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Why Is It Important to Believe in Something?

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When life feels out of sorts, especially during times like these with national and global news filled with a pandemic, shaky politics and political scenes, and other unrest and world issues, we can easily slip away from the root of who we are and forget about what we believe in. You may have heard the term Stay strong in your beliefs. It is important to weld a sense of surety and direction into your existence by being true to your valuesyour fundamental beliefs and guiding principles. By living your life based on your beliefs, you are being authentic to yourself.

We are working hard to make a difference in the lives of our clients and the way the world sees mental health treatment.

I’m writing this on Thanksgiving Day in America. I’m sitting in the home where I was born and raised for my entire life. My family is scattered around the room just a few short feet away.

As I sit back and think about what I’m thankful for this year, I’ve settled on one thing that seems to have made the difference in my life over and over again. Earlier this week, I posted an article on 2 psychological tricks that offer easy ways to lose weight .

The article was well-received overall, but I also heard a complaint from someone who identified themselves as NoSalt (the internet is a strange place). I did my best to answer the questions with actionable advice that would help the reader overcome the problems mentioned. Why are you searching for reasons why these ideas won’t succeed instead of figuring out a way to make something good happen?

The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful ones (in health, in business, and in life) is that successful people are determined to make the situation work for them rather than playing the role of the victim and searching for reasons why a situation won’t work. You have to be willing to not just think differently, but to also to experiment with new ideas and trust that you’ll discover a way to make them work. When I was kicked off a train in the middle of the night while traveling through Hungary, I was lost and confused.

Harking back to Sigmund Freud, some psychologists have characterized religious beliefs as pathological, seeing religion as a malignant social force that encourages irrational thoughts and ritualistic behaviors.

Young children, for example, tend to believe that even trivial aspects of the natural world were created with purpose, according to a series of studies by Boston University psychologist Deborah Keleman, PhD. That basic equipment includes a memory system that appears to be exceptionally good at remembering the kinds of stories found in many religious texts.

Taken together, its easy to see how these cognitive tendencies could allow our minds to create religions built on the idea of supernatural beings that watch over our lives, says Atran, director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. In 2009, Grafman published an fMRI study showing that religious thoughts activate the area of the brain involved in deciphering other peoples emotions and intentions the ability known as theory of mind. What may make religion different from mundane thoughts about ones parents are contemplative traditions, such as meditation and prayer, which have the potential to change how the brain is wired among regular practitioners, says University of Wisconsin psychologist Richard Davidson, PhD.

His work focuses on a brain wave generated by the anterior cingulate cortex, called error-related negativity (ERN), which spikes when people make mistakes. These findings mesh with a large body of research and clinical reports that religious people are less prone to depression and anxiety, says Plante, editor of the book Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health (APA, 2010). University of British Columbia researcher Joseph Henrich, PhD, found cross-cultural support for this finding in a study published in March in Science (Vol.

Graham and Haidt argue that, through stories and rituals, religions have built on five basic moral foundations: Do no harm, play fairly, be loyal to your group, respect authority and live purely. He suggests that Denmarks society is successfully doing this with its large welfare state, its national ethic of hard work and its strong attachment to political freedom and individualism.

I want you to read this again, Not all those that believe succeed, but those who succeed believe! Believing is no guarantee of success on its own, but it is absolutely essential that we harbour an almost delusional confidence that we will overcome whatever hurdle is put before us.

Our unconscious mind cares not for our goals, or our ambitions, but only to filter and highlight any information it can find to support the internal beliefs we hold and to keep us safe. Research suggests it is possible through conditioning to retrain our unconscious minds so that the RAS then seeks information to reaffirm these positive self-beliefs and can help us spot the opportunities needed to achieve our goals that we might have otherwise overlooked.

Books such as Steven Pinkers How the Mind Works and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, have chapters that provide greater detail on this subject. It is a commonly held view that self-confidence is 100% a skill we can develop by conditioning and reaffirming our minds to hold a strong set of positive beliefs. As our confidence grows the everyday situations in our work and personal lives that may have previously created a level of anxiety will begin to have less influence on us.

Are You Determined To Fail?

Do you notice the theme throughout all of the questions? There is an undercurrent of self-doubt and vulnerability. The unspoken thought that drives these questions is, “I don’t believe these ideas will work for me.” Or, stated another way, “I don’t believe I can make these ideas work. I don’t believe in myself.”Worrying about not being able to implement a few diet changes is just one, tiny example of this fear. But a lack of belief in yourself will limit you no matter how great the ideas or opportunities are that you are exposed to.My biggest question to the reader above would be this: Why are you determined to make these ideas The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful ones (in health, in business, and in life) is that successful people are determined to make the situation work for them rather than playing the role of the victim and searching for reasons why a situation won’t work.No idea will work for every person on the planet, but many ideas can work for most people … if you believe that you can make them work. You have to be willing to not just think differently, but to also to experiment with new ideas and trust that you’ll discover a way to make them work.

Believe in Yourself

The biggest difference I’ve noticed between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It‘s the belief that they can make their goals happen.We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure. Some of us trust that if we move forward anyway, then we will figure it out. As I sit here on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that I’m one of these people.When I started my business, I was the only entrepreneur in our family in the last century. I didn’t have anyone to learn from, but I trusted that I would figure it out anyway.When I was kicked off a train in the middle of the night while traveling through Hungary, I was lost and confused. I couldn’t find anyone who spoke English, so as the train pulled away I ran along side, hopped back on, and trusted that I would figure it out anyway.When I’ve discovered an opportunity that sounds awesome but that I’m not qualified for (which happens often), I trust that I’ll figure it out and go for it anyway.I believe in myself. This confidence has made the difference for me again and again. I didn’t need intelligence or opportunity or resources. Just a simple belief in myself.

