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Centerpointe Research


Cross Talk, Mind Chatter

mindchattercenterpointeCross talk and mind chatter represent the clutter of the mind.  Meditation developed my ability to clear my mind and turn off the conversations in my head.  My mind is usually not totally blank when I do this.  Especially when I am doing this while I am out and about.  I am aware and am able to remain alert for necessary stimuli.

I thought I had mastered the art of diminishing or even stopping the crosstalk and mind chatter in my head.  Then I realized that I was having a running commentary in my head as I was fixing myself some leftovers.  Every time I performed a necessary action like turn on the microwave, I told myself to do it.  I decided to experiment and go ahead and fix my bite to eat without having a conversation in my head with myself.  Miracle, of miracles, I could do it.

Where did that habit involving cross talk and mind chatter come from?  I usually don’t do that when I drive.  Yes, I am aware of what I am doing and what I am going to do.  Could it possibly be because there is less routine and more choices to be made when I am heating up something to eat?  Does driving involve more habits?

Also there is another factor involved in what I do in the kitchen.  I had to become more deliberate in my actions when I cooked and prepared something to eat.  Things I used to do around the house without thinking, I now had to think about because I developed physical limitations that I hadn’t had before.  I had to be careful how I did things and I had develop new ways of doing some things.  I think that this comes under the category of do-it-yourself occupational therapy.  To avoid an accident, hurting myself, or breaking or dropping something, I had to remind myself mentally to be more careful about doing some things.mindchattersleep

Now that I have formed new habits in this area,  it is about time for me to cut back on cross talk and mind chatter and “go it alone.”  Now maybe I can get in a meditative state of mind around the house.

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Doing Things For Others

Doing things for others can backfire.  If they didn’t do it for themselves and it doesn’t work, they can blame you.  You can be a built-in scapegoat.  You can start to be taken for granted.

Doing things for others can promote harmony.  It is the middle child syndrome.  You don’t want people to fight and maybe you can guess what compromise can work here.  You spend more time thinking of what would please others and less or no time thinking about what you might want to do or have in the situation.

Doing for others all the time can lower instead of raise your self esteem.  Have you lost all sense of what is truly right for you?  For example, in a restaurant do you have trouble deciding what to order and you are the last one to order after everybody else has placed their orders.  Then do you regret that you ordered whatever it was and that is proof that you don’t know what you want and you shouldn’t trust yourself to make those decisions..  Now you don’t enjoy your meal out.

Doing things for others can be rewarding if you make someone’s life a little easier when you could make it a little harder.  Often in these situations it is at little or no cost to you.  Spread a little joy.  Speak up when you really want to do something you want to do anyway and contribute this to the decision-making process.

English: A poster at the Occupy Boston demonst...

English: A poster at the Occupy Boston demonstration explaining the decision process in use. (Photo credit Tim Pierce

You may be the type of person who doesn’t want to rock the boat and negative feelings for you or for others can be very unsettling and you can get upset over somebody else getting upset.  You might think it is worth it to do this just to have peace.  Remember some very bad things have happened and no one who observes them happening does anything about it.  Sometimes you have to speak out for yourself and/or others.

It may be easier in a family to just give in in order to get out the door so to speak.  However, the people in the family who always get their way learn very little about how to compromise or share in any given situation.  They find out later that people outside the family group don’t necessarily share their likes and dislikes and they don’t have the experience of other people speaking up for themselves.    Finally such a person may be rejected by others outside the family because of his or her learned self-centered behavior.

Doing things for others can leave you out.

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It’s All About You


Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

I was raised to think that my first thought should be, “What will other people think?” when I did something.  I grew up thinking that “other people” were more important than me.  Yes, my parents were included in that important group of people that I should always defer to; but even my parents were not as important as “other people” were.

This continued on into my adult life as long as my parents were alive.  This was the main consideration my mother had when I told her that I was going to get a divorce.  She was more concerned with the stigma that being divorced would give me among her friends and family than she was with my well being.

