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Practicing this approach to clarity enables me to have full access to my mind, body, and spirit. It allows me to have many special and insightful moments. Recently he and another researcher, Josh Davis, articulated four steps to having more aha moments. Their conclusions, which closely align with my own, are: Notice quiet signals: Allow silence and solitude in your life daily. Look within: Focus on your inner thoughts and overlook the noise around you. Take a positive approach: Feeling even slightly happy is conducive to problem solving. Use less effort: Stepping away from deliberation is critical for quality decision-making. Negative ways of thinking are often referred to as cognitive distortions'; illogical, irrational and unhelpful ways of thinking. <a href=''>Cognitive</a> distortions are powerful because they can easily convince you that your thoughts are rational and true. <a href=''>But</a> actually they are unhelpful; they misrepresent and limit your options. <a href=''>They</a> can make you feel bad about the world, other people, yourself and your abilities. <a href=''>Cognitive</a> distortions are based on automatic thinking patterns that have been playing over and over in your mind, unchallenged, for years. <a href=''>If</a> you are predominantly a negative thinker, you may have a tendency to fall into particular patterns of cognitive distortions or negative thinking. <a href=''>Below</a> are some examples. <a href=''>Confirmation</a> bias involves consciously or unconsciously looking for evidence to support and confirm what you've already decided is true, while avoiding or ignoring contradictory information. <a href=''>You</a> give too much weight to negative supporting information and opinions and too little to the positive elements of a situation. <a href=''>For</a> example, you tell a friend something personal and she tells another person. <a href=''>You</a> feel betrayed. <a href=''>You</a> then find yourself thinking back and noticing all sorts ofwrong' behaviour from your friend that you have never given much thought to before. And then you seek out someone else (who doesn't like this friend) to talk about it and to confirm that your friend is a bitch.

But you forget or ignore all the other ways in the past that your friend has been a good friend. Another example would be if you tripped over and twisted your ankle and you thought, That'll teach me! <a href=''>I</a> knew I shouldn't have sneaked off work today; I thought something would go wrong. <a href=''>It's</a> my punishment.' Because you already feel you were wrong to sneak off work, you look for and accept evidence that you have done wrong. <a href=''>Rather</a> than accept that you just weren't looking where you were going, you conclude that twisting your ankle just goes to confirm your wrongdoing. <a href=''>Related</a> to the problem of having unrealistic expectations, many recovering procrastinators put themselves under unnecessary pressure due to the unreasonable goals they put on themselves. <a href=''>This</a> behavior is like that of a person who's recently given up smoking, but still leaves home with his cigarette lighter in his pocket. <a href=''>If</a> that person is going to live life as a non-smoker, it's probably best that he chuck the lighter in the trash in order to avoid playing games with temptation. <a href=''>In</a> the same way, if you are going to live your life as a newly minted non-procrastinator, in order to experience the growth that you desire, you're going to have to accept a few challenges until you become acclimated to them. <a href=''>If</a> you spot a task that needs doing, but instead of taking action, you find yourself getting lost in unimportant distractions, try listening in on your internal dialogue. <a href=''>Do</a> you ever tell yourself anything like, This Saturday, I'm going to clean out the garage, or I'd like to lose ten pounds, so I've got to exercise like crazy. <a href=''>Yet</a> then you wind up sitting on the living room couch with a tub of ice cream in one hand and the television's remote control unit in the other. <a href=''>If</a> so, you may be giving yourself unreasonable goals. <a href=''>Remember,</a> one of the chief reasons that procrastinators put off tasks is because we often give ourselves vague or conflicting instructions for accomplishing our tasks. <a href=''>If</a> that's the case, then we need to work on our goals, and the best way to do this is by putting them down on paper. <a href=''>On</a> paper, our thoughts are less fleeting and scattered, and we have an opportunity to rework them to give ourselves a better chance of accomplishing what we really want to get done. <a href=''>Here</a> are those two unreasonable goals from above once more, but now they've been reworked as realistic goals, as you'll see in the right-hand column: Studies have long shown that adult survivors of abuse are especially vulnerable to depression. <a href=''>This</a> can include childhood physical and sexual abuse as well as domestic violence, all of which can leave victims feeling as if they have no control over their lives and which can reinforce the kind of automatic thinking commonly seen in depression and anxiety. <a href=''>Even</a> for women who have moved on with new relationships, the sense of helplessness can recur whenever they are faced with some new crisis (including serious health problems developing in a child). <a href=''>Such</a> crises often make women feel as if they are caught in a desperate cycle of new problems that seem to sabotage their lives. <br /><br /><a href=''>Even</a> with the support of family and friends, it is often essential that women like Adele seek out treatment as soon as possible. <a href=''>Not</a> only can a trained counselor provide needed support but can also help them become more aware about how depression and abuse are often related. <a href=''>There</a> are different counseling options available depending on the kind of special needs that clients might have and may include individual or group treatment sessions. <a href=''>The</a> ultimate goal of such treatment is to help clients take control of their lives and learn more effective ways of coping with new life crises as they occur. <a href=''>Recruiting</a> family members or friends as co-therapists can also play an important role in recovery as well as in building up the kind of support network that can make help with future depressive episodes. <a href=''>While</a> having a baby is often seen as a happy time for mothers, the months before and after giving birth can be extremely stressful due to the new responsibilities involved as well as the physical and emotional changes