What got me started writing these weekly messages was a need expressed by one of my patients. He always felt particularly motivated after meeting with me, but was frustrated that the motivation quickly faded once he was back among the pressures of his life. We came up with the idea of a weekly motivational email, and the rest is history!

As we ride the ebb and flow of life’s circumstance, our mood, outlook, and attitude constantly rise and fall. Many factors influence this ever-present fluctuation—the weather, the seasons, and countless events both in and out of our control. On any given day or week we may be feeling great, motivated, at the top of our game. The next day, the next week, we may find ourselves sluggish, unmotivated, and overwhelmed. We seem to lose steam too easily. As a doctor, I know that these fluctuations can be harmful for our health, as they often bring on self-sabotaging life-style choices. During the downturns we look for ways to get back up, and these tend to be short-term solutions with longer-term consequences. Example: eating sugary sweets to feel good.

What if you’ve had a great day, exciting and full of promise for the future, but you come home to squabbling children, a spouse still mad at you from an earlier argument, or a past-due bill in the mail? What if prayer and worship fill you with inspiration to do good and faith that everything is going to be OK, only to find that your faith and inspiration dissipate later, like the waning tide?

The process of publishing a book is, in my case at least, a good example of this scenario. If a week or two goes by without much in the way of sales, interview requests, or reviews, the danger beacon in the automatic brain (AB) lights up and the wheels of fight-or-flight start to spin. Control of the waxing and waning of belief lies squarely on our shoulders, in our cranium, in the AB. It can seem dangerous to believe that you will always find a way and a way will always find you, when all the evidence from your “real” world points to the opposite. And danger, after all, real or imagined, is all your AB needs to stir up a flurry of fight-or-flight neurologic activity.

Let’s look at another scenario. You had a great day at work, with your boss heaping praise on the work you did in a just-completed project. You can’t wait to share your happy news with your spouse and kids. When you walk in the door, you learn that one of your children got a failing grade on a test, the others are yelling at each other about whatever, and your mortgage payment is just one of a stack of bills sitting on the table. All of this signals your AB that your life, which a few minutes ago seemed in great shape, is plummeting toward future disaster. (The AB, remember, is over-dramatic and always projects into the future.) Gone are your optimism and pride in your achievement at work. Your AB has pulled you down into the real world as it ostensibly tries to protect you from the dangers of the future. If your kid got a bad grade on his test, what will that mean for his future? If your kids are arguing too much, what does that say about the family’s stability? The bills of today won’t get paid by a pat on the back from the boss. You may have come home with your head in the clouds, but your AB has popped up to warn that you could end up destitute in the future. Your AB is always trying to make the future more predictable and hence less dangerous; therefore it defaults to the worst-case scenario, sucks the wind out of your sails, and is the reason why our faith and belief falter.

No weekly message from me would be complete without a reminder to get my book Brain Drain (now also available on Amazon Kindle). In the section “Seven Days to Belief,” I deal with the steps you can take to limit these fluctuations in optimism and motivation. Meditation, which for some is a form of prayer, is a way to connect with your mind, your inner self, (and for me, with my inner guide). The mind as your guide is not subject to the same kind of fluctuations as the AB and is constant. For some, belief in God can allow for faith that they will always find a way and that a way will always find them. And how will that happen? It happens through our most precious gift – our mind. Whether you are a believer or not, the mind holds the key, as I wrote in a previous message, that can lead us to results and success, in essence solving challenges, which further cultivates faith, in our self and abilities.

I want to pass along this observation that a friend shared with me, one he learned from the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh. Do you notice when bad things happen, we tend to talk about them a lot? For instance, suppose your doctor tells you that your tests results could mean you have cancer (not something a doctor should speculate about, in my view; I’ll address that topic in a future message). What do you do with that information? If you tell everyone you meet that day that you might have cancer, what you are doing is forcing yourself to hear the news over and over again. Or suppose someone says something negative about you. Do you tell everyone, “Can you believe he said that about me?” Every time you repeat the nasty comments, you’re forcing yourself to hear, over and over, something negative about yourself. Do you repeatedly beat yourself up about things? “I can’t believe I did that—what an idiot I am!” This kind of disparaging thoughts comes from your AB—feeds it, and keeps you in the safe, comfortable, familiar place—a place that suffocates your mind.

When you become aware of the fluctuations in your desire, passion, and motivation, you begin to recognize how much control your AB has over your life. But once you cultivate and connect with your mind, you see that those things you may have thought were the right things to do just keep you stuck. You must move forward and overcome the efforts of your AB to slow you down with “evidence” of real-world dangers.

I know these things because I live them every day. It’s one reason I write these weekly messages. When my patient a few years ago wanted to stay motivated, I realized that by writing these messages I could also keep myself motivated. It has enabled me to reconnect with my inner potential and power, which I know resides in the mind. My wish is to share my life experience with you so that you also can develop faith and belief in the boundless ability, the enormous power that rests inside of you.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Glassman began distributing a weekly motivational email message to patients and friends in January 2007. By May 2008, his distribution list had grown so much—as people on the list told others about it—
and interest in his messages had become so high—Dr. Glassman decided to turn his philosophy and advice into a book. That’s how Brain Drain came about. Starting in May 2008, his weekly messages—now distributed to an even larger audience—formed the basis for chapters of this book.
To date, Brain Drain has won in the Spiritual category at the 2009 Los Angeles Book Festival and received honorable mention at the 2009 New England Book Festival.

Through his book, private practice, public appearances, continued weekly messages,and Coach MD (medical coaching practice) Dr. Glassman has helped thousands realize a healthier, successful, and more abundant life.

He lives in Rockland County, NY with his wife and their four children (and dog, Ginger).

www.CharlesGlassmanMD.com; www.CharlesGlassmanMDblog.com