Predisposed to believe

There’s no one cognitive tendency that undergirds all our religious beliefs, says Barrett. “It’s really your basic, garden-variety cognitions that provide the impetus for religious beliefs,” he says.A common thread to those cognitions is that they lead us to see the world as a place with an intentional design, created by someone or something. Young children, for example, tend to believe that even trivial aspects of the natural world were created with purpose, according to a series of studies by Boston University psychologist Deborah Keleman, PhD. If you ask children why a group of rocks are pointy, for example, they say something like, “It’s so that animals won’t sit on them and break them.” If you ask them why rivers exist, they say it’s so we can go fishing.Adults also tend to search for meaning, particularly during times of uncertainty, research suggests. A 2008 study in People also have a bias for believing in the supernatural, says Barrett. In his work, he finds that children as young as age 3 naturally attribute supernatural abilities and immortality to “God,” even if they’ve never been taught about God, and they tell elaborate stories about their lives before they were born, what Barrett calls “pre-life.”“What we’re showing is that our basic cognitive equipment biases us toward certain kinds of thinking and leads to thinking about a pre-life, an afterlife, gods, invisible beings that are doing things — themes common to most of the world’s religions,” says Barrett.That basic equipment includes a memory system that appears to be exceptionally good at remembering the kinds of stories found in many religious texts. In particular, research finds that we most easily recall stories with some, but not too many, counterintuitive or “supernatural” elements. In one study, published in 2006 in This finding held up in both American college students and Maya villagers from the Mexican Yucatan, suggesting that stories with a few minimally counterintuitive elements, such as those found in many religious stories, are more easily remembered and, presumably, more readily transmitted from person to person, says Norenzayan, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia.That said, most researchers don’t believe that the cognitive tendencies that bias us toward religious belief evolved specifically for thinking about religion. Rather, they likely served other adaptive purposes. For example, because people are quick to believe that someone or something is behind even the most benign experiences, they may perceive the sound of the wind rustling leaves as a potential predator. In evolutionary terms, says Atran, it was probably better for us to mistakenly assume that the wind was a lion than to ignore the rustling and risk death.But this tendency also set us up to believe in an omnipresent God-like concept. Taken together, it’s easy to see how these cognitive tendencies could allow our minds to create religions built on the idea of supernatural beings that watch over our lives, says Atran, director of research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris.Such research also supports the notion that religious thought is in many ways an unavoidable byproduct of the way our minds work. Psychologist Thomas Plante, PhD, hopes that view will help people see themselves as “more whole.”“We’ve had this long history of believing that the things of the spirit are in one camp and that science and technology are in another camp,” says Plante, professor and director of the Spirituality and Health Institute at Santa Clara University and president of APA’s Div. 36 (Psychology of Religion). “If anything, this work reiterates that we are whole people; the biological, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual are all connected.”

Neural underpinnings

Neuroscience research supports the idea that the brain is primed to believe, says Jordan Grafman, PhD, director of the cognitive neuroscience section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This tendency, he says, is spread throughout the brain, and probably arose from neural circuits developed for other uses.“The idea that got a lot of attention several years ago that there’s a ‘God spot’ in the brain where religious thoughts and feelings arise has largely been rejected,” says Grafman, who will be moving to the Kessler Foundation in West Orange, N.J., in January to lead a traumatic brain injury research laboratory.In 2009, Grafman published an fMRI study showing that religious thoughts activate the area of the brain involved in deciphering other people’s emotions and intentions — the ability known as theory of mind. In the study of 40 people, published in the These results suggest that when people think about God, it’s similar to thinking about any special authority figure, such as one’s mother or father, says Grafman. In addition, he says, contemplation is not limited to religious thought, although certain traditions like prayer or meditation may require selective kinds of thinking processes. In general, he believes, the brain uses the same circuits to think about and experience religion as it does to think about and handle any other thoughts or beliefs.What may make religion different from mundane thoughts about one’s parents are contemplative traditions, such as meditation and prayer, which have the potential to change how the brain is wired among regular practitioners, says University of Wisconsin psychologist Richard Davidson, PhD. His work using both fMRI and EEG to measure brain activity of long-term Buddhist meditation practitioners during meditation shows that they have a stronger and better organized attention system than people who are just learning how to meditate. In essence, meditation — and perhaps any contemplative spiritual practice — enhances attention and turns off the areas of the brain that focus on the self.“Meditation is a family of mental exercises that change the circuits in the brain involved in regulation of emotion and attention,” he says.Even religion without a contemplative element may change certain brain circuits, according to research by University of Toronto psychologist Michael Inzlicht, PhD. His work focuses on a brain wave generated by the anterior cingulate cortex, called “error-related negativity” (ERN), which spikes when people make mistakes.“It’s our cortical alarm bell, an ‘uh-oh’ response that is preconscious and emotional,” says Inzlicht. “When we make an error, it’s arousing, causing slight anxiety.”In a study published last year in In a second set of studies, published in August in “This difference occurs in only a few hundredths of a second, but we propose that a lifetime of having less intense reactions can lead to a lifetime of being calmer,” says Inzlicht.These findings mesh with a large body of research and clinical reports that religious people are less prone to depression and anxiety, says Plante, editor of the book “Contemplative Practices in Action: Spirituality, Meditation, and Health” (APA, 2010). “Adaptive spiritual practices can be a foil to anxiety and depression,” Plante says.Having spiritual beliefs might also lead to enjoying a longer, healthier life. A large body of research finds that religious people live longer, are less prone to depression, are less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, and even go to the dentist more often. Inzlicht’s research might provide a partial explanation for these findings, says University of Miami psychologist Michael McCullough, PhD.

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