Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Change Your Thinking by Sarah Edelman PhD

I first came across Sarah Edelman's Change Your Thinking ten years ago.

I was in my mid 30's and trying to come to terms with my adult life.

I'd tackled the issues of my childhood & and seeing my parents as fellow human beings on their own life journey doing the best they can.
I had settled into a satisfying, although very demanding, career.
I'd taken steps to ensure fiscal security - I minimised 'bad' debt, shored up my Super, took up insurance options, purchased a home.
I began to take better care of myself & I actively sought a happier work/life balance.

The thing that I felt eluded me though was good mental health and intimate relationships.

At the time, Sarah's book was instrumental in changing the way I viewed my life. Sarah actually helped me to change the way I thought about my life which resulted in some amazing transformations for me.

At the time, I was big on 'shoulds'.

"I should do this...."
"I should be more like that..."
"I have to go here, do that..."
"I shouldn't be in this situation..."

All these shoulds made me feel guilty when I didn't do them. They made me feel pressured to get them done and instead of feeling good if I did actually achieved one, I simply added more future shoulds to the list!
I was very hard on myself. I didn't really like myself and I felt totally unloveable.

Changing the way I thought about myself and changing the way I lived my life didn't just happen thanks to one reading of this book.
It was a gradual process.
Other significant events along the way also pushed me to the next level of personal understanding & development.
But Change Your Thinking played a significant role.

It allowed me to view these other significant events as positive events...even the not so good ones. It gave me the tools to practice more flexible thinking. It helped me to see the things I could change as opposed to getting stuck on the things I couldn't. It taught me about acceptance. It taught me about letting go.

I was delighted last year to learn that Sarah does regular courses of her Change Your Thinking program through the Sydney Uni Centre for Continuing Education.

I felt it was time to refresh & consolidate my understanding of her key concepts.

The latest edition of her book now includes a section on mindfulness and meditation. She uses these two processes to enhance flexible thinking.

The interesting thing for me as I did Sarah's course, was seeing just how much growth I have achieved over the past ten years. And how many of her thinking tools I now use on a regularly basis as a matter of habit.

I have found both Sarah's book and her course to be invaluable personal development tools.
They're easy to understand and mostly easy to implement.
The hard part is maintaining them!

4 comments:

  1. Shoulds make me feel guilty too, they're so unhelpful,unless I guess you actually want to do what you know you should do as well. I hadn't heard of this author before, but it sounds interesting- lucky you being able to do the course too.

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    1. Yes, I still catch myself saying "I should" or "I have to", but I know that I really mean "I'm doing this because I want to - I choose to do this thing now."

      Sarah often speaks on ABC radio - there may be some podcasts available if you search :-)

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    2. After reading your post I decided to change my thinking. It worked ! I read The Power of Habit and I'm losing weight, keeping to my 'running plan' and eating more than my share of veggis a day! Thanks for the inspiration. Did you know 40 % of what we do per day is habit?

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    3. Well done Nancy! Changing habits is hard to do but it usually comes down to the way you think about it in the first place.
      Good luck with your new frame of mind and your new healthy routines - we can inspire each other :-)

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