily outlook and caused numerous problems relating to side-effects. For example, a few days after starting one treatment course, I was on a first date with a gorgeous young lady… who was no doubt surprised when, after a great evening of successfully presenting myself as ideal boyfriend material, I came within a millisecond of physically assaulting a traffic warden who’d quite rightly given me a ticket. Note: whatever the opposite of a ‘fighter’ is, that’s me. I don’t do violence. So I wasn’t too surprised to never hear from her again and I stopped [...]

ONE SIMPLE (BUT EFFECTIVE) TIP TO BREAK THAT LOW-SELF-ESTEEM-CYCLE

April 4, 2017

Self-esteem is perhaps the most under-valued part of what makes up our mental health. At worst, it can lead you to do things you’d never normally consider doing – poor relationship choice, drinking heavily and substance abuse are classic symptoms of low self-esteem – but at best it can propel you to achievements and courses of action that are immeasurably good for your well-being. Self-esteem is a powerful tool for good, or bad.

Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself. It’s your overall view of you as a person, good or bad. A self-critique, if you like. Naturally, if you have a negative view of yourself, your self-esteem will be low and you won’t be maximising the opportunities life throws at you. Apply for that dream job? No point, says the person with low self-esteem, you’ll never get it. And don’t even think about asking that person you like out for a drink!

But, developing and maintaining a strong self-esteem is entirely possible, even if you consider yourself a lifelong sufferer of low self-esteem. Although our self-esteem is a product of the recent experiences in life and the way we’ve processed them – negative experiences and a subsequent negative thought process will inevitably lead to low self-esteem – it is entirely possible to reprogram yourself into processing these experiences differently.

The key here is to recognise that low self-esteem isn’t due to the negative events, but the way we’ve processed them. Not getting a job you interviewed for might be a negative experience on the face of it, but it only becomes so when you’ve thought about it in such a way that it becomes a dent in our self-esteem: “I’m not good enough…” [...]

One simple (but effective) tip to break that low-self-esteem-cycle

Self-esteem is perhaps the most under-valued part of what makes up our mental health. At worst, it can lead you to do things you’d never normally consider doing – poor relationship choice, drinking heavily and substance abuse are classic symptoms of low self-esteem – but at best it can propel you to achievements and courses of action that are immeasurably good for your well-being. Self-esteem is a powerful tool for good, or bad.

Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself. It’s your overall view of you as a person, good or bad. A self-critique, if you like. Naturally, if you have a negative view of yourself, your self-esteem will be low and you won’t be maximising the opportunities life throws at you. Apply for that dream job? No point, says the person with low self-esteem, you’ll never get it. And don’t even think about asking that person you like out for a drink!

But, developing and maintaining a strong self-esteem is entirely possible, even if you consider yourself a lifelong sufferer of low self-esteem. Although our self-esteem is a product of the recent experiences in life and the way we’ve processed them – negative experiences and a subsequent negative thought process will inevitably lead to low self-esteem – it is entirely possible to reprogram yourself into processing these experiences differently.

The key here is to recognise that low self-esteem isn’t due to the negative events, but the way we’ve processed them. Not getting a job you interviewed for might be a negative experience on the face of it, but it only becomes so when you’ve thought about it in such a way that it becomes a dent in our self-esteem: “I’m not good enough…” or “I’ll [...]

How to have a Thriving week!

Thrive Programme founder Rob Kelly shares his tips for an amazing week!
Unsocial media…
How many hours do you burn every single week scrolling down social media timelines, and how does this actually make you feel? A recent study highlighted how comparing yourself to others on Facebook can trigger or exasperate depression and associated mental health issues.

Envy, unhealthy comparisons, reminders of past relationships and negative comments are all deeply unhelpful, to the point where the American Academy of Pediatrics declared “Facebook depression” to be a real phenomenon. They defined it as: “depression that develops when preteens and teens spend a great deal of time on social media sites, such as Facebook, and then begin to exhibit classic symptoms of depression.”

The answer? A host of smartphone apps will allow you to turn off, restrict or ration your social media or app use; Offtime, Moment, Break Free, Flipd and StayOnTask are some of the most popular and cover iOS and Android devices.

Set one up and spend the time you’d otherwise clock up on your daily social media safari doing something that, instead, fills you with joy; call your best friend, go for a riverside walk or bake something delicious!
Work it out
Think of serious exercise and, for most of us mere mortals, visions of lycra-clad cyborgs operating assorted torture devices in crowed gyms come to mind. It doesn’t have to be like this!

Exercise is all relative, so if you’ve spent the past few years getting very friendly with your sofa, then a brisk walk to the shops and back is great news for your mental health. The Royal College of Psychiatrists, no less, are big on this and state that being active helps alleviate negative [...]

By |March 17th, 2017|Blog & News|0 Comments|

New Year’s Resolutions don’t work. Try something different in 2017!

New Year’s Resolutions don’t work. Try something different in 2017!

 

 

With the second week of 2017 underway, many people will have given up their New Year’s resolutions already. Did you make any resolutions this year? If so, have you actually stuck to them? In fact by the end of the month 66% of people who made a resolution will have given up already according to a recent ComRes poll for Bupa. Many people make New Year’s resolutions but have actually no idea how they are going to set about achieving their goals or sustain their new regimes. The Thrive Programme can really help with this.

