To Live the 7am Life….if Only!
To Live the 7am Life….if Only!
L.T. Force, Ph.D.
In my Clinical Practice, I am in continuous discussions “with people who are seeking Change”. At some point in their life, due to an inner dialogue, or an exchange with a family member or friend (spouse, partner, children, relative) or a discussion at a work setting (Boss, colleague or Employee Assistance Program (EAP) representative) or a Clergy member or someone representing the legal system (law enforcement agent, judge…etc.) they have decided to seek counseling and supportive therapy….”to change”.
What is the best definition of change?
change, alter, vary, modify mean to make or become different. change implies making either an essential difference often amounting to a loss of original identity or a substitution of one thing for another.7 days ago
Change Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster
https://www.merriam-webster.com › dictionary › change
For some of these individuals that are addressing a drug or alcohol addiction or wrestling with other forms of impulse-control behaviors, whatever the manifestation that the behavior takes - the person sitting across from me “wants to change….they want to stop this behavior pattern”. How serious they are about this “endeavor of change” depends on a whole host of reasons: emotional, psychological, physical (health related), spiritual, financial….etc. the one thing for sure is that: “they are committed to ‘stop and change’ the behavior that is creating difficulty, angst, worry, shame and anger”.
What I have found is that some people are successful at: shifting / reducing the behavioral patterns (harm reduction), while others completely stop in engaging with the behaviors (abstinence) and there are others that struggle, days, weeks, months, years and even decades in wrestling with these “out of control impulse disorders”. If only people could live the lives they say they want to live at 7am in the morning - where the day or night before they have engaged in the behaviors that are creating problems - and when they awake in the early morning - they have that ‘dialogue that self-talk’ where they say, where they, in fact, vow they will never engage in that behavior again…they are done! However, it is not uncommon to catch-up with them later that day or evening and there they are repeating the same patterns. Why the disparity….the disconnect in addressing these behaviors? Good question….with a 1,000 answers. Whatever the reason - we know that support and fellowship can be of value. We also know that change can begin immediately - Yes, immediately! And I mean immediately.
What I have noticed, what we all have noticed, is that technology has had an impact on every part of our lives - including the “therapeutic exchange”. Recognizing there is a valuable role that technology can play in the therapeutic process is “a value-add”. As I say to my students: “there are 2 things that you need to bring into a families life today: ‘Technology and your Heart’. If you can only bring one thing into the therapeutic process in working with a family - bring your Heart. But you can’t act like technology doesn’t matter”.
Following my own advice, coupled with my early training in Behavioral Psychology - I have framed out a behavioral intervention that my clients can use immediately - as they are beginning to integrate patterns of change into their lives. I have titled the intervention the:
Force Self-Change Intervention (FSCI). After our first session, I text the client the FSCI Program outlined below. I say to them, via text:
“This is a good start. I would also recommend:
Change your watch face
Change your ringtone
Change your alarm tone
Change your sleep pattern - go to bed a little later or earlier….get up a little later or earlier
Change (rearrange) some of the furniture in your home or office
Add a reminder stating: “I’m doing good!” (set it for an hourly reminder) and set another reminder: “I’m doing really good!!!!” (set that for a different time - and have that one set as a daily reminder).
These are hourly and daily reminders to you, your Brain and your affect that things are different - different even in the way you look at time and different in the way you talk to yourself and different in the way you look at your personal and professional world. Change is a practice and you have already started.
I know your first response may be - What?
Try it - you will be surprised by the result.
Also, regarding change - it’s not that you are going to change - you already have - and now we build upon that shift in paradigm.”
As I tell my clients - “there is no magic to change….it truly is a practice and it can begin now….you build upon it. I am under no delusion that by reconfiguring your technological- interface along with some physical changes in your world that “Whammo!….You have been Healed!” But it is an immediate shift in the way you have been historically operating with your environment (technological and physical) - and now that is changed….it is different….and so are you - and now we continue to build upon this new shift in paradigm”.
In addition, I stress to my clients “the value of the exhale”. I ask them to engage in activities and exercises that will help focus on their breathing and therefore, be a resource or tool for a Mindfulness Practice - to help in the reduction of stress and tension. One resource/tool that I use is: MindfulText (www.MindfulText.com). MindfulText is an evidence-based Mindfulness Text-Based Program that can be a tremendous resource in teaching an individual the value of a Mindfulness Practice….one breath at a time.
So, as you can see….wouldn’t it be wonderful, if only we were able to live the lives we say we want to live at 7am in the morning? Here is the answer - Yes, we can change ….with practice and it can begin immediately!