Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before Summary

LifeMindsetPersonal DevelopmentPsychology
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Now, more than ever before, people are struggling with their mental health.

In her book, “Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?” Dr. Julie Smith shares practical tips and tools for anyone struggling with anxiety, self-doubt, or depression.

Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s dive into it.

Lesson #1: A low mood isn’t your personality; you just need to understand what causes it.

If we could make ourselves happy just by pressing a button, life would be easy, right?

When we are having a good time, we don’t really care about our emotions.

But when we experience bad emotions, we want to just get rid of them by any means.

The problem is that the more we try to run away from them, the harder it gets to let them go.

When we see happy people, we immediately think that they are happy all the time. But this is not true. Every other person goes through emotional rollercoasters.

The idea that some people are happy and some people are sad is not entirely true.

Yeah, it’s true that some people generally have a low mood, but this doesn’t mean that our moods define our personalities.

Moods are temporary.

And even the personality can be significantly changed if a person understands themselves and knows what to do.

By understanding what factors in the external world influence our emotions, we can gain some control over our emotions and not feel helpless all the time.

Don’t get the wrong idea, though.

No matter how much you improve your skill at dealing with emotions, you will still face low days from time to time.

We can’t eliminate all hardships from our lives. And even if we succeed in doing that, more hardships will come into our lives. There is just no end to hardship.

Fortunately, we can always adapt and try to make things work our way.

Emotions tell us a lot about our lifestyle, our environment, our body state in general, our relationships, etc.

And these are also the factors that play a significant role in influencing our emotions.

The problem today is that most people don’t understand their emotions.

So as soon as they experience a low mood, they get disturbed and start running after the sources of excitement to feel good again.

They run after easy fixes instead of permanently solving the problem that lies in their own heads.

Our emotions tell us a lot about the quality of life we live.

Things that give us instant relief are usually the exact ones that create future problems and put us in the same or worse mental state.

A lot of people, when they develop mental patterns of seeking instant relief, often consume junk like alcohol without realizing its consequences.

We must raise our awareness and notice what is happening in our minds so that we can make the best decisions in our low mood.

Remember that every time you give in to your urges during a low mood, you give up your power and lose your ability to think critically to some extent.

In the field of psychology, we call this bias.

When you are biased, you are less aware and are more inclined to think or act in a certain way.

There are so many biases, like overgeneralization, black-and-white thinking, ego-centric thinking, etc.

Understanding our emotions is thus very important so that we don’t lose our ability to reason. Because it’s the hardest to reason properly when you are not feeling good.

Biases are tricky because they make us believe that we are solving the problem, when in reality, they make the problem worse.

Most people fail to acknowledge these mental biases on a daily basis.

For example, we may think that only a low mood is the problem. However, even in high emotional states when we are too happy, we can still make bad decisions.

We are all prone to such biases that are so hard to spot.

The only solution is to grow our understanding of them as much as possible.

Lesson #2: To manage your emotions well, learn to control the space between your urge and action.

The good thing is that we are not helpless.

We just need to understand that just because we feel all kinds of urges during the day, it doesn’t mean that we must act on all of them.

Let me explain.

Whatever we do and believe throughout our entire day affects our mood.

We can’t control our thoughts, but we can control what we do after they come.

And letting yourself loose is the last thing we should do.

When we let loose, our awareness level drops.

The brain goes on autopilot once we let loose.

And when we keep letting loose and make it a habit, it becomes very difficult to do things that we don’t want to do. Things that require patience and persistence.

It’s a power game here.

Either your emotions have power over you or you have power over them.

When your emotions have more power over you than you have over them, you just do what you feel like you should at the moment.

The wise thing to do is to distance ourselves from our thoughts and emotions.

When we take a step back, our emotions lose some power over us.

We get the time to decide our response.

We get to create a space between the urge and the action.

You might be surprised to know this, but how much you believe in your thoughts and how much you take your emotions seriously determines how much power they have over you and your actions.

It’s not easy to step back and observe your emotions. It requires mindfulness, and it all comes with practice.

So don’t get discouraged or feel helpless if you fail to do so and find yourself giving in to the urges in your mind.

You should be motivated to learn about mindfulness because it’s a superpower.

You can literally turn your bad days into better days if you are very mindful of your thoughts, because half of the problem is knowing the problem.

You can choose how you want to feel if you are mindful.

Lesson #3: When you stop letting other people’s opinions mess with your head, you become mentally strong, and that’s where true confidence comes from.

Believe it or not, a part of us wants to seek approval from other people.

We feel happy when other people appreciate our efforts.

But, you know, life isn’t always as we expect it to be.

Some people will keep negative opinions about you even if you are a great person who never wishes anything bad for anyone.