Back when I was first married, I remember coming home to visit my parents by myself and I was wearing a brand new bright red maxi coat which I dearly loved and when it became time to go to church the next day, my mother said, “You are not going to wear that,” and she actually expected me to wear instead one of my old coats that I had left at her house.  I stood up for myself and I told her that I was not going to church if I couldn’t wear my new coat.

When I remarried and had children and we were visiting my mother and the other grandchildren were coming to visit too, my mother would become critical of my children and not the others.  We were glad when we could leave and escape being found wanting when compared to the rest of the family.  Oh, believe it or not, later after she died, my cousins told me that she secretly bragged on my children when we weren’t there.  I know she was raised to think that way and her growing up experience was not easy as my grandmother (her mother) was often sick and withdrawn from the family leaving her and her sister with the help of their father who had to work to  fend for themselves.  I am sure she didn’t know what to tell other people when they asked what was wrong.

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What A Way To Go


Thinking (Photo credit: Moyan_Brenn)

If you watch much TV or look at too many popular  magazines,  you might be led to thinking that you are all washed up when you reach 49.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I never thought that my grandparents looked anything but wonderful to me.  We are constantly told what we should look like, what we should wear, and what we should like to do.

How many well-to-do people get their houses “decorated” by an interior decorator and then worry about it getting, dirty, cluttered, or appearing “out-of-date” or well-worn?  What is the idea of having something if you can’t use it?  On the other hand, decorating a home with comfortable well-made furnishings that are pleasing to the eye can enhance your life and increase your house’s useability.  As a result, you spend more time there; you enjoy entertaining there; and the longer you have had it, the more you appreciate it.

You as a person do not have to be in style.  You can follow your own drummer and as you live longer, you can age well like a bottle of wine.  If you are over 29, 39, or 49, have you changed over time.  Are there things you know and do now that you didn’t do then that make a difference in the way you live your life?  What do you know now that you wish you had known then?  For example, I enjoy children  even more than when I was raising them.  I am freer to look at life with the perspective of some distance and little things don’t matter so much and sometimes they don’t even hurt as much.  I’ve learned from other people how others live their lives and I am not so narrow-minded and have gotten some good ideas on how to improve mine.

Early in life we often focus on getting things and on getting things done.  We sometimes have tunnel vision and we miss the forest for the trees.  As we get older, we can develop our own point-of-view of what is important in life and how to get it.  We may realize that we wasted time focusing on things we thought were important because that was what we were taught and not on what was really important when we started thinking for ourselves.

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Stupid? Mistakes

Are you prone to making stupid mistakes?  At least that is what you call them.  There is a difference between having something turn out differently than you thought it would and going ahead and doing something because you thought it was the easy way out.  With the former, there may have been no way to predict that the misfortune would happen; but it did and now you have to live with the consequences.  Calling yourself a dumb dodo may help you find something or someone to blame the mistake on, but in reality it was just an unfortunate mistake.  Perhaps you thought that taking the interstate after a snow storm was safer than taking the highway and it wasn’t.  It happened to me.  I white knuckled it for about sixty miles while driving very slowly by semis in the ditches.  Would I have done it differently if I had known this.  Yes.  My husband was asleep at the time and we had changed drivers before entering the interstate because we thought that the driving from there on would be easier.  When he woke up and the scarey ride was over, he didn’t dare call me, “Stupid.”  Don’t do it to yourself.


Thought (Photo credits:

Ah, come on, you know it when you do something you know you shouldn’t and get in trouble.  Here is another weather-related driving incident.  How about when you go down a road that has water starting to cross the road after a heavy rain and there have been high water signs out, but you go ahead and do it anyway because you don’t want to go back and find another way around.  You know you will have to retrace your steps and then use a longer route to by pass the high water to get to where you are going.  You can learn from both experiences, but you don’t have to castigate yourself in the first instance where you might legitimately do so in the second incidence.  You know who you are.  Make adjustments for your tendency to do the easy thing when to do so will cause you trouble.  For example, teenagers and even young adults are more likely to do this because the part of their brain that controls impulsive behavior and leads to making decisions that delay rewards and reinforcement in favor of longer-term goals doesn’t fully form until they are older..

