Where We Have Control: Perception as Reality

Lately there has been a lot in the news cycle that generates fear and outrage, sometimes a sense of powerlessness which can lead to despair. What can we do about this energy? In my psychological practice, I frequently work with clients to access a felt sense of empowerment. What does this mean? To recognize one’s choices, to be able to make a choice that feels right to oneself, and to accept responsibility for that choice. Thus, we get to choose how to engage with discomfort i.e. get swallowed up by it, or contain and address it.

Thus, we can choose how much we expose ourselves to, how we sit with distressing information,  the space we give for our thoughts and feelings, and the in/action we take to feel empowered.

The saying “neurons that fire together wire together” refers to our malleable or “plastic” brains. This means that what we give attention to gets stronger. If we focus on pain or discomfort, it amplifies pain and discomfort. Thus, one way to strengthen neuropathways that we want, is to consciously give attention to what is working, going well in our days, to give conscious time and space to engage in a pleasure schedule (ideally a minimum of one thing per day), to schedule things we are looking forward to (i.e. “carrots”), and to be mindful of interrupting habitual/negative thought spirals.