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Dr. Hanscom's Blog “The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions”

Discussion in 'Mindbody Blogs (was Practitioner's Corner)' started by Back In Control Blog, May 15, 2016.

  1. Back In Control Blog

    Back In Control Blog Well known member



    The key to reprogramming your nervous system and stimulating neuroplastic changes is repetition. We all know how difficult it is to keep New Year’s resolutions. Why is that? We are often quite serious about it at the time. There is a proverbial quote, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” There has been much research done on why it is so difficult to change behavior. Video: Randy Travis – The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

    Success is not enough

    In one weight loss study the participants who were successful in losing the desired amount of weight were the most likely to revert back to old patterns of behavior and regain the weight. Even tasting success and feeling better was not enough to sustain change. Behavioral patterns will always win unless you actively use tools to steadily chip away at them. So instead of having the goal to, “Get my life back” just commit to something that is eminently doable realizing that you are still going to frequently fail.

    As you practice strategies that change the structure of your brain then you can steadily watch your behavioral patterns evolve. You cannot fix yourself but you can become an observer of your own healing.

    Keep it simple

    It is much easier to teach the material I am presenting than to practice it. I am right in there with everyone else in frequently failing. I have slowly learned to commit to small daily practices that have made a huge difference over time. I am able to do my expressive writing at least one minute once or twice per day. I engage in active meditation as often as I can remember to do so. I successful 5 to 10 times per day. There are several small inspirational books I look at for a couple of minutes three or four times per week. I am committed to becoming aware of when I dive into my creative ways of remaining a victim and just the awareness helps me to re-direct my energies. I am becoming more successful in being truly grateful for what I do have. I just have to look at art, history or the newspaper to really drive it home. I continually work on improving my sleep habits, as it is turning out to be a major factor in the quality my of day-to-day life.

    By sticking with these very simple strategies I have watched my behavioral patterns change and I have been able to layer on more complex strategies such as play, creativity, giving back, etc. If I quit my expressive writing (why would I do that?) I have recurrence of some of my historic physical symptoms within a couple of weeks. My feet burn, my ears ring, I can’t sleep well, I become more reactive, small skin rashes appear on both of my wrists, and I will wake up with a headache. This is just the beginning and the other symptoms emerge quickly. I will finally wake up and re-engage and within a week I feel much better. This is a consistent pattern of behavior and response.

    I am slowly becoming more proactive. I know this cycle will always exist. If I make the resolution of, “This is never going to happen again” then I have a much higher chance of failing. I not only have failed but I am now angry at myself for failing. Then I really jump into the victim mode, which is always self-destructive. I lived in a deep abyss for over 15 years and I still know what the bottom feels like.

    The Power of commitment

    When I think of commitment, one particular event comes to mind. On Christmas Day, 2008, I went skiing with my son Nick and his friend Holt. Around noon the three of us were standing on top of a cornice at Snowbird, Utah. For you non-skiers, a cornice is a snow formation that occurs at the top of a mountain ridge. As the wind blows the snow up the mountain, a drop-off of ten to twenty feet is formed. Most skiers make a diagonal trail down the cornice, which is fairly simple and safe. However, US- level ski team skiers (like Nick and Holt) usually jump straight off of them. Additionally, they would be jumping into a chute that was approximately twenty feet wide at the top but only about six feet wide two-thirds of the way down. About a hundred feet below us on the left there was an outcropping of rocks that stretched for two hundred feet. The thought of even side-stepping off of this cornice did not enter my mind. All of a sudden I was startled to see both Nick and Holt getting ready to jump into what looked like a ravine.


    “Holt, I don’t think your coaches would be thrilled with the idea of you skiing down this.” He looked at me and without a word, immediately jumped into the chute. He skied about seventy-five feet straight down, made a gentle turn to the right, another gentle turn to the left and ended up in a large bowl. Nick went off to the right and then jumped from a fifteen-foot cliff into the same chute, making the same turns. They were each traveling forty or fifty miles an hour when they reached the open bowl. This was simply an undoable chute for most human beings. It was clear that if they’d hesitated midway—if they hadn’t remained committed to their decisions—they would’ve run the risk of serious injury.

    Mind you, Nick’s and Holt’s certainty came from hours upon hours of practice over many years. They each knew they could make that jump because they were supremely confident skiers and had done tough jumps before. Visualization – Holt’s Winning Run

    Commit to scheduling time daily with doable tasks that will stimulate your brain to change. Eventually, with repetition, these more functional behavioral patterns will become your baseline and you will be able to transform your life into one that you want. Don’t hesitate in your pursuit of your new life—commit to yourself and your new reality. Life is short.

    Nick’s Winning Run – Off of the Hill


  2. TG957

    TG957 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank you for the post! I really liked the analogy of athletes dealing with adversity and winning against odds. That's what we, TMS-ers, do: life throws odds at us and we need to win, against those odds. How? use "sequence of 1) awareness, 2) detachment, and 3) reprogramming". "Instead of suppressing he engaged his fears and separated from them. He used “active mediation” and visualization as reprogramming tool." - that is a textbook for us to learn from! Not that any time in the future I would be skiing competitively, but to be able to overcome my "incurable" (as deemed by official medicine) illness is no easy fit to pull off!

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