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Reflections in a Foggy Mirror

Thoughts compiled by Cynthia Gill MA, LMFT.

Gone are the days of sitting by the lake fishing, and just thinking. Far in the past memories of the older generation are the lazy days of walking along, reflecting on life. Everyone is on their screens! "I'm too busy!" How often do we hear or think this? Our mirrors of life are foggy.

But is this healthy? Can we think about something carefully or rationally, and reach a conclusion well without it? My observation is that young people and kids already have lost or are losing the ability to think critically. To think for themselves. To worship. And with these losses come anxiety. A lack of peacefulness.

So, what can we do? Do we just sit idly by, and let ourselves be hijacked by our phones and iPads? The rebel in me screams "NO!" Here is a list of questions we can ask ourselves and others to help us learn to think deeply again.

Ask yourself these questions. I find that as I am falling asleep at night, it helps to go over the day this way. Especially "What am I grateful for?" What am I grateful for today? What surprised me today? What made me sad today? What made me laugh or smile today? What was a challenge today? How was I kind today? How was I brave today? What were some pleasures today? (another way of saying what I am grateful for) How did I fail today? (no shame!!) Take some time to ask yourself some of these every day. Ask your child, teen, adult child. Incorporate them into your day.

Take some time each day to be off your phone. Even 20-30 minutes is better than none. If we are not led by our thoughts, we are led by the default: our emotions. This unfortunately leads to chaos. Think about it: when I am led by my emotions, without regard for rational thinking, doesn't it lead to chaos?

I have a picture of a train which I often show my clients. It has "thoughts" as the engine, "beliefs" as the coal car, then "behavior" as a car, and lastly a caboose labeled "feelings." If the train is led by thoughts, that is effective living, if it is led by emotions, that leads to chaos. The idea is to be led by your thoughts, which are (ideally) fed by true beliefs. We don't ignore our feelings, but we shouldn't be led by them.

Yet, if we do not take some time to think, to reflect, I fear our society is headed for trouble. Feelings-led people rarely make good decisions. Think the French Revolution, Rwanda, and the Hitler rallies. All are examples of people being led by mass emotion.

Let's take time to think, to reflect, to worship. It is what we have been given above the animals. Let's quiet ourselves and do it! It will make life's mirror a little less foggy.

For further assistance, please call 763-566-0088 and speak to our Client Services Coordinator or stop by the NewPath Mental Health Services office at 8401 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 340, Golden Valley, MN 55426 to find out about services you are interested in.


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