Do you expect too much from yourself?

Every parent hears this word from others and from within. As a parent you are confronted with the demands of others every day. Self-imposed demands add to these expectations as do expectations we hear and see in the media. When we are at the mall or shopping at the grocery store it is impossible not to see parent-child interactions that we wish to model or avoid. We file these desires away with all the other sights and sounds from the day. We pretend we have forgotten these events and the expectations associated with them but have we?

Your life is busy. Working, parenting, maintaining the household, doing laundry, yard chores, working out and eating rarely allow our minds to become quiet. Even sleep can become a fitful activity filled with strange dreams and unexplained fears. Allow of these tasks distract us from purposeful contemplation about our own needs, wants, feelings and aspirations. In this absence our brains are constantly recycling thoughts about what we could have done, should have done or would have done.

Our survival depends on the brain’s automated ability to perform functions without our active thought and participation. We breathe, digest food and maintain our balance blood pressure and heart rate without the slightest awareness. These autopilot capabilities of our central nervous system are unparalleled. Checks and balances, feedback systems and internal debriefing systems abound within each of us and function daily without us being aware.

This autopilot capability also manages our mental attitude. This is why the patterns of thinking we pursue and prefer are so important. Our thoughts train our brain in the same way as our movements and actions. By affirming happiness, fulfillment and opportunity our brain becomes trained to perform this same way when we are busy with decisions at work, at home or at play. If we affirm sadness, loss and inadequacy then our brain will mirror and recycle these patterns. By building brain circuitry upon a foundation of positive affirmations your automated thoughts and expectations will always be playing in this ” hidden brain” within each of us.

The choice is yours. What will be your playlist?

Joe Barber, MD