The Thrive Programme is an Evidence Based, Empowering and Easy to Understand Approach to Achieving Life-Long Positive Change

Having helped thousands of clients successfully achieve their goals, at the Thrive Programme we really understand the psychological mechanisms that underpin positive long term change. It doesn’t matter if it is weight loss, fitness, overcoming a fear, phobia or anxiety, all these goals and more can be achieved by developing strong psychological foundations, overcoming limiting beliefs and unhelpful thinking styles. There is no focus on specific issues or symptoms, it’s about getting clients to thrive and they will then have all the skills, self-knowledge and belief to achieve their goals in weeks rather than months.

 

Motivation

To stand any chance of achieving and sustaining goals in the long term, we need to be really motivated, determined and have the will-power to stick it out even when the going gets tough. It is important that we want to change for ourselves, rather than pressure from husbands wives, partners, mothers, fathers, children or friends saying we should stop smoking, lose weight or get fit. We are far more [...]

By |January 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

All About Control

 

If you’re working through The Thrive Programme® you’ll know that it’s all about taking back power and control in your life. This is crucial in learning to thrive.

Power, control, desire for control, secondary control – feeling confused? This should help.

In order to thrive you’ll learn to develop strong psychological foundations. An ‘internal locus of control’ is a really important foundation: this means you will feel that you can have a huge impact on the life you life, rather than ‘life happening to you’.

In the Thrive Programme, we call this having ‘internal SPACE’.

But it doesn’t stop there… You might be building your internal SPACE, and be told to reduce your ‘desire for control’. What? You’re being taught to build your internal sense of power and control but then you learn that too much desire for control is a bad thing? Well, this is confusing.

People have a strong desire for control when they actually feel out of control; this leads to anxiety, fuels perfectionism and is really quite stressful. To understand how to reduce your desire for control and feel calm and relaxed, you will need to master one more aspect of ‘control’: primary control and secondary control.

Primary control is our ability to plan and prepare: if you have ever achieved anything, it’s down to your primary control – you will have worked hard, organised yourself, mastered new challenges and used your direct influence to get results. All this is good! You need a certain amount of primary control in your life. But you don’t need to control everything and cater for every eventuality.

Secondary control means ‘coping skills’. Even if you’re a master of organisation and prior planning, life is always going to be full of [...]

Mental Toughness and Goal Setting- What can we learn from endurance athletes?

Ironman Triathlete on the 112 mile bike ride

 

Determined, highly driven and tough minded are the character traits needed when competing in ultra-marathons, ironman triathlons or long distance endurance adventures. These can be beneficial to us all and translated to non-sport related activities.

I have been fascinated for many years by Ironman Triathletes and adventurers who push themselves to their physical limit.  Although I have never really had the inclination myself to climb the highest peaks on each continent, run round the world on my own or compete in an Ironman Triathlon, I find those who do very inspirational.  Like my husband who competed in an Ironman Triathlon several years ago, many individuals who do these events are not top athletes.  However, they have developed the qualities professional sports people use every day in order to succeed.  Whether your goal for this year is to lose weight, get fit by running your first half marathon or start learning to play a new musical instrument, self-discipline, mental toughness, grit, high self- efficacy are all qualities that help us to achieve our goals.

 
Self Discipline
Professional sports people have this in spades. Without it they would not be able to get up at 5.00 am to go and train in the pool or the gym.  It’s about delayed gratification and impulse control.   The idea of waiting for a greater reward instead of some instant gratification is something that affects us all to a lesser or greater extent.  There have been some interesting studies on impulse control, the most famous being the Marshmallow Test (Mischel et al 1970, Mischel, 1978, Mischel et al, 1989) where a group of 4-6 year old children were asked individually to go in a room [...]

Are phobias real?

Only if you believe that they are…It is fair to day that no one comes into the world with a phobia. How can we, when we don’t know what anything is. If we aren’t born with it, it means we must have (inadvertently) learnt how to create or have the phobia. Underlying any phobia are unhelpful belief systems and unhelpful and powerless thinking and an extremely unhelpful imagination.Some phobias may come about through an unpleasant experience, for example being bitten by a dog. It stands to reason that one may become fearful of dogs immediately after the incident, which in turn, may grow, to become a full blown phobia. This all makes logical sense. The question to ask, is “what about the person who is bitten, as badly, by the same or similar type or size dog, and still functions normally around dogs?”. Two very similar situations but two very different outcomes.So, what happens in the situation where a phobia about dogs develops? It goes something like this…person gets bitten. They feel a bit shocked and shaken. The dog is hauled away and the person’s bite is treated. The person feels relieved that there was no major damage done. This is where the scenario could potentially end. But it doesn’t. The person then keeps imagining the scenario over and over again and each time they re-imagine it, they build up more and more anxiety, fear and helplessness around the situation. Every time they see of think of a dog, they will probably recreate the scenario again, creating a strong association between dogs and anxiety and terror. The dog bite has gone from a one off slightly scary and unpleasant to a hugely terrifying ordeal [...]