Self-help program introduction | Wellspring Counselling Inc.

Getting Started with self-help program

The purpose of this self-help program is to assist you in cultivating greater meaning, structure, happiness, confidence, and peace of mind in life. Before engaging in the knowledge and exercises provided, consult with your mental health and medical professionals. This program should only be undertaken under the guidance of a mental health professional. Avoid reading or listening to this program while driving or participating in activities that require your full attention or could lead to injury or damage.

This self-help program series consists of several sections. First, you will be introduced to a brief and practical tour of the mind and nervous system, including the brain, as the mind reflects the functioning of the nervous system. You will then learn how to implement the tools and exercises. Contrary to popular belief, working with the mind is more about fostering growth indirectly rather than directly manipulating it. This is due to the primacy of language and our logical focus on dealing with external physical problems.

Our natural inclination towards this logical focus is understandable as addressing immediate physical problems is vital for survival. Nevertheless, happiness, meaning, and fulfillment are also important, even though they may not have evolutionary precedence. We may not have had the opportunity to develop the knowledge or learn from someone how to work with our mind and nervous system.

You will then learn how to consciously direct the formation of implicit memory, which is the unconscious sensory-motor, somatic (bodily), and emotional memory created from life experiences. These subconscious memories shape how we interpret the world, affecting our mood, self-worth, stress levels, and relationships. These unconscious memories significantly influence our automatic thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Stress management is crucial for maintaining mental health, as a balance of mild-to-moderate stress is necessary for effective change and overall mental health. Subsequently, you will learn how to counteract the brain’s natural negativity bias and generalizing tendency by identifying and fostering core emotional needs, such as safety, satisfaction, connection, and meaning, to build resilience from the bottom up.

After addressing these core needs, you will explore methods to foster greater wholeness of mind through reflecting on your existential importance, developing constructive relationships, forming communities and finding mentors, meditation, contemplation, ethical dilemma navigation, wisdom development, and daily living precepts.

Throughout the process of change and transformation, you may encounter mild-to-moderate psychological obstacles, such as lack of motivation or fear of failure. It is essential to address these challenges before tackling deeper implicit memory issues. Self-discovery and exploration can then help you identify your values and goals, separate from what you may have internalized during your upbringing.

Finally, you will learn how to explore, identify, and change unconscious implicit memories to create or modify maladaptive memories from early experiences that continue to negatively affect your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and relationships.

This self-help program aims to guide you on your journey towards greater happiness, meaning, and connection with others. Best wishes on your journey.

How to Use this Self-Help Program Series

Real change comes from small, frequent, and consistent efforts over time, a concept called “Kaizen” in Japanese. Although challenges may arise, this program is designed to be enjoyable and provide greater calm and meaning in life. Pursue change in a balanced manner, considering your emotional and physical boundaries. Optimal and sustainable self-development requires a balance of effort, rest, and enjoyment.

Ideally, practice at least one exercise per day from this self-help program, as long as it aligns with a balanced and sustainable approach for you. If your life is particularly chaotic, any amount of engagement can still contribute to resilience and positive influence. Stay fluid and adaptable.

Begin with the first section of the self-help program series and proceed sequentially, as each section builds a foundation for subsequent knowledge and interventions. For example, it is crucial to learn stress management before delving into uncomfortable thoughts and emotions. Similarly, you must build emotional resilience and counter the negativity bias and generalizing tendencies of subcortical brain networks before repairing maladaptive beliefs. If sufficient affect regulation is not developed first, the turmoil from more basic and powerful lower brain regions and circuits will impede the effectiveness of interventions.

Approach each major section of the series sequentially (e.g., stress management, resilience, wholeness, self-discovery, exploration, individuation, perspective, and problem-solving) and in concert with each other, as they all reflect the domains of human experience and functioning. Each section serves as a foundation for the next and influences the others due to their interconnected nature, making all sections necessary for self-development.

Most sections involve an experiential component, meaning you will engage in actions and contexts (real or imagined). This is important because new learning encodes in the memory systems associated with the type of experiences in which you are engaged, activating the same systems needed to form a new way of being.

It is recommended that you read through the entire self-help program series first while sequentially completing the provided exercises. This will help you form procedural memory of the techniques and familiarize yourself with the overall approach to self-development. By following this structure, you will optimize your journey towards greater happiness, meaning, and connection in life.

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