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I Can See Clearly Now

Emotion: Anger

Emotion: Anger (Photo credit: Cayusa)

Emotion: Fear
Emotion: Fear (Photo credit: Cayusa)

Having become acquainted with mind fullness and meditation, I am finally reaching the benefits of  focusing  on what is happening now (not on the future or on the past) and having more accurate perceptions.  I didn’t realize what I had missed out on until this happened.

I am making better decisions.  I wish that I hadn’t wasted so much of my life by going about with blinders on.  I am less likely to jump to conclusions and if I have, I often realize it and am able to hold off on making a mistake by acting prematurely before I have all the information.

Emotions can be wonderful.  When something wonderful has happened, your feelings of joy may overwhelm you and you may wonder if you ever will feel this good again.  You may feel like nothing can stop you and do things you never thought you could do.  It is what keeps us going and binds us to our friends and family.

Emotions can be a problem.  They can keep us from seeing straight.  While some of these emotions can protect us especially in situations where we have little time to react and need to go by our gut, they can impair our decision making ability and we aren’t able to analyze the situation and make a well thought decision.  Sometimes in prolonged emergencies, the best person to have around is one who can keep their head.

Even preconceived notions can be useful in an emergency when there is no time to think and a person must act immediately.  Other times premature emotional reactions and poor judgment or no judgment can be a problem.  If you can keep your head and not do anything that doesn’t need to be done immediately, you can stop and see, hear, or read what is going on and not react impetuously out of fear or anger or desire.

I find out that I am more perceptive, I can get a good idea of what is going on with another person, and I can be more supportive and less demanding when I do that.  For example, I asked someone to do me a favor two or three times and even handed him the stuff he needed, but he laid the stuff down and kept telling me what I needed to know to do something for him.  I realized, when he left without the stuff, that he had been distracted not only by the need to be sure I got his information but also by the things he had to do when he left.  I could have focused on what he didn’t do for me when I was doing him a favor (as I would have done in the past), but I didn’t because I think that he didn’t even notice that he hadn’t taken the stuff because he was so busy and needed to get some things done.

Also  I talked to a friend on the phone recently and she seemed different.  I didn’t feel that we had had  as free and easy a conversation as we usually did.  After I got off the phone, I remembered that a member of her family had recently moved back home and that she might be worried about whether this might not work out and also didn’t feel because of this that she could talk as freely as she usually did.  I decided I would check on her again and  to discretely see if this was the problem why she didn’t feel as comfortable on the phone as she usually did.  I also decided to do her  a favor that  I initially had put off as she might need it more now.

Believe me I am not always that wise and kind, but I am improving (I think) and the meditation and mind fullness are paying off, but it didn’t happen quickly so don’t give up.


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Seeing Things as They Really Are

5 Senses

5 Senses (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So many of us are too busy thinking of what to do or say next that we do not pay attention to what is happening in front of us.  When we really see and hear this and pick up on what  is being communicated or what is really going on, we can make better decisions then if we jump to conclusions and react to what we think is going on before we give it a chance to unfold.

Recently after spending time learning to meditate in the past year or two, I have noticed that I am more in the moment when something is going on in front of me and notice things that I failed to notice before.  Too often we see what we think we are seeing even if that is not what is going on.  The act of perception is often a filter which keeps us from taking in what is really going on.

We spend too much time thinking when we ought to be receiving information from our senses which we can then use to create a picture of what is going on when we have all the information.  Endless mind chatter can block and/or distort information coming in from our senses.  If we don’t have the whole picture,  how can we come to accurate conclusions.

Have you ever been so angry that you couldn’t see straight.  Have you then been mistakenly rude to someone who made an innocent remark?  You weren’t thinking clearly were you?

When you are not overcome with emotion and your mind is quiet, you can focus on what is going on around you.  You might be surprised at what you might have been missing.  Others who are able to do this often have an advantage when it comes to understanding and interpreting what is going on around them.


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History? Truth or Fiction Part Two

Social Theory of International Politics

When I first was in school, I thought that history was cut and dried.  It was a subject that involved memorization of the “facts” presented.  It was not until I learned to think for myself that I began to realize that there may be more than one way to interpret a certain set of facts and even later I realized that important information can be left out.  A current example of this would be that of the two opposing political camps supporting the candidates for president different takes on often the same sets of information.  Also they may choose to focus on different sets of “facts”.

