If you or your child is struggling, you might find yourself wondering why it’s so difficult to feel better.
The short answer is that our feelings and behaviors are often driven by how we think, and it’s really difficult to change how we think.
Hidden beneath the surface of our everyday thoughts are a deeply ingrained layer of beliefs, frameworks, and biological predispositions that function just beyond our conscious awareness. No matter how hard we try to ignore or suppress them, those same thoughts have a miraculously consistent way of finding their way back into our daily living, and in turn, affecting how we feel and what we do!
When these thoughts are productive and constructive, we sail through the day. When they’re not, they wreak havoc on our daily lives, often compelling us to do things that we ultimately regret. A spouse who tells themselves to be more patient may fly off the handle in response to the next text he receives; an ambitious yet depressed teen may stay in bed for days at a time; a child diagnosed with ADHD may lose themselves in a book right after promising to put her shoes on; or an adolescent with OCD may be fully aware of how damaging their compulsions are, yet feel powerless to stop them.
What we typically respond to are maladaptive behaviors, and insist that they stop. But in all cases, there is more to understand and explore. What sort of relief is embedded in these behaviors, what kinds of thoughts are swirling around unnoticed, what happened before the behavior, and what followed? Deciphering these questions provides a much deeper understanding of our underlying mindset – how it developed, what it says, what’s keeping it fixed in place, and why it might be worth reconsidering – and represents the key to unlocking the change that we want.