Cre­ate your own LUCK

Does dis­as­ter seem to fol­low you around? Jane Alexan­der re­veals life-chang­ing tech­niques for turn­ing bad for­tune into good...

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - BODY & SOUL -

Are you fated to be a born loser or can you man­u­fac­ture your own good luck? Most of us are find­ing it tough right now but some peo­ple find it tougher than oth­ers and it seems there is a good rea­son for this. Re­search sug­gests that de­pres­sion runs in fam­i­lies and that bad luck lies not in the lap of the gods but in our own genes. A good ex­cuse to just roll over and give up? Not at all.

Bad luck need not be a life sen­tence: you re­ally can cre­ate your own luck. ‘Just be­cause you have a ge­netic sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to be de­pressed and un­lucky doesn’t mean it’s an in­evitabil­ity,’ says Pro­fes­sor Anita Tha­par of the Depart­ment of Psy­cho­log­i­cal Medicine and Neu­rol­ogy at Cardiff Univer­sity. ‘There are ways of help­ing peo­ple al­ter the way they think: you can teach them to look on the bright side.’ The key to buck­ing de­pres­sion is to change the way you think. Our thoughts, both con­scious and un­con­scious, di­rectly af­fect our moods. Doc­tors are in­creas­ingly pre­scrib­ing not an­tide­pres­sant drugs but thought-shift­ing forms of psy­chother­apy.

Cog­ni­tive-be­havioural ther­apy is the best­known ap­proach in which pa­tients are asked to mon­i­tor their neg­a­tive thought pat­terns, to learn how to recog­nise the dis­tor­tions and re­place neg­a­tive thoughts with those that are more re­al­is­tic and help­ful. But there are even more in­ter­est­ing al­ter­na­tives. So­lu­tionfo­cused ther­apy is be­ing in­creas­ingly used be­cause it is not only highly ef­fec­tive for de­pres­sion but it can also have sur­pris­ingly swift re­sults. Un­like tra­di­tional forms of ther­apy, which spend time con­cen­trat­ing on what is go­ing wrong, so­lu­tion-fo­cused ther­apy turns the whole con­cept of ther­apy on its head and looks at what is go­ing right.

Ron Wil­gosh, a pioneer of the tech­nique, gives an ex­am­ple of a man who said he was al­ways de­pressed. ‘We asked him how he knew he was al­ways de­pressed and he said, “Be­cause I have up days now and again.” Then we asked what was dif­fer­ent on the up days and in par­tic­u­lar what he did dif­fer­ently on those days. Once we had as­cer­tained how he be­haves when he is not de­pressed, we asked him to pre­dict, be­fore go­ing to bed, what kind of day would fol­low. If he thought it would be a down day, he was asked to do some­thing, as early as pos­si­ble the next day, that he would nor­mally do on an up day.’

Soon the man had learned how to break his de­pres­sion pat­tern and, when­ever he felt he was go­ing down again, would shift into the be­hav­iour and thought pat­terns which linked him back into a hap­pier state.

So­lu­tion- fo­cused ther­apy fo­cuses on peo­ple’s com­pe­tence rather than their deficits, their strengths rather than their weak­nesses, their pos­si­bil­i­ties rather than their lim­i­ta­tions. It also puts em­pha­sis on the power of the in­di­vid­ual to sort out his or her own prob­lems. ‘One 27-year-old woman was sui­ci­dal,’ re­counts Wil­gosh. ‘She be­lieved her de­pres­sion was ge­netic and felt she was a vic­tim of her own bad luck. She was look­ing for an “ex­pert” who could give her the an­swers. But we saw her for seven ses­sions dur­ing which she re­alised that she could take re­spon­si­bil­ity for her own state of mind and her own be­hav­iour. De­pres­sion, even if it is ge­netic, need not ruin your life.’ So­lu­tionfo­cused ther­a­pists see their clients for an av­er­age of just three ses­sions. ‘There is no ev­i­dence that long, drawn- out ther­apy is nec­es­sary,’ in­sists Wil­gosh. ‘If you have a prob­lem, you need a so­lu­tion. We can help peo­ple find their own so­lu­tions.’

NLP (neuro- lin­guis­tic pro­gram­ming) is also a pop­u­lar and ef­fec­tive method for com­bat­ing the blues. NLP tech­niques teach you how to con­trol your emo­tional states rather than let­ting them con­trol you. NLP prac­ti­tioner Lynne Craw­ford ex­plains, ‘We use a va­ri­ety of very pre­cise tech­niques which can break the habit of de­pres­sion by evok­ing pos­i­tive states of mind. Some of them are quite so­phis­ti­cated but oth­ers are very sim­ple. For ex­am­ple, if you find your­self be­com­ing de­pressed, get up out of your chair, move around, look up. It im­me­di­ately in­creases the lev­els of feel-good brain hor­mones. The Taoists have a say­ing, “If you’re de­pressed, go fly a kite,” which demon­strates the point very well. It’s hard to be de­pressed if you’re stand­ing up­right and look­ing up­wards. Equally, you may find you have an­chored a de­pres­sive state with a par­tic­u­lar chair in the room. Try shift­ing your of­fice or liv­ing room around to break the pat­tern.’

NLP doesn’t stop at merely beat­ing the blues: it can help you achieve what­ever you de­sire. Not for noth­ing is NLP known as the ‘psy­chol­ogy of ex­cel­lence’ — peo­ple who have used it claim they have been able to trans­form to­tally their lives and their luck.

Equally trans­for­ma­tive, say devo­tees, is the art of af­fir­ma­tions — pos­i­tive state­ments that you write out 20 times a day for 10 days or so. They work on the prin­ci­ple that our re­ac­tions to life are forged by the, of­ten un­con­scious, thoughts we have about life. From early child­hood, we are bom­barded with neg­a­tive mes­sages, par­tic­u­larly if we come from fam­i­lies in which de­pres­sion is a dom­i­nat­ing force. ‘You’ll never suc­ceed.’ ‘There’s no point in try­ing.’ ‘Oth­ers get all

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.