The upbeat messages bombard us all the time: “Just think positive,” we’re urged. Or: “You should view the glass as half-full, not half-empty.” If we seem beset with self-doubt, we’re reminded to “just believe in yourself.” I’ve been part of this chorus of cheerfulness; you’ve heard me extol