What we focus on, we give energy to. What we give energy to, we cultivate

You’ll probably be aware that the attached graphic demonstrates the process of ‘photosynthesis’ – and yes, I have cut and pasted the following definition from elsewhere😄 – ‘which is used by plants and other organisms to convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel the organism’s activities’: i.e. to grow and maintain. I’d like to cover here how this relates to thinking our way into, and out of, trouble.

‘What we focus on, we give energy to. What we give energy to, we cultivate’ is a quote from the excellent Professor Paul Gilbert OBE, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Derby. It very much resonated with me in the context of thinking our way into, and out of trouble. As human beings we have our own version of photosynthesis: what we give energy to and cultivate, in how we think, and what that produces.   

In terms of our thinking, we can cultivate more, or less, helpful feelings and behaviours, depending on what we focus on and engage with, and thereby give energy and sustenance to.

It’s easier said than done of course to banish unhelpful thinking, worrying, ruminating etc. completely, particularly if it’s become a habit and/or we’re in a difficult life situation.

Let’s acknowledge though that we have our own personal version of this ‘cognitive photosynthesis’, and try and identify it if and when this is leading to unhelpful emotions and behaviours, as a first step to doing something about it.  

What can you do if you do find yourself cultivating unhelpful emotions and behaviours as per the foregoing?

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