How to Make Real Lasting Change - Pt. 3: Learning New Skills
I’ll keep it short today.
For the last two weeks, we’ve been on a new series talking about how to create real, lasting change in your life. So far we’ve discussed environmental changes and behavior changes and I explained that while these might be well-intended, they are often ineffective ways to make long-term change in our lives.
So in this episode, I will be discussing the idea of learning new skills to support behavior change. If you are trying to facilitate any type of change in your life, it is very helpful to support that change with a framework or skill to help you sustain the change.
For example, when taking on something like OCD, it might sound simple when someone says, “don’t do compulsions,” but we all know it’s just not that easy. That’s why we insert tools and frameworks like ERP, The Triple-A Response, and Meditation to help support the desired change.
Hope you enjoy the show.
All right. Hello, and welcome to another episode of the restored mind show. And so on today's episode, we're going to talk about making change that lasts. And, um, you know, specifically, we're going to dive into the idea of learning skills or techniques or new capabilities to make change. So on this series, um, and this is part three in this series, what we're doing is we're actually going in kind of reverse order. Right? And so in the first part of this series, I talked about why changing our environment right. Is, is usually so ineffective, right? Because at the end of the day, we're still in our environment, right. No matter where we go, right? So if we are, if we have a habitual pattern that's showing up in our life, oftentimes, you know, like us just changing and moving to a new city or getting into a new relationship, something like that, oftentimes that's not going to promote any longterm change.
And then, you know, I've been on a grander level, you know, if we're talking about, um, you know, wanting to change something, our environment, to deal with our emotional disturbances, why that's so ineffective as well, because you can't, you can't control your environment. Right? So then in the last episode we talked about changing behavior and that's really the level underneath environment, right? Obviously it's a better place to focus because, you know, when we talk about changing our behavior, we're talking about looking at the things we're in control of, right? So at least that's a, that's a better step. But even then, if we don't, if we don't have the skillset or the belief structures or the identity to back that behavior change, that's why I talked about, you know, it can be very ineffective, right? That's why usually when we try to change a behavior without backing it with anything, often we're able to achieve short term change.
But again, in this series, we're talking about longterm change. So that leads us to where we are in this episode where we're going to talk about the idea of skills. And when we talk about skill sets or capabilities, this is really about acquiring, you know, new ways to help facilitate behavior change. So, you know, this could be, um, you know, when we're talking about mental health, right? I mean, we could be talking about this idea of learning skills, like cognitive behavioral therapy, and even more specifically types of cognitive behavioral therapy. So if we're talking about facing down OCD and anxiety, right. Or stress related disorders, um, stress related issues, you know, we can talk about exposure and response prevention, right? And, and these are new skillsets, new kind of frameworks that we can route our behavior in. And this can obviously really help with, with behavior change.
Right. I mean, if we can look at like facing a fear, well, yeah, of course, it's like, you know, we could stop avoiding now afraid of flying on planes. You know, we could stop avoiding flying on planes. Right. And that could be, um, you know, the behavior, your change, but when you back it with the, [inaudible] the roots of understanding exposure and response prevention and really understanding the kind of science behind it and helps facilitate a much greater buy into that change. And, and this goes into any aspect of our life, right. So if we talk about changing, you know, how we are operating in relationships, right. Or, um, just how we're operating again, I I'm, because everything's going on right now. Um, you know, I like to use very current examples, uh, at the time of this episode anyway, but things like, um, our, our experience with the coronavirus and the quarantine and all the restrictions that are currently happening in, in many of our lives.
Well, yeah, we can change our behaviors on a short level, but the skill sets underneath that is going to be very important. So how we manage emotions when they come up. Right. You know, what, like being able to identify emotions correctly. Right. And then if you talk about like in grander seems when it comes to like the political environment and the atmosphere there, you know, the skillsets about how we're able to notice our own, you know, emotional States in conversations that might be heated, right. As opposed to trying to change the person, to make ourselves feel better right. Or command that certain things happen so that we are okay. Noticing that we're not okay in the first place. Right. And noticing what's going on. Like what kind of, again, stories are underneath that in the skill set, right. It was skill in this instance would just be to notice what's going on in you.
Right. And noticing that's there as a disturbance because so many of us, and this just comes back down to just like stress and anxiety and emotional management. Most of us don't, we don't even have the awareness that there is a disruption going on. We're usually just responding to the disruption. Right. And we assume that it's something external that causes it. So we just react. We're just, we just live in a reactive way throughout life. Right. Someone says something we don't like, we just react. Right. As opposed to ever exploring like, okay, well, what really is going on within me? Right. And that's a, that's a good example of a skill to develop right. Of noticing our emotions. Right. Noticing when they're surfacing, noticing something that does trigger us and not assuming that necessarily that the triggers always a bad thing. Right. Oftentimes the triggers are just pointing to stuff within us.
Right. You know, a lot of times, um, if you don't like something many times, it's just a reflection of something with it. When you write sometimes, you know, there's a, a great kind of parallel. Someone once told me, and I'm like the idea of like looking at the world, like a mirror, right. And in your environment, like a mirror. And if you don't like something, oftentimes it's a reflection of something you don't like within yourself. And that's not always the case obviously, but the skillset of noticing your emotions. Right. And when you're talking about overcoming struggles with mental health, I think that's a wonderful skill to start with. Right? Just the ability to notice when something's happening to have enough space within yourself, right. To say, Hey, you know what? This is causing an emotional disruption, right. Or, Hey, you know what, I'm having these kinds of thoughts right now, as opposed to just being so consumed by them, that you're just acting without ever questioning it.
Because again, that skill to develop that space is, is critical and making longterm choices that are in your best interest, as opposed to impulsive choices. And many, many times, you know, that's like, that's the first skill to develop with someone who has, um, you know, who is engaging in destructive behavior. Now this can be addictive behaviors. Right. You know, whether it's consuming something, that's obviously not good for you or, you know, like gambling addiction or porn addiction. Right. I mean all different types of addictive behaviors, but even something as simple as compulsion's right. Because compulsions can be so subtle. Right. You know, when it comes to OCD and anxiety, like avoiding things that trigger you, that make you anxious. But over the long term, they're corrosive, right. They, they lower the quality of life that we're able to live because our lives become restricted. Right.
And then we have kind of new limitations, right. And that's one thing is when you, when you feed fear, your life just gets smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. Um, and so when, when we talk about this idea of learning new skills, what we're really talking about is learning new ways of fueling your behavior, right. And new new skills to fuel your behavior change. And, um, you know, a good example of this can be simple things like mental noting, right? Noting when you have a feeling come up or noting when you have a thought, but it can also be things like ERP and cognitive behavioral therapy or even meditation, right. Meditation is a skill, right. It is a practice. It's a, it's a skill that we're able to develop where we take time. Right. And that restored minds, you know, like we're big fans of meditation because we know that the power of, of creating that space.
Right. But that happens through practice, right. We practice the skill of creating space between ourselves and our emotions between ourselves and our thoughts. And that's a really good example of again, practicing a skill that will drive behavior change that will create long, long lasting change in your life. Right. And that's why when we go deeper in this, in this, uh, and these levels, right, we start with the environment and then behavior then skillsets. We understand that the deeper we go in this, the more effective, the change is going to be over the longterm. And then again, that's okay. What the goal of this series is, is, is to really help you promote or correct and promote and sustain longterm positive change in your life. And oftentimes it requires us looking in the complete opposite direction where we would normally look right. Um, and so, but in the upcoming episodes, you know, I'm going to be talking about kind of the two levels that I prefer to look at, obviously within myself.
Right. Um, but also with, with people that I work with. Right. And, and that is the, the idea of belief, right. And identity. And just to kind of give you a little bit of a, a glimpse of what we're going to be covering when we talk about changing belief, what we're really talking about is, is changing stories that we have. Right. And a lot of people will, will say different things or call these different things. You know, like I've heard them call agreements that we make. Right. But really a belief is just a story that we do tell ourselves about something again, and again, and again, it's not a truism, so to speak, it's not the truth. It's just a belief, right. There are like laws and there are truths out there. Right? What beliefs are, are, are perception about truth in many ways. And once we're able to see how, like, let's, let's, you just look at an exam sample.
If you have a belief that you can't get better from an anxiety disorder, well, you can see it, it doesn't matter what skills you learned or behavior change or environmental change you make. If you're maintaining that belief, it's just going to trickle up into everything else. Right. If you have a belief that you know about, like you, like, it's impossible to have a successful marriage. It's like, okay, well, you can see how that would, um, you know, trickle in pretty negatively to your marriage, right. In the beliefs that we make are often created subq verbally, right? Like there, there are things that we just create through patients. Sometimes they're through things other people say, and if we don't challenge belief again, you know, a lot of times we're setting ourselves up to fail before we even start. And then underneath that is when we're really going to talk about identity.
And that's really some of the most powerful shifts you can make. But again, we're going to get to that, uh, in the next episode, um, for those of you who, um, you know, have been following along, we always appreciate your support. And, uh, you know, if you'd be taking time to like, and subscribe and share this, uh, with others, we would really appreciate that. We also have, um, you know, the resources available to help you on this journey. If you're dealing with stress, anxiety, or OCD at, at restored mines, um, dot com, we have free guides, free assessments, um, downloads that can help you on your journey as well. We also have our private community that, um, we do live as well as, uh, you know, recorded trainings and, and, um, you know, meditations that, again, everything's just designed to help you on this journey, um, from the comfort of where you are. And so, uh, for those of you that have been following along, please check that out. There's some links down below where you can get, uh, you know, directed right to those resources as well. So thank you for taking the time to hang out with us today. And, um, we will see you in the next episode where we're going to dive in to beliefs. Thank you. Talk soon.