People tend to get insecure and jealous when they see that you are doing better than them.

We must not confuse opinions with facts.

All of us think differently based on the different experiences we all go through.

So just because we see something positively, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person will also see it positively.

A lot of people start people-pleasing in order to receive appreciation or approval from other people. And when they don’t get it, they lower their self-worth.

The truth is that people-pleasing behavior works against us. Those who engage in it only end up lowering their self-confidence.

You can never please everyone if you are a real person.

We want approval from other people because we want to avoid emotions like shame, guilt, or simply the feeling of rejection.

So to avoid those bad emotions, we subconsciously start doing things that would impress other people. Consequently, we lose track of what makes us happy.

Learning how to handle shame, guilt, and anger is a life skill.

Sometimes, you have to be ready to face rejections and be laughed at or criticized for doing something new that other people aren’t capable of thinking about.

Criticism isn’t always a bad thing, though.

We must use criticism as feedback.

We run away from criticism because it hurts. But we forget that what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.

You can’t reach this level if you don’t have a clear understanding of what you stand for. All of us should be self-aware of our opinions and values.

Also, just because we value some opinions doesn’t mean we have to become egocentric.

Don’t fall into the trap of egocentric thinking. It’s good to have opinions, but don’t be too rigid if you find that they are wrong.

Remember, our goal is to become a better person who is capable of handling adversities. The goal isn’t to become an egocentric person who thinks that they are superior to everybody else and causes havoc in the world.

Lesson #4: The best way to avoid anxiety is to face our fears.

Anxiety makes us all uncomfortable, so we try to avoid any situation that might cause it.

We use escape and avoidance as coping mechanisms.

It gives us some short-term relief, but guess what happens in the long term?

We develop a habit to avoid challenges and hardships.

We become weak.

Every time we go through a bad experience, we take feedback from it, and if it’s negative, we remember it and use it while making future decisions.

The brain is constantly getting feedback through our emotions and actions.

When we avoid challenges, we give our brain the evidence that we are not strong. In other words, we develop an evidence that we are weaker than our situations.

As a result, we convince ourselves that it’s better for us to play it safe every time there is a challenge.

For example, so many people avoid social situations because they fear being judged by other people.

These kinds of fears create anxiety.

As soon as you step out, you worry that everybody is watching you and making bad opinions about you based on how you look or what you are wearing.

Such thoughts make people feel anxious, so they slowly start avoiding social situations.

But the only solution to such problems is to face them as much as possible.

If you regularly feel uncomfortable around people, the only solution is to put yourself out there in social situations.

This is just one example of how our fears can be overcome by embracing uncomfortable feelings.

The more we run away from problems, the more fears and insecurities we develop in our minds.

Prove yourself with your actions.

You can’t get over your anxiety and fears with inaction or by simply hoping they will go away.

Some people have serious anxiety problems, and sometimes they might require techniques to handle anxiety in the present moment.

Many people think that anxiety shouldn’t exist at all. However, this isn’t going to happen.

Anxiety happens because the body wants to protect itself, so it starts showing us all kinds of worst-case scenarios when you are close to any potential threat.

Lesson #5: Life loses its excitement and meaning when you have no purpose or core values in life.

So many people think that they just need to be happy. But this is far from the truth.

To live a fulfilling life, you must live a life of meaning.

Where does the meaning come from?

It comes from your core values.

Have you decided on your core values? Probably not.

Most people just waste their lives setting random goals based on their feelings. They don’t realize that without value, goals are nothing but distractions.

In short, we must understand what our values are.

In case you don’t understand what “values” you have, just pay attention to how you live your life, which ideas you support, and which principles you stand for.

For instance, many people who live a meaningful life live righteously. They value discipline and consistency. They have high self-awareness. They practice delayed-gratification and don’t give in to random urges.

“Values” isn’t just another boring word that you need to add to your vocabulary.

We all have values, we just have no awareness of them.

The people who you find wasting time have “high mental stimulation” as their core values.

So anything they find mentally stimulating, they are drawn towards it.

Everybody has some kind of core values.

Values are the drivers of our lives. If you don’t know who the driver is, you will definitely crash at some point in your life.

There is no excitement in a meaningless life.

People without any purpose often become nihilistic.

Because even if they engage in high-pleasure activities, they don’t feel happy.

How can a man be happy if he doesn’t know what he wants?

So get clear on your values as you move ahead in your journey of life. Otherwise, life is tough, and it will definitely put you in a hopeless situation.

Just ask yourself, “What will make my life worthwhile?”

Don’t just focus on happiness while answering such questions.

Make sure there are multiple emotions involved, like fear, love, guilt, shame, etc.

Otherwise, your choice will be very biased toward pleasure. And it’s not the best route.

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind Wizbuskout.com

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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