Two things I have accomplished, in different realms, seem like they would require entirely different skill sets, yet I have discovered an unexpected overlap. The first is overcoming a vicious addiction to prescription painkillers, and the second is training to be a health and wellness coach. The common skills and practices of these two experiences include.
- A focus on gratitude for what is going well in my life and for those around me
- Mindfulness and presence at the moment
- Engaging in healthy habits: exercise, good nutrition, and, ideally, sleep (not my specialty!)
- Connection with others, open and honest communication, and empathy, including self-empathy.
The first is overcoming a vicious addiction to prescription painkillers, and the second is training to be a health and wellness coach.Jone Mark
Unhelpful thinking and why we do it
Additionally, a critical component to attaining the serenity and focus one needs to be a wellness coach, and to move past an addiction, is learning how to recognize and defuse the cognitive distortions that we all employ. Cognitive distortions are internal mental filters or biases that increase our misery, fuel our anxiety, and make us feel bad about ourselves.
What are unhelpful cognitive distortions?
Finally, many of us engage in emotional reasoning, a process in which our negative feelings about ourselves inform our thoughts, as if they were factually based, in the absence of any facts to support these unpleasant feelings.
In other words, your emotions and feelings about a situation become your actual view of the situation, regardless of any information to the contrary. Emotional reasoning often employs many of the other cognitive filters to sustain it, such as catastrophizing and disqualifying the positive. Examples of this may be thinking:
- I’m a whale, even if you are losing weight
- I’m an awful student, even if you are getting some good grades
- My partner is cheating on me, even if there is no evidence for this (jealousy is defining your reality)
- Nobody likes me, even if you have friends (loneliness informs your thinking).
A big part of dismantling our cognitive distortions is simply being aware of them and paying attention to how we are framing things to ourselves. Good mental habits are as important as good physical habits. If we frame things in a healthy, positive way, we almost certainly will experience less anxiety and isolation.