Often a country’s government may prefer one view of an historical event over another and, if they have any control of the media, may present a very biased point of view.  This is  very true of some very totalitarian governments in our world today.   In these cases, not only current news is censored; but also often historical accounts.   Usually we call this propaganda.  It happens anytime when one one group’s point of view is either left out or misrepresented.  Not only governments can do this, but also experts on some academic subject or proponents of some scientific or social theory.

This is where psychology fits in.  How we make up our minds and view the world is very important in effecting how we behave.  Psychology is the science of human behavior.  Psychology should study all the important variables effecting behavior, not just those supporting one particular theory. It is important to also be aware that psychologists usually design their experiments to account for any type of bias that they can anticipate. Recently psychologists have been acknowledging the effect that observing (and measuring) a variable can have on the results found.

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Generating Fear and Anger

Can't Get You Out of My Thoughts

Can't Get You Out of My Thoughts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you resent people for what you think they have done to you in the past?  Are you concerned about things over which you have no control in the future or in the present moment?  Do you continually have such thoughts and they make you anxious and get you upset?  Did you ever think about how easily you can be controlled  because of these thoughts?   You may be calmly sitting in your recliner watching TV when something is mentioned that you are concerned about but is not happening to you at the present moment.  Are your feelings aroused?  These are usually not positive thoughts.  They can prevent you from enjoying life’s present moments and keep you from being in the here and now.  What might have been a pleasant break from everyday responsibilities turns into an unpleasant reaction to hidden fears and concerns that are associated with the content of the TV program you are watching.  The news often does not calm you and fill you with gratitude for the things life has given you.  The current presidential campaigns have taken on a negative slant and they must think that it works or why do they this?   Why do people think that the best way to motivate people is by hate and fear?  Psychological studies involving behavior modification find that rewards do a better job of changing behavior especially when they are associated with a desired positive behavior.  Unwanted behavior when eliminated must have the behaviors that are wanted already in place to take their place.

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Unwanted Thoughts

Where do all those unwanted thoughts come from?  Endless mind chatter, more frequently negative than positive, is a common complaint among people.  Whispers of fear and doubt drift through our heads.  “Should’s” and “can’t’s.” mess up our minds.  Just think how much we could get done if we could just focus on what we are doing instead of these irritating thoughts in our head.  These are road blocks of thought that often prevent us from doing what we want or would like to do and may even prevent us from fulfilling our purpose in life.

Where do these ideas come from?   Considering that we usually don’t like these thoughts and we feel bad when we think them, why do we continue to think them?   Why do we believe them?  There is a time in life when we are very vulnerable to establishing these kind of thoughts in our mind.  There is a time in our life when we don’t know better than to believe these ideas are true.  The younger we are the more vulnerable we are to adopting others’ ideas even if not true as part of our self-concept.  We learn them.

Why is it so difficult to change these ideas especially when we learn later in life that they are not true.  It happens because after awhile, when we learn something like this, we often accept this as the way things are in life as we may not have any experiences to the contrary.   Such ideas become automatic such as learning to ride a bicycle or learning our multiplication tables; but this not beneficial when we have had the experience of being bullied by someone who does not know us and sees us as a convenient victim.

There is a part of the mind where information is stored to which we usually do not have direct access and is, therefore, almost invulnerable to being changed. Another big problem is that we often accept this kind of information as factual and you know that facts are facts because they can’t be changed or at least that is what most people think.

This kind of information is usually said to be at an unconscious or subconscious level and is difficult to access and difficult to change. It even follows some different rules from that which is stored in the conscious mind. There is a method to this madness. One thing is that it enables us to do things without thinking like ride a bicycle. Another is that when we can access it, we can usually find information that we thought we had forgotten. Hypnosis is often used to do this.

Unconscious learning can be the source of thoughts and ideas that effect our behavior and self image in very often damaging ways. It can help us because this is often how we develop rules that make it easier for us to make decisions as long as the rules make sense.

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