Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Depressed, Anxious or Just Distorted?

Most of us to some degree struggle with distorting reality, seeing our world with a lens that reflects more of a cloudy mirror of the past (and all our hurts, traumas, disappointments etc) and this can often distort our reality in the present and/or anticipate the same negative outcome by distorting how we perceive the future.

These "negative" thoughts can create all kinds of self-fulfilling prophecies of painful perceptions of reality that appear familiar to us. When these distortions dominate our way of thinking, this will lead to depression, anxiety and addiction as "beliefs become biology" effect our emotions, perceptions, attitude, behaviour etc.

There is something you can do about these pesky personal demons, you can begin to challenge your thinking!

Research shows that engaging in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or taking
prescribed medications (i.e. anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds) will BOTH work on the basal ganglia of your brain (i.e. the area in your brain that controls motor control and learning).

In other words psychotherapy and engaging in the act of challenging your distorted thoughts will change your brain’s neural pathways.

Here is Part 1 of the Cognitive Distortions List

Share and do these with a loved one:

All or Nothing Thinking

-Seeing everything as black or white, right or
wrong. If your performance falls short of
perfection, you see yourself as a total failure.
Using words such as “always” or “never” in
your self-talk or vocabulary is all or nothing.

You see a single negative event as a neverending
pattern of defeat.

-Disqualifying the positive
Insisting that positive experiences don’t count

-Jumping to Conclusions:
Arriving at negative interpretations of events
without evidence to support the conclusions

-Mind Reading:
Randomly concluding that someone is
reacting negatively without investigating. ie “I
KNOW my boss gave me that strange look
because they KNOW that I was playing poker
late last night”

-Fortune Telling:
Anticipating negative outcomes then acting as
though they are already established fact. This
is also known as “negative outcome
expectancy”. ie “What’s the point in even
trying for that audition, there’s no way I’ll get the

Any of these sound familiar to you?

In an upcoming blog I'll share more of the
most common distortion and what you can do about them

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski

Monday, March 1, 2010

An Olympic "90 Day Challenge"

Hi folks, Paul Radkowski here just checking in with an update to my 90 Challenge (for reference- a previous post was made with the details of this challenge)and my commitment to doing things differently. I was inspired by some of the recent Olympic games which helped me overcome something that had been challenging me for some years now. More about that in just a bit.

My 90 day health challenge has been going well. I feel I have some decent momentum going now that I'm at the half way mark. Also, the greater sense of self control and confidence that I've developed led me to do something I haven't done for 3 years. I got on my skis and went cross country skiing Thursday morning.

I injured (ripped would be a better word) my knee July 2007, which really changed my activity level (which is pretty high) and my life.

Earlier this week I was inspired by a number of the stories of various Olympic athletes. Folks overcoming all obstacles, injuries, surgeries, setbacks. Injuries are a part of the game and pretty much all the athletes have experienced their own need of recovery.

One downhill skier's story really got to me. These folks go down
a mountain at 120 KM/hour! One of the skiers had not 1,2,3... but 6 knee surgeries, yet he kept going.

I can only imagine the setbacks, the emotional as well as physical pain these athletes endure. I found it difficult enough to recover from my one knee injury, the doubts, fears, the core beliefs of "I can't... I'll never be the same..." etc. I had to really challenge my thinking and work on my mind, my attitude as well as my body. And here was someone who skied professional do that six times and still go on to participate in the Olympics.

It also became obvious to me, that to do well in sport or life you need to first win in your mind. Its about challenging and confronting the distortions, dis-beliefs, Acting As If and seeing yourself already crossing the finish line, before victory is won.

We pretty much all have a recovery story. Recovering from an accident, illness, addiction, break up, loss, trauma etc. All these events can lead us to feel pretty beat up with all kinds of pain, doubt and fear.

I was tired of living in fear, fear of re-injuring my knee and starting all over again. I felt the fear and did it anyway. I went skiing and it was exhilarating in every possible way.

I'm glad I've challenged myself and I look forward to sharing with you again. Thanks for listening. I look forward to hearing about your journey.

Best of health and warmest regards, Paul Radkowski