Jumping the groove: The power of choice

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Having a background in psychology and always being fascinated by the power of the mind, I love watching what unfolds as we utilize our thoughts. The things we think and the things we believe matter. In general the things that happen inside of our minds are quite cyclical and reciprocal. The things we think now influence the things we think next. So what we thought yesterday influences how we think today. And how we think today influences how we will think tomorrow. The more we reinforce these thoughts, the stronger they become. The more we continue in the same pattern, the more easily the habit forms.

So we have this continuous cycle of thoughts, they affect the future, they affect the now, and they feed off of themselves to make their neural pathways just a little bit quicker and stronger with each thought. Our brains work the way most things do, they search for efficiency. So our thoughts form pathways that often become similar to a groove in the road. It’s a well-worn path and it’s cut through the field, so when we try to change those thoughts, we have to work a little bit harder to jump up over those grooves and form a new path where one didn’t previously exist.

The thing is, it really just takes one thought to start to jump up over the grooves. We have to believe. We have to deliberately get off of the path of least resistance, and make a decision we don’t normally make. For me, when I was making the choice to be happy, it was a deliberate thought. I had formed a very well-worn path of unhappiness, and changing that took time. But the first time I jumped up off of that path, the first time I believed that I wanted to change, I jumped up over the groove and started a new connection.

I lit a pathway that had previously been darkened. It was unfamiliar, and a little bit scary, and in the beginning, I wasn’t sure it would hold out. After all, I didn’t have to put thought into being unhappy, I just was. But I believed enough to try. So I tried one day. And then I tried again the next. I would write it in my journal at night that I chose to be happy today, and in the mornings, I would write reminders for myself that I would choose to be happy throughout the day. And even though it took some time, each day it got easier. Each day I believed that I could be happy, that I wanted to be happy, and my thoughts jumped out of the groove each time, and traveled that new path each time. As the days went on it was easier and easier to be happy, the new path was become better-traveled, and its own grooves were forming. Until one day I didn’t have to think about it. It had become my new habit. I didn’t give it thought. It didn’t take effort for me to remember. It simply was. The same as my unhappiness used to be.

Our ability to tap into our own minds is our strongest resource. Our ability to choose, our freewill, makes us powerful. It is the only true control we have, which is over ourselves. It’s hard. Sometimes it takes help from others. But the moment we believe, we have the capacity to jump the groove.

I also want to say how thankful I am for all of the support for my book from everyone over the past few days! I honestly don’t have words to say how amazing you all have been. Thank you so, so much!

About laurenc129

I'm a mom. Sometimes my hands turn orange. Other times I write. On twitter: @laurenc129

Posted on June 23, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 75 Comments.

  1. So true and I love the way you write about it.

  2. you are a beautiful writer and your sound/read like a beautiful person. it is a thought, a jump, a choice…thank you

  3. When I first heard someone explain this to me in my treatment I thought it was complete and utter BS. It’s a difficult thing to continue to hope and constantly remind yourself to think or do a different way, especially when you’re in a dark place. For me it’s taken a long time, a thousand attempts and fails, but most importantly persistence. Somehow through all the hopelessness and lethargy, persistence has shone through and saved the day. And I’m not there yet, but now I know that it doesn’t matter if I lapse, or relapse, or how long for… as long as I jump back on. It doesn’t have to be so black and white.

    Thanks for yet another truly inspiring piece of writing 🙂 xo

    • It does take time, at least it took me time. And everyone is different. We all have our own paths. I’m glad you are persistent! It really does pay off 🙂 And one of the nice things I notice now when I end up lapsing a bit is that I know that it won’t last. I know I will go back to happy, and it’s one of my favorite things!

  4. Have you ever worked with Mind Over Mood (schema therapy) – it’s really tremendous stuff. Great post here!

  5. It took me a while but I did come to the conclusion that happiness is indeed a choice, not a gift bestowed from above or by a partner or work or circumstances. Lovely post.

  6. I love this! It is what I know to be true in my own life experience too. I think that you summed it up best when you said, “Our ability to tap into our own minds is our strongest resource. Our ability to choose, our freewill, makes us powerful. It is the only true control we have, which is over ourselves.” I love that! I am trying to switch to using my mind as a resource of happiness and power instead of as a mechanism to tear myself down. After years of trying to be perfect and criticizing myself whenever I wasn’t, I am beginning to learn about the power the choose. Taking and using the power to choose my mindset is amazing!

