The Wellness Of Thinking
Zeina Ghossoub El-Aswad
By definition, thinking is a process that is both instinctive and learned. Think about it (Pardon the pun). When you think, you are doing what exactly? Not to get too philosophical but thinking is a complex process that can be mostly driven by instinct, hence the expression: "I did it without even thinking about it…pure instincts”. Or it can be purely cerebral and driven by mental steps and processes that are factual and devoid of emotions. So you see the spectrum of thinking is so wide. If you analyze every time you think about something, you would be amazed at the actual process. It is the "learned” process of thinking that we, as coaches, are interested in. What exactly do I mean by that?
I am going to ask something of you. It is an exercise so to speak. Think about the way you approach a problem, any problem. Which one of the following are you?
- Identify the problem and initial reaction is a negative one?
- Identify the problem and initial reaction is a neutral one?
- Identify the problem and immediately think of the solution?
- Identify the problem and get overwhelmed?
- Identify the problem and immediately seek help?
- Identify the problem and immediately start solving?
The list of possibilities goes on. In general though, you can approach a problem or an obstacle in life by either reactive negatively or being positive about finding a solution. And you know who you are and how you react. If you don’t, ask those around you who know you best. Now think about where you would like to be. The beauty of coaching is that it can take you there. Coaching can impact the thinking processes that your brain goes through. These walkways or pathways of thinking can be switched or altered such that not only is the impact of the problem changed, but the perception of it and how it is tackled is changed. So how does that translate into wellness?
The title talks about the wellness of thinking and thinking wellness. Let me first start with thinking wellness. Wellness is a state of existence that describes a psycho-social, mental, emotional and physical existence that is "healthy” and free of disease. So, if you start thinking "wellness”, you are thinking about how to stay healthy and free of disease in all those aspects. The thought process about wellness involves two steps. First, you need to know what is "well”. For example: How high should my cholesterol be? How much sleep do I need? How should my relationship be with my significant other? With God? Second, you need to know how to get to the "well” stage.
When you go to a doctor or a health care professional, you go for a check up or because you do not feel well. When you go to see your spiritual leader, you go because you are troubled spiritually. When you go to your financial advisor, you go because of monetary problems or requests. Each one provides you with guidance and defines "well” for you. Pretty soon you get a good idea of what "well” is. You know for example it is not okay to smoke. You know that you need to pray and so on and so forth. Now, the major question that ensues: How do I get to my "well” state? Here, my friends, is where a coach comes into play. Let me ask you to go back to the beginning of the article and look at your answer to the above questions. Once you have identified yourself, now ask yourself how your view of who you are can help or impede you reaching the "well” state. Are you someone who worries a lot? Are you a negative person? Are you an independent strong willed person? Where are you failing in your work? In your health? Why are you failing? Why are you succeeding? Look at all of these things.
Now STOP! A coach will help you analyze your thinking processes, help you identify your obstacles that halt your path to being "well”. A coach will help you develop new pathways of thinking that bypass those obstacles. A coach will help you think of new ways to get to the state of "well”. A coach, my friends will take you from thinking wellness to developing wellness in your thinking. And that wellness will ultimately guide you to where you want to be: a state of "well”.