Recognize Your Cognitive Distortions

AUTHOR: Julissa Ledesma

Today, I would like to point out that a major part of living a royal lifestyle is cultivating healthy thoughts. The biblical verse in Romans 12:2 instructs us to be transformed by the renewal of our minds, which I believe is a continued multi-layered process.

One common misconception is that we have no control over our thoughts. This is not true: We do have control and we can purposely challenge every thought that comes into our minds, and also choose what we will accept or reject. This is crucial because our thoughts and the conclusions we make directly affect our actions in a positive or negative way.

One major factor of renewing our minds is becoming aware of what we are thinking about. The common adage “don’t believe everything you think “could be true in many instances. Often, many of our common thoughts may be irrational or inflated and we run the risk of accepting them as face value. For example, we may assume that a purely coincidental event may have been intentionally perpetuated. This is not saying that we should never trust our thoughts or perceptions but we should be mindful that we may have over time developed mal-adaptive (automated) thought patterns. These can be hard to recognize if we are not cognizant of them.

With this in mind, I would like to introduce the concept that many academic textbooks refer to as cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are biased perspectives we take on ourselves and the world around us. They are irrational thoughts and beliefs that we unknowingly reinforce over time. These patterns and systems of thought are often subtle–it’s difficult to recognize them when they are a regular feature of your day-to-day thoughts. That is why they can be so damaging since it’s hard to change what you don’t recognize as something that needs to change!

As I mentioned earlier, In order to challenge and avoid these negative thinking patterns, we must learn to identify, modify and correct them.

Listed below are the most common cognitive distortions we may all have fallen for at one point or another. Some types of distortions are:

· All-or-Nothing Thinking
· Overgeneralizing
· Discounting the Positive
· Jumping to Conclusions
· Mind Reading
· Fortune Telling
· Magnification (Catastrophizing) and Minimizing
· Emotional Reasoning
· Should Statements
· Labeling and Mislabeling
· Personalization

The images below include definitions and examples.

My Holistic Journey to Healing

AUTHOR: Julissa Ledesma

Today, I’d like to share a little about my holistic journey to healing.

Let’s remember that we are wonderfully created by God with three parts consisting of body, soul and spirit. Each part of our being works Inter-dependently, and there is never a disconnect between any of these parts even if we are not aware of it. This means that one aspect of our life impacts our emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. From my perspective, a Royal Life, involves understanding this mind- body-spirit connection and allowing God to bring wholeness to every area of my life.

For the past few years, I have been struggling with a few medical issues, for which I sought many conventional doctors in trying to seek help. Unfortunately, they only focused on treating each symptom and condition independently, and their solutions involved mostly pharmaceuticals. I thank God for medical doctors, but I have found that taking a holistic approach has been more beneficial for me at attacking root causes.

In my journey with conventional doctors, my symptoms progressively worsened. Shortly afterward, I realized how these physical issues started affecting my emotional and spiritual life. My energy, mood, and focus were all impacted along with my motivation and desire to seek God. After countless medical visits and little results, I started researching. I came across holistic approaches to health that would help me find the underlying causes of my medical issues.

As I kept learning more about the many factors that can affect our health, the more I realized that the college program I attended, never introduced me to topics such as the bi-directional gut-mind connection and the importance of a healthy microbiome, or the fact that food sensitivities and even bugs in our system can influence our mood.

Also, many physical issues could easily present as mental or spiritual difficulties. For instance, if you start experiencing symptoms that look like depression or anxiety such as low energy, changes in appetite, sleep, brain fog, palpitations, excessive worry, etc., this doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mental health disorder; A lack of minerals or vitamin deficiencies such as vitamin B12 and vitamin D can also manifest as depression.

In my case, I discovered that the root cause was a never diagnosed intolerance to gluten which in turn contributed to long-term nutrient mal-absorption.

finally, I would like to motivate you to intentionally work at nurturing every part of you daily. I know this process can be different for everyone. Here are some ways that are helpful:

-Spending quality time talking and listening to God
-Maintaining close loving relationships
-Managing your self-talk
-Optimizing proper nutrition
-Incorporating physical activity
-Practicing relaxation/breathing techniques to manage stress
-Engaging in Joyful activities
-Laughing often
-Learning something new everyday.