    • I’m so glad for you! It’s such a great experience, isn’t it? Sometimes I feel like it’s really hard to express. I used to avoid things that I wasn’t going to be the best at, because I hated not being perfect, or at least the closest one to perfect out there. It’s nice to remove that as a barrier. It makes so many things more accessible in life, and it allows me to improve my new skills instead of just maintaining the ones that I had. Thanks for sharing on here! I appreciate that! 🙂

  7. alessiapautasso

    …how do you start being happy? I mean..you know you do not want to be unhappy anymore..but you just don’t know what to do to change…

    • Well, personally, I had a lot of people all along telling me happiness was a choice, but even though I knew that I didn’t know how to make it…it took a series of events, and I’m not self-promoting here, but that’s what the book explains is the different things that happened that made it so that one day it just made sense and I made the choice. It started with reading a book called The 4 Agreements and it made sense after a holocaust survivor came to speak to our class and told us that guilt was a useless emotion, and that if we were spending our time feeling guilty about not living up to our potential then that was the most useless and easiest to change thing in our lives. And quite honestly it was sort of like I went to bed one day and stated that I was going to wake up and choose to be happy in the morning and make that day a good day, and it happened. I didn’t have to really do anything, but I continued to state that I was happy and planned to continue being happy, and it continued to happen. I made it a point to try to do things that I knew were things that I should be doing, whether it was just cleaning or working on getting into a career I wanted to, or saying yes to things I was normally afraid to say yes to.

      It’s different for everyone, which is the frustrating thing about it. But in every experience we have, we have the choice to enjoy it or not, to be happy or to be otherwise, and it really is up to us. We just have to start making the choice. Smiling on purpose. and figuring out what we really want and start making plans to get there. I hope this helps!

  8. After three years of working at a job, I was just let go. I learned that in order to be happy, you just have to believe that you can be happy, and learn to live life again.

    • I’m sorry about your job. That’s always a tough position to be put in. I do hope you find something that you love and are happy in very soon! You are right, about believing you can be happy and learning to live again. Because there are always other paths, and in many cases they are more fulfilling than the ones we were on before. Good luck! We are sending out thoughts and prayers for you!

  9. I love psychology as well I used to sit at home and listen to psychology classed from many prestigious schools. After my father passed away when I was 19 I dealt with it very poorly then again I had much to learn! I finally bit the bullet and went to a counsellor who opened up my world and the self learned has been amazing since. I find people don’t like change because like you said it makes a path… and who wants to walk in the corn field when there’s a nice dirty path already made? I’ve over time began enjoying going of the path in regular life it makes things more exciting and I’m so much of a happier person for it; and drama… that barely even exists in my life any more.

    I have to say Lauren I hate reading but all your posts inspire me, and seem to always have me telling a story haha.

    Anyway have a nice day, and don’t forget to smile!

    • It’s nice when the drama leaves… and it’s interesting how it seems to leave once we leave that well-grooved path. That’s when it happened for me! Thank you for sharing so much! And I’m such a slow reader, that reading was never my favorite past-time, though I have learned to enjoy it – minus the text books! 🙂

  10. I love the way you explained this. It makes it so easy to visualize. I am a big believer that change doesn’t have to be a big and scary or long and drawn out process. It can be as simple as choosing to do things differently and seeing what happens.

  11. I’m so glad I stopped by. This is very inspiring and well written. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I’m looking forward to your next posts. 🙂

  12. You have given different words to thoughts I have worked through on my own. We have the power of choice; not choosing is a choice in itself. I had a very powerful moment when I declared out loud that I was tired of feeling this way! And the answer came back, “Then don’t feel this way”.

  13. Very nice words, very well said. Thank you for liking my posts and leading me to your blog. I’ll be following and looking forward to reading more of your work. 🙂

  14. Precisely what I had to do months ago and continue to have to monitor.

    I used to pose this question to my students: What is more real, external reality or the reality we create in our minds? Made for some great discussion.

    Good post.

  15. Hello. You have a very interesting and helpful blog. I do believe that sharing our own experiences we can help others in the same position. Even if is it means only to recognize that we are not alone in the world. Your blog, our experiences do exactly that. I wish you the best and “many good things” for our book. It will be a success.

