What If Optimistic Considering Doesn’t Work?


positive thinking

The Limits of Optimistic Considering

Have you ever ever been informed by somebody to have interaction in optimistic pondering to repair a life downside? Do you keep away from interested by disagreeable life experiences? Have you ever skilled your thoughts to reduce ache?

If the reply is sure, you wouldn’t be alone. Numerous folks interact in optimistic pondering as a life-style. However what if optimistic pondering 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 unfavourable pondering and helps listeners concentrate on options.

Take Aways From Present

  • The professionals and cons of optimistic pondering
  • 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: Optimistic Considering

Hey, 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 right now’s present, which is being sponsored by Higher Assist, we’re going to speaking about optimistic pondering and asking the query: What occurs when optimistic pondering doesn’t work and what to do as an alternative.

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

Nicely, right here’s the deal – I created this present as a result of I needed to maneuver past the partitions of my non-public observe 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 related to their wellness objectives.

In order that’s group one.

Group two are males who could also be interested by remedy and comply with a present like this one as a result of it provides them a way of what counseling is likely to be like.

Group two can be residence to males who’re at the moment 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 talk about 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 actual fact, for a lot of of those males, I’m about as fashionable spoiled milk, however to maintain it actual – a few of these similar males may simply be curious sufficient to faucet on an app and take heed to a present as a result of the fabric someway speaks to them.

Are you a lady listening to the present? Nicely, 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 right now, I simply need to say now proper now – I’m thrilled you’re right here – really.

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

Alrighty, let’s slide again into right now’s subject: What occurs when optimistic pondering doesn’t work?

As you mirror on that query, right here’s a couple of extra to consider:

  • Have you ever ever been informed that if you happen to simply concentrate on the optimistic, the whole lot will end up OK?
  • Does it appear to be you pressure your self to suppose joyful 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?

Nicely, if any of that resonates, be 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 couple of consumer 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 actual fact, it made his scenario worse.

So, there’s that.

We’ll additionally discover a listener e-mail from man who describes himself as chubby and might’t have sexual activity except he’s sporting a t-shirt.

As you may see, we’ve obtained lots occurring. Stick round!

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

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

Enable 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 vibrant, sunny day and the water is crystal blue.

All the pieces appears so excellent.

However as you solid your consciousness on the horizon – you see 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 actual fact 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 flexibility to challenge an enormous, gold vitality protect product of pure gentle.

Immediately, the wave is upon you, crashing onto your safety display with huge energy. And for a minute, it looks as if you’re capable of 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 a watch, 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 the whole lot 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 frequently inform my shoppers.

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

Examples is likely to be a trauma or loss – or deep emotions of disgrace that you just is likely to be 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 discovered to craft our shields with optimistic pondering.

In different phrases, we’ve informed ourselves that by merely specializing in the optimistic, we will hold despair and unhappiness at bay. Possibly you may relate?

I’m pondering now of all of the memes you see on social media that say issues like: “If you happen to discover issues to be glad about, the whole lot shall be OK” and “Strive wanting on the vibrant facet”.

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

However in terms of one thing deeper, like complicated trauma and loss, attempting to pressure your self into joyful speak can truly make you are feeling worse.

Know what I imply?

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

To assist get to the solutions, I’m going to let you know 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 youngsters and labored as a welder.

And you already know, as I speak about this now, I can nonetheless bear in mind the primary time he walked by way of 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 informed me a couple of good friend of his that had been killed in an explosion – one thing he apparently noticed occur up shut and private.

Simply so you already know, I’m purposely not giving a whole lot of element right here as a result of I need to shield this affected person’s confidentiality.

However I’ll let you know that after I requested Rusty if he had ever talked to anybody about what occurred, he shook his head and mentioned, “Nope – probably not. What good would it not do? I’d quite concentrate on 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 be taught issues about his childhood, like rising up in a home the place males didn’t speak about their emotions and the ladies didn’t ask about them.

In actual fact, each time one thing uncomfortable did come up, it was normally glossed over with joyful speak – feedback that solely touched the floor.

