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A POWERFUL Question. Monday February 16, 2015

I have recently joined two special interest groups on Facebook. Both are to do with a rare Myers-Briggs psychological profile I share: INFP (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Perceiving). We make up just 4% of the population, so we can easily feel like outsiders.

With a sense of isolation, it is tempting to stray too often into negative territory - being clear on what we don't want rather than thinking of what we do want. A post on one of the sites got me thinking about how to structure my goals in a way that would help.

I use a mnemonic called P.O.W.E.R.F.U.L. to set powerful outcomes! For this blog, I just wanted to share the first letter's meaning: P for Positive.

It seems our minds work better when we focus on a positive goal rather than a negative goal. This is because a negative goal pulls our attention towards the very thing we don't want.

If I ask you, just for a few seconds, not to think about Santa Claus wearing ballet shoes... hope is that you couldn't help but think about this very thing!

So, if my goal (either formally or informally) is NOT to do something, my brain will focus on what it will be like to do that thing. For example, if I wish to NOT be so irritable – my brain will be actively scanning for times when I am irritable. If I wish I didn't feel so anxious all the time – my brain scans for signs of me being anxious.

One question can turn this natural psychological tendency around so that your brain may be a better servant. The question is: what would you rather have?

I can answer these in a heartbeat: I want to be calm and relaxed; I want to be at peace and have hope.

If you find yourself drawn to thinking about what you don't want, flip this instantly with the question: what would I rather have? Then you can invest your energy wisely, moving towards more of what you prefer.

A Moodscope member.

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Hopeful One Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 6:31am

Hi Les- Oh dear! not another acronym to remember when I am still struggling with the last one you gave us. Can I plead acronym fatigue.? I suppose on the spirit of your blog I should flip that and make it positive and tell myself I will remember your acronyms once I have recovered from my fatigue.

Anonymous Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 7:10am

Try mindfulness meditation - it does not cure negative thoughts - maybe we all have them? - it just helps one to see them for what they are - just thoughts - and one does not have to go down the "rathole" - just let them fade away!

Anonymous Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 7:21am

I love this lex...such a simple but powerful tool that does really work if you apply yourself to it. We can't control the negative thoughts coming in but we can have some control over what we do with them once we notice them. Empowering. Rosie xx

Julia Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 7:46am

How strange that this seems to work Lex.I immediately imagined Santa Claus in ballet shoes and then said to myself, I don't want you to put on a happy face and my natural inclination was to smile. Turning negative thoughts into positive ones has always helped me in the past and I had forgotten this simple strategy. I look forward to "O". I can't imagine what it will be!

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 10:12am

Hi Ya, Hopeful One... 'tis Lex today, Les is our glorious poet.
Yes, I understand acronym fatigue... but they help me to structure my otherwise often random thoughts. If you see them as simply a set of coat hooks on which to hang the ideas and a way to remember where you put your coat, then it'll work. I must apologise in advance, 'cos this is a long acronym!

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 10:13am

Powerful thoughts there, anonymous. I was thinking today, "wouldn't it be nice not to have to worry about money?" and then my cleverer part of the brain said, "Well, don't then!" As you say, they are just thoughts...

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 10:15am

Yup, Rosie... I love this simple flip. "Hmmm, what would I rather have?" It just works... at least for awhile!

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 10:16am

Good Day, Julia! I don't want you to think about grinning all day then!
"O" coming up soon at an Acronym near you!

Anonymous Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 12:14pm's the same when you start a diet...all you can think about is food! So I don't diet then I don't think about food so often...well...only between meals! Karen :)

Anonymous Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 12:32pm

oooooo?? whatever next?

Shelly Johnsen MD Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 1:19pm

love it! reminds me of my career coach - find out what is going right in your life/job/practice, and how you can get more of that.

and, in case anyone is wondering, no, knowing lots about the physiology and biochemistry of depresion has not really helped me be steady in moods. I think the meds, community, and monitoring with Moodscope have helped more than the knowledge.

DawnC.Ritchie Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 2:06pm

Hi to Julia and to Lex, you both made my cheeks smile. Thank you :-)

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 2:19pm

Ah the cheek! Keep grinning... it looks like we're winning!!

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 2:19pm

I was the only one in my WeightWatchers Group who gained weight. All I could think about was food... glorious food!

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 2:20pm

What would you like it to be?

The Entertrainer Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 2:21pm

That's a great encouragement to the Community, Shelly.

Anonymous Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 2:56pm

It's amazing that Moodscope helps so many peeps! :)
I'm telling myself to stop smiling!! Karen

Anonymous Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 2:58pm

Mmm! Food...'o' for oranges, olives...omelettes!!!
Karen :)

Julia Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 3:55pm

Yes. Take that grin off your face Karen!

Hopeful One Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 8:07pm

Apologies for my confusion with the names.

Anonymous Mon, Feb 16th 2015 @ 9:05pm

Hopeful One, I agree with you, these acronyms are quite challenging to remember and for me personally (nothing to do with what Lex said), represent bad memories of school based learning - kids who were cleverer than me, dumb corners at school simply because I was not clever and did not understand something that seemed so obvious to the teacher and so on. I know that Lex is always just trying to help and support us and comes from a loving heart. Acronyms are used by those who teach Accelerated Learning and it works for them but I find Acronyms a pain in the proverbial. Why are people who have solved their problems so keen to teach us how to live? I think there is a difference between sharing and teaching. Does this teaching help somebody's self-esteem? It may be that I am over-sensitive because I am still caught up in the early stages of fighting for my life on a daily basis but for me it feels as if these teachers are telling us they know better than we do how to cope with the deep, dark depression many of us are coping with moment by moment. Maybe they are genuinely so heart felt that having recovered and reclaimed their lives, they remain on here to teach us how to live. In time, I may come to believe that. But for now, I am very suspicious of people who teach this stuff for a living and then appear on these sites. I am very sure that Lex would never do this but what about others? It is all to easy for unscrupulous people to misuse their privilege of being on a site such as this with vulnerable people, especially if the answers given are part of the field they promote. I know this sounds like an attack and it really isn't. It is a genuine attempt to try to understand the motives and intentions of those who feel the need to teach instead of share. I would also like to know why, if acronyms as they are used in Accelerated Learning are so powerful, they appear to have done nothing for our colleague Lex? He is still presumably struggling with life and money problems himself or is it just me. I am just curious..... no reflection on you Lex. I appreciate where you are coming from.

