Tag Archives: the power of thoughts

The Power of Thoughts Part 3

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Part 1 and Part 2 in case you didn’t read them.

Today is Fabulous Friday where we focus on elements of self love.  One of those is positive thinking and positive internal dialogue.

D you remember that movie that came out a few years ago called The Secret?  It spoke of this miraculous Law of Attraction that we all have to abide by and all have equal access to.  I think it was a silly movie in terms of the way it was put together and how it focused on materialism.  I suppose that’s how it managed to get so much attention.

Anyways, I read about the Law of Attraction years ago in a place I don’t even recall.  Then I heard Oprah talking about how she absolutely believed in it.  Then I read about other ways people describe the same idea or force in nature.  Deepak Chopra, whose books I find really insightful, talks about this law as well.  When I tried to simplify it I saw that it seemed like common sense.  It’s just that everyone makes it sound so mysterious.

In the movie, The Secret, they say to think about what you want.  If you want more money, visualize checks coming in the mail.  Don’t think about how you don’t want more bills or how you don’t want to be broke because your mind will only gather that which you are obsessing about, bills and being broke and you will only “attract” more of that.  So instead, imagine receiving checks.  Feel all the associated feelings involved in actually receiving a check.  Feel gratitude.  Feel happy.  A year ago, I was talking to my husband about how I felt the movie explained that in a very superficial way.  And in doing so, who knows how many people were alienated from the overall powerful message?

My little brother has provided me a really great example of the power of thoughts in these last few years.  A couple years ago, he got into learning about guitars.  Electric guitars.  He spent time reading about the different types and branched out into learning about the equipment, terminologies, artists, and so on.  It looked like your typical passing childhood obsession.  A funny thing happened though.  Without really being a guitar player he began proclaiming that he was going to be an awesome guitar player.  I think he was like 9 or 10.  It’s hard to take a kid brother seriously so I thought, “aw how cute” and assumed this was a temporary interest.  He was so “into” his dream that he never stopped learning, he told everyone who crossed his path about his interest, and he made us all listen to his beginner playing.  He seemed to believe he had already made it and enjoyed playing for others.  He aligned his entire being with this goal which prompted my dad to buy him a guitar and my mom to enter him into a music lab for students, where they learn about music and are able to use recording equipment.  Fast forward a few years later, multiple concerts, dozens of appearances in local clubs and restaurants, play performances, mentions in the local paper, supporters and fans, constantly improving guitar playing, and friendships with well known artists.  He just turned 13.  I firmly believe he is “attracting” his dream by constantly thinking about it and therefore having the motivation to constantly learn about it and practice for it.   And this is just the very beginning of his story.

Back to a year ago when I was talking to my husband.  We talked about my little brother and how he really was a clear, non mystical example of how this works, I proclaimed that I was going to get checks in the mail.  Alex looked at me funny.  It seemed crazy.  A year ago we were having a tough time with bills and it was so uncomfortable.  So I started pretending in my mind that I had enough money and feeling how good it felt to not have to worry about not having enough.  Keeping this thought in my head and associating positive feelings with it pushed me to do something about it.  Positivity breads action whereas negativity breads procrastination and paralysis.  I wrote down my strengths and weaknesses and I thought about how I could be of use.  In a month I managed to get some part time work that I could handle from home and still stay with the kids.  Not only was this work something I enjoy but it  provided the exact amount we needed to make due without any extra help this entire year.  Checks literally came each month in the mail and I couldn’t help but think, “ohh, I get it!”

How might any of this relate to diabetes?  I think that too many of us get caught up thinking “I can’t do this” or “my blood sugars won’t cooperate” or “good blood sugar control is impossible” or “if only…”. etc.  I think that as natural as those feelings are, they are also really destructive.  If we can manage to turn our thoughts around and focus on what we DO want more of, such as great health, better blood sugar management, the ability to afford what we need, courage to live healthier,  help when we need it, and doctors that listen, I think we will experience more of those things.  We will “attract” or welcome more positive opportunities into our lives as people with diabetes.  The times I have felt hopeless are the times my thoughts (like recently) have spiraled down into negative ones.  It happens, but it’s time to turn those around and believe in more good things and in a better everything.

Remember what Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right”.

Keep your mind focused on good and positive things.  Don’t see misfortune, see opportunity.

Have a great weekend.

 

The Importance of the Right Road Map

Photo courtesy of Luigi Diamanti

Photo courtesy of Luigi Diamanti

 

Someone asked me what the difference was between my “achieving” an A1c around 5% versus my past A1c’s much higher than that.  They wanted to know the secret to going from a high A1c to a lower A1c.

Well, interestingly enough, I want to first say that there is no more sacrifice involved.  I work just as hard as before.  I also feel a lot of frustration and anxiety just as I did when my diabetes management was less than ideal.

So how did I change the number?  Well, you can read a lot about it all over this site but essentially what happened was I got a new road map. 

I informed myself about the glycemic index and the dangers of processed foods.  So then instead of cereal with milk for breakfast, I started the day with an egg and a slice of whole grain bread. 