However then at some point throughout a session, I requested Rusty if he might draw a hyperlink between his early childhood experiences with feelings and his incapacity to the touch something associated to ache, just like the loss of life of his good friend.

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

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

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

You see quite than deny his feelings joyful speak, Rusty began to just 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 accommodates six core processes – and I’m shortly to shortly tick off every one, however know the whole lot 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 susceptible in my workplace.

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

The third is being current, which suggests 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 navy 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 take a seat right here and let you know that any of this was simple 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 related 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 susceptible and ultimately share his experiences with different males.

If you happen to’ve discovered your self in a spot optimistic pondering alone has stopped working OR in case you are fascinated about residing a extra genuine life, I’d wish 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.

People, this can be a guide I’ve used with a lot of my sufferers through the years and might let you know proper now it’s a recreation changer. I actually hope you contemplate.

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

What painful occasions out of your previous have you ever been preserving at bay? How may your life change if you happen to began coping with them by standing in your reality?

Block C: Promotion

Listeners are informed a couple of particular provide with Higher Assist. Get ten p.c off first month of periods utilizing this particular hyperlink.

BLOCK D: Listener E-mail Males Physique Picture

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

Are you prepared – let’s bounce proper in!

“Hello, Dr. John – My identify is Danny I’m actually loving your podcast. In a bizarre form of manner, it appears like I’m getting a way of what counseling is likely to be 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 total life. Over the previous few months, I’ve managed to drop ten kilos and hold the burden 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 sporting some sort of t-shirt – even when the lights are off.

I understand that is fully tousled, however the reality is I’m embarrassed on the manner my higher physique appears, 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 attempt something, regardless of how “woo woo” as you generally say.



So, there’s Danny’s notice. And as you digest what a few of what he mentioned, I’m questioning what number of of you listening proper now battle 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 notice, 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 into much more of a problem in latest weeks with issues opening up – post-COVID.

Possibly a few of you may relate?

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

“Hello, Danny,

First, let me say thanks for hitting the comply with 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 speak for a second about this downside you’re having round intimacy and physique picture points. When 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 a whole lot of 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 truth of the world we stay 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 excellent to be true.

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

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

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

As you discover your self within the mirror, focus your consciousness in your decrease elements. I do know this can be arduous as a result of the pure tendency is to take 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 two minutes staying on this house and absorbing the optimistic vitality.

Afterward, it’s time to shift the main target of your consciousness to your midsection, beginning together 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 if you find yourself achieved, think about your self being together 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 wish to suggest a useful resource known as The Physique Picture Workbook by Thomas Money – and I’ve included a hyperlink. It’s therapist really useful and has been useful to many individuals, together with males.

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

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

BLOCK E: Closeout

Did you discover the subjects we explored right now useful? Simply have a look at the bottom we lined – we talked about how optimistic pondering 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 can assist enhance confidence.

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

If you happen to 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 fashion, 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 evaluate on Apple Podcasts or no matter app you’re utilizing. Apparently, the extra evaluations I get, the extra it influences its visibility and rankings.

Plus, I 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 realize, there’s a number of methods to achieve me. You may cease by my Instagram web page on Instagram at Man Counseling. And you may as well 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 put up one factor a day, on a regular basis, that someway pertains to well being and wellness. It may very well be a meme, it may very well 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 comply with.

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I’m on the net at Guycounseling.com, and there, you’ll discover tons of weblog posts associated to subjects males care about. Details about my guide is there, complicated love with obsession, and you may as well join my publication on the sidebar. I promise I don’t ship out emails continuously and no matter I ship shall be quick and candy. I promise.

Do you’ve gotten 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 notice at: [mentioned on podcast].

Something you ship me shall be held within the strictest of confidence and I gained’t share it with anybody except you give me permission. Now remember the fact that if you happen to do attain out, it could take a couple of days to get again to you as a result of I’m educating lessons or am in session with shoppers.

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

Pay attention to 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.

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