The Entertrainer Tue, Feb 17th 2015 @ 5:52am

Hello Anonymous, Lex here! That was deep sharing - thank you. As for me, I value the opportunity to share, to write, and knowing that there is an acceptance that I am neither fixed myself nor necessary offering a permanent fix for our daily challenges... more like a little light relief.

I hated school with a passion (although I loved two of my teachers) and came to enjoy learning after finishing my degree. That's when I discovered Accelerated Learning and NLP and wondered why these skills weren't taught in school.

Our blogs are a great way for me to remind myself that I am not alone - and that is a huge comfort. Might abandon the rest of the acronym though!

Julia Tue, Feb 17th 2015 @ 8:48am

Hi Lex. It's up to you if you decide to abandon the rest of the acronym but personally although your words are wise whatever form your blog takes, what I gain most of all from your writing is a sense of humour (even if you don't feel good), and an overall love of life which is infectious. Your words are deep and meaningful too. I would be sad if say Les stopped his poetry because of a minuscule number of negative comments as we have got to know him and appreciate his care for us all. In the same way it would be dreadful if you or any of us were discouraged by a comment on Moodscope. I actually think that you , Les and the other people who write resonate with newcomers and long time members of Moodscope alike. So please do not be discouraged. I was looking forward to "O"!

caroline ashcroft Tue, Feb 17th 2015 @ 11:00am

Don't you dare abandon it Lex! From the majority of the feedback here and the emails I receive personally, your blogs and in particular this one are very much appreciated. I see it as you sharing some very good thinking with other Moodscopers to help them and we at Moodscope are very grateful you take the time to do so. I am also looking forward to 'O'. Caroline

The Entertrainer Tue, Feb 17th 2015 @ 5:21pm

Dear Julia and Caroline, the story of O is coming... (oh, wait, that was 50 shades...) But seriously, folks, I acronym is a means to an end and I will keep writing 'til I reach that end. Massively appreciate the encouragements.

Anonymous Tue, Feb 17th 2015 @ 5:46pm

Hurrah! (For Lex and acronyms)

Anonymous Thu, Feb 19th 2015 @ 8:30pm

The Lex fan club has spoken. What happened to the Hopeful One? Just asking, don't shoot me down in flames. Is this what happens to anybody who dares to ask a question on here? Not what I would call very helpful or supportive. I hate cliques - they don't encourage people to be honest or to express themselves. I did not know Moodscope was just like the rest of the world. You live and learn

Caroline Ashcroft Thu, Feb 19th 2015 @ 9:40pm

Hi Anonymous, Moodscope is open to all. We appreciate everyone's comments and thoughts. It's not a clique and I hope you will find everyone welcoming. We really appreciate people taking time to comment but, we also very much appreciate people taking time to write the blogs - which again, is open to all members. Hopeful One's comment is important as he is expressing his feelings about acronyms and I'm sure there are others that feel the same way and not all our blogs will appeal to all our members. But what I do think is important is that people are free to write about subjects that they think will help others, which Lex did. Following Hopeful One’s comment, I didn't want him to stop writing as I believe his blogs are extremely helpful to many people. Any other comments from Moodscopers were only trying to support Lex which is wonderful, just as they would to any other member of Moodscope. Please join our community, you are most welcome. Caroline.

Di Murphey Thu, Feb 19th 2015 @ 9:48pm

Dearest Anonymous 2.19.15 @ 8:30pm EDT (US) ~
Your writings sound as though you have experienced being ostracized.

This can be painful. It can make you more compassionate, or more angry. Trust that all: Hopeful One, Lex The EnterTrainer, and the Moodscope Community are tough enough to handle your musings & wonderments.

Thank you, from my heart, for sharing your authentic views. More, please. We value you.

Di Murphey

Anonymous Sun, Feb 22nd 2015 @ 11:54am

Dear Caroline and Di, Many thanks for responding in such a loving and compassionate way. I may have over reacted to the teaching nature of the acronym offer. I know that Lex comes from the heart but I also know he loves to teach and he is good at it. The point I was trying to make was about sharing rather than teaching. We are here sharing with others because what we know or thought we knew did not work. We hope that by learning from others, we can discover new ways of coping with our pain - physical and mental. I know that If your intention is from a good and kind heart then what we share is done with the most loving of wishes for our goodwill. I do tend to get angry very easily since I was attacked - apparently part of the grieving process and it will pass. Also the constant pain of Fibromyalgia when it flares up can interrupt my usual self-awareness and make me a nightmare to deal with, just ask my long suffering partner. I love the contributions people make on Moodscope and I am in awe of their willingness to share their vulnerability. They have helped me so much. Their humility is equally incredible and I am deeply grateful to these wonderful people who care so much they are willing to share. Once again, many thanks for your welcome and your kind concern. Equally lovingly, a new but learning member of a great community. Katie

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