I learned about the power of positive thinking (as dorky as that line sounds) and instead of thinking that I was a failure, I began saying to myself that I was a making great progress. 

I realized that people all over the world walk miles to and from school and work and so instead of thinking that a one mile walk was a great workout, I started believing that 3 miles was great and doable. 

I learned what a healthy BMI was and that my bone structure or frame is considered to be very petite.  When at 165 pounds my doctor told me I didn’t need to lose weight, I decided he was wrong and did all of the above. 

Some nice things happened along the way.  My insulin resistance lowered dramatically.  This made blood sugar management much easier because I needed less insulin.  My meals became easier to bolus for.  My body responded nicely to the 3 mile a day walks which turned into runs.  My confidence grew slowly but surely.  After a short while I was keeping an A1c in the 6% range, which I was really happy with.  I lost weight and got my body fat under 25% where it needed to be.  These mini successes made it really hard to go back to old ways.

So yes, there are concrete things I did to change a lot of outcomes but as you can see my road map, or set of beliefs were what really made the difference.  Back when I had a 10% A1c, I tried super hard.  I did the best I could to give the right amount of insulin for my pasta and chocolate milk.  I tried really hard to exercise through a 300 blood sugar average.  I relentlessly scolded myself about doing better. 

See, that’s just it.  Effort can be misplaced.  What good is it to try hard, commit, allot time, and persevere if you believe that you’re a terrible diabetic, that doing groceries is a major workout, and that you can settle at 35% body fat and be really healthy?

Having the right road map isn’t going to magically solve your problems.  It will however, make it possible for you to reach your destination.  And what we all deserve is that opportunity.  We are strong, smart, and capable enough to do the rest.

Diabetes and the law of attracton

 

I’m sure you have heard of the book and video “The Secret”.  I’ve got to elaborate on this because of how important a single idea has been in my life and how powerful it has been concerning my diabetes.

First, let us take out the mystical aspect misguided fans of “The Secret” like to propagate.  Lets keep things simple and logical. 

What do a professional athlete, business mogul, award-winning scientist, and best-selling author have in common?

Is it talent?  Is it drive?  Is it intelligence?

I’ve come to believe it is FOCUS.  Obsessive focus

People in “The Secret” video tell us we have to imagine what we want, feel good about what we are imagining, and deeply believe in whatever it is we want.  We also have to think about it-a lot.

The Secret is basically talking about something called the law of attraction.  I read somewhere that according to the law of attraction, by us diabetics raising awareness about our disease and worrying about it, we are in turn attracting more diabetes to our world.

I feel this idea misrepresents what the law of attraction means.  Here is my interpretation of it and how we can apply it to our diabetes.

You’ve probably heard that the law of attraction means that whatever we think about and focus on, we’ll attract more of.

Lots of people are quick to say this is garbage but, let’s consider a few things…

In psychology we learn about something called the self-fulfilling prophecy.  This means that if you believe a false idea, you will create a new behavior to prove that idea true.  Remember the saying, “I do the time, so I might as well do the crime”? 

What about constantly telling a small child he is bad?  He may grow up believing he is bad and guess what?  He may very well behave badly.  In fact, he is very likely to.

Tell yourself you can’t eat healthy.  You probably won’t be eating healthy any time soon.  Either you’ll quit eating healthy or you won’t ever begin to.

Have you heard of the “Placebo Effect”?  Researchers have found that giving people a plain sugar pill meanwhile letting them believe they are getting some type of medication actually does something.  Placebos that have been given to treat someone’s depression have been studied and it has been discovered they literally impact the same area of the brain that antidepressants do. (see source here)  This works even better when a doctor shows extra enthusiasm to the patient regarding the prescription they’ll be taking. Interesting no?

Personally, the way I see it is I recognize the brain’s amazing ability to either help or hinder us.  In the past, when I have entertained negative thoughts such as, “my diabetes makes me sick” or “I’ll never have a normal person’s A1c” I got nothing but negative results.  I had terrible A1c’s and I felt all sort of terrible physical symptoms which I couldn’t even keep track of because there were so many.  This in turn, helped me say more negative things and thus the destructive cycle continued.

When I finally began saying that I deserved to enjoy a normal person’s A1c, I felt a sense of empowerment and even entitlement.  Soon after, I got my A1c level down to a normal person’s (4.6%).  This led to more positive thoughts (because I felt so good with improved blood sugars) and more and more positive things and thoughts followed after.

This is a simple way of interpreting “the secret” or the “law of attraction”.  It works for me however and it fits into my very practical view of things.  I want to be healthy so I think I am and I act in a way that supports this and everything else comes as a result.

I endure many moments of doubt and of failure but I have realized that as long as I have a surplus of positive thoughts and actions (in relation to negative ones), the end result is positive. 

So to sum it up, positivity outweighs negativity.  Phew, what a relief!

I’m really curious, what’s your take on all this?  And do you think we should all take some personal responsibility in the way we feel about our diabetes?  After all, we are in control of our own minds are we not?