that all women go through. <a href=''>As</a> a result, postpartum depression can be a common problem faced by many new mothers (see Question 15). <a href=''>In</a> fact, women are far more likely to receive mental health counseling during their childbearing years than at any other time in their lives. <a href=''>Even</a> though many women may be reluctant to admit to what they are experiencing (especially if they view their symptoms as being fairly mild), postpartum depression should not be left untreated, especially if the symptoms don't seem to be going away. <a href=''>As</a> postpartum depression is becoming more widely recognized, it is becoming common practice for health care professionals to screen new mothers for symptoms of depression and for hospital maternity wards to provide new parents with educational brochures on how to get help when needed. <a href=''>Also,</a> though postpartum depression was once viewed as a problem that affected the mother alone, therapists now recognize that the kind of relationship mothers have with their partners and other family members can play a critical role in developing symptoms. <a href=''>For</a> this reason, couples and family counseling can be extremely valuable in helping mothers deal with their symptoms and prevent relapses during later pregnancies. <a href=''>While</a> women like Laura may be reluctant to speak out about what they are feeling out of fear of being considered crazy, it is only through speaking out that help becomes possible. <a href=''>1</a> Science also backs up the idea that our minds operate differently during aha moments. <a href=''>Researcher</a> Mark Jung-Beeman notes that brain activity changes when creative insight takes hold. <a href=''>Specifically,</a> moments of clarity result in expanded activity in a small part of the right lobe of the brain called the temporal lobe. <a href=''>That</a> is the part that is vital for drawing distantly related information together, which is crucial for insight.2 For some, aha moments were experience-driven. <a href=''>For</a> example, one person woke up anxious every day, with her mind racing through the things she needed to do. <a href=''>Then</a> she didn't do them. <a href=''>One</a> morning she got up, wrote her list of things down, and started trying to get through them. <br /><br /><a href=''>The</a> next morning, she woke up peaceful even though she hadn't finished most of the items on her list. <a href=''>She</a> realized that procrastinating--not the actual list of things--was causing her anxiety. <a href=''>That</a> was her aha moment. <a href=''>Now</a> when she feels anxious, she writes down the things she needs to do, tackles a few, crosses them off, and makes a list of other things she did get done. <a href=''>It</a> has helped. <a href=''>Interestingly,</a> this aha moment about lists is supported by research. <a href=''>For</a> example, Roy Baumeister and E. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>J.</a> <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>Masicampo,</a> professors from Wake Forest University, found that just making a plan--writing down the tasks--significantly reduces anxiety.3 Here's a truth about our world. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>A</a> significant amount of our knowledge comes from aha moments that became insights that became scientifically validated facts. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>Another</a> woman recently relayed a profound aha moment that she had as a result of having broken her shoulder. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>Naomi</a> (name changed) is known professionally for her aha moments in the shower. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>This</a> is the time when her creativity and insights run deep. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>Her</a> clients often ask her what ideas she got that day in the shower. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>This</a> involves judging or deciding something without having all the relevant information. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>You</a> anticipate that things will turn out badly. <a href=',42657625&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&id=12879&ret='>For</a> example, if, when someone lets you know that they need to speak with you about something, you immediately thinkIt's something I've done wrong', then you jumped to a conclusion. Or if you heard that redundancies were to be announced and you thought It's bound to be me. <a href=''>It's</a> not fair', then you jumped to a conclusion. <a href=''>Instead</a> of waiting until you have more information, you immediately react with a negative conclusion. <br /><br /><a href=''>Imagine</a> looking down a cardboard tube. <a href=''>What</a> can you see? <a href=''>Or</a> rather, what can't you see? <a href=''>With</a> tunnel thinking, you are blind to other possibilities and options. <a href=''>Instead</a> of seeing the whole picture, you focus on the negative aspects. <a href=''>So</a> if, for example, you are forced to change your holiday plans, and your thoughts areWhy does this always happen to me? My plans are all ruined.' then you make it difficult to recognize that there are, in fact, other ways of thinking and doing things; you do have options. Tunnel thinking is related to polarized thinking. It's all or nothing' thinking. <a href=''>With</a> polarized thinking, there's no middle ground or grey areas. <a href=''>Things</a> are black or white, good or bad, a success or a total failure, clever or stupid, there is no middle ground, no room for mistakes and no room for improvement. <a href=''>These</a> types of thoughts are often characterized by terms such asshould' or shouldn't',must' or mustn't',every', always' ornever'. For example, `There's absolutely no point in voting. Things never change, all politicians are rubbish, and anyway, my vote won't make any difference.' This Saturday, I'm going to clean out the garage. If I can clear up four square feet of space in the garage over this weekend and the next one, that would be great! I'd like to lose ten pounds, so I've got to exercise like crazy. If I want to lose ten pounds, then I'm going to have to dedicate myself to that goal by watching what I eat and getting thirty minutes of exercise, three times a week. Your internal dialogue sets your goals, and it has the power to tell you what not to do, or what to do. So listen carefully to the things you tell yourself, and decide whether you've been flying on auto-pilot. If you don't like the direction you're headed in, then retake the controls and chart a new direction by deciding to take on the things that you can manage.