  16. Brilliantly written! Exactly what I needed 🙂 Thanks a bunch for sharing your thoughts so beautifully.

  17. Love the way you explain the power of our mind and how to change our habits and thoughts. Well done. :>

  18. You’re right, of course… and I’m trying hard to be positive and optimistic for the future but thoughts of losing James when the divorce goes through keep plaguing me. I will take a leaf from your book – not literally, because I have the E-book edition, ha ha – and will make a conscious effort to focus on the positive, each and every day 🙂

    • Hi, don’t know your situation, but for what it’s worth, I went through a pretty devastating divorce in 2006, and now, with a new man in my life who has taught me to trust and love again, I now see so many positives to have come out of this bad event – they may not show themselves for a while, but trust me they will be there – good luck

      • Thanks – I really appreciate the kind words, it was very thoughtful of you to reply to me directly – fortunately my estranged wife and I are on good terms but I know she’ll need to relocate and it’ll probably be next year. It’s a bittersweet time for me because I’m looking forward to my new life but hating the fact that James won’t be in it. I’m missing him already.

    • Haha, yes, focus on the positive. And you never know, there may be possibility wherever James goes, or maybe there will be a way for them to stay! Life is full of possibilities.

  19. I really am starting to think my decision to write a blog about my own experiences with food and self esteem, was in part a way to to lead me to your blogs! They are so in tune with what I’m trying to do, trying to find the new pathways, new saner roads to travel, thank you for your insights – keep them coming! Oh, and can I download your e book if I don’t have a kindle but another e book device?

    • 🙂 Thank you, I really appreciate that!! I’m so glad you have enjoyed visiting here. I love your blog as well. And I am glad you find this one helpful, because that’s what I want it to be! And yes, you can download it just using amazon on your computer and they will let you read it from there – you don’t even have to do anything, it just opens it in it’s new sound cloud thing, that I really don’t know much about, other than that’s how my mom opened it! 🙂

  20. Thank you so much for your insights!!! I am going to take the jump!

  21. I agree with what you say here. We really do have a choice to be happy but sometimes we forget about the choice we have. Thanks for this reminder! Oh and thanks for liking my post that led me to your site! 🙂

  22. Thank you for this! I am going to take the step and jump!!

  23. Awesome post …I to am breaking some very difficult associations , one day happiness will be mine . Thanks for your great attitude …Tim

  24. I truly enjoyed reading this. Thank you
    Deirdre

  25. We must “take our thoughts captive.” Nicely said!

  26. Very insightful and very interesting. Thank you for sharing part of your live with us.

  27. I guess this ‘groove’ we create with our thoughts is what makes it difficult sometimes to change our opinion on a subject when others have a differing one….Diane

  28. Reblogged this on Alastair's Blog and commented:
    I think this blog should be reblogged again and again, it’s short, sweet and to the point.

  29. I remember actually trying this same technique a few years back, albeit for the wrong reasons, I was trying to impress someone. Maybe I should go back and try this again and this time for the right reasons. After all they say sometimes you have to fake it to make it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    • Haha, there really are a lot of things you can fake til you make! It’s interesting. It’s sort of like practicing a sport or an instrument, where you get better and better the more you practice.

  30. I love your thoughts- thanks for liking my blog post and leading me back to yours. I look forward to many more wonderful reads!

  31. “Our ability to tap into our own minds is our strongest resource” …. It is a wonderful thought …

  32. What you say is so true.
    A wise friend of mine reminds me to ‘fake it till I make it’, to rewire my thoughts.
    I set up a new blog recently, just for this purpose, to bring some happiness and balance back into my life. It is a space where I do not allow myself to speak darkly, it is a place only for delight!
    And it is helping me.
    I make myself go back to it every day, and even if I can’t put an entry there, it reminds me there are times I CAN get off that beaten track.
    Thanks for your encouraging words.
    You have done so well in your journey. ♡

  33. Click here: Dr. Gabor Maté: “When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection” — Science of the Spirit — I consider this to be basic, from
    Amy Goodman, Democracy now two reports, about two books.

  1. Pingback: Weekly Affirmations ~ Happiness in Daily Life « Global Light Minds ~ Daily Inspirations

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