There’s no such thing as self-sabotage. A psychotherapist debunks the most common concepts that keep us stuck - Deepstash

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We need anxiety

We need anxiety

Anxiety is a roadmap that points us to a real or imagined threat, pain from the past or something in the present that needs our attention.

While anxiety can be debilitating and must be managed, we need it. If we disable or mute our anxiety indicators, we won't know where the problem is.

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You can't think your way out of stuck

Thoughts can help shape behaviour and therefore reality. But motivation is mostly a physiological issue, not a mind issue.

The "fight, flight, or freeze" response is activated by a physiological mechanism inside the nervous system. When you are stuck in fight or flight, such as panic or racing thoughts, you are not able to think your way out.

Turning the amygdala response off is the key to motivation. The amygdala is your panic button in the brain. If your brain is perceiving a threat, it will shut down your system (procrastination) or put it in hyperarousal (motivation).

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Mental health is a physical process

Mental health is a physical process

"Mental" health has very little to do with our minds. A nervous system stuck in a fight, flight, or freeze response will show the exact symptoms as clinical depression or pathological anxiety.

The nervous system is not an illness or disorder. It is doing exactly what it is designed to do. When a brain is stuck in fight, flight, or freeze it is misattuning to safety and danger in the environment.

If we see mental health as an actual physical process, then we have a greater chance of finding our way to tools that can get ourselves unstuck.

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Self-sabotage is a misnomer

The actions that destroy our plans and relationships are a suboptimal effort at self-protection.

What we call “self-sabotage” often happens because if you achieve a goal, things will need to change. All change involves some degree of loss. Any change to our status quo can trigger a threat response as change requires risk.

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All behavior is functional

All behavior is functional

Not all behaviour is acceptable, but all behaviour is functional. Behaviour modification without understanding behaviour will almost always make us inert.

You don't need to make giant behavioural transformations to get unstuck-getting unstuck requires tiny micro-shifts, and those shifts compound rapidly. Once you're in motion, your cognitive work suddenly becomes powerful.

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