Stop focusing on the problem and start focusing on the solution. In today’s day and age, we always want to know when things go bad, how did I get here? What went wrong? How in the world am I going to do better next time? These are loaded and overwhelming questions and keep us stuck in the past and not in the present. It’s not to deny the past or disregard the root causes of what went wrong, but those things can often come up when focusing on the present and choosing to take values-guided action from here on out. We don’t want to get so far stuck in the root causes of what went wrong or what is wrong that we forget to decide how we want to be instead and then living by those values.
In this short YouTube video posted on the Beck Institute channel, Dr. Aaron Beck, the father of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, talks about how people with anxiety often carry a belief that some outcome will occur. For example, those with health anxiety will keep going to the doctor thinking they have a particular disease. Those with social anxiety think that they will become an outcast. The main problem with this is that they begin to fixate on that new belief and fixate on that symptom, which in turn, makes the symptom worse. Dr. Beck specifically talks about research on social phobia, which noticed that individuals were very observed so much in their perceived social image. They were so absorbed in that they wouldn’t have a chance to test the reality of their perceptions.
As a solution, psychologists are trying to get individuals with anxiety to focus on things outside themselves. When they do that, these individuals with social phobia experienced great relief. This idea can really be applied to anything because even in those times when we feel down or feeling blue, it’s easy for us to ruminate and think about our thoughts over and over. A mental loop just starts playing in our head that keeps us focused on what is wrong. But what about what is right?
Dr. Beck also talks about how mindfulness is a skill that could also be useful in these situations. Mindfulness is meant to train people’s minds to control their focus, so they begin to distance themselves from the everyday challenges for themselves and their careers. By focusing their mind, the goal is to create some distance from the thoughts so you don’t keep focusing on the problems and symptoms and thoughts that go through your head that most likely have not been verified on any level.
Let me know what you thought! Anything click for you from the video or this post? Do you focus too much on the problem? How can you begin to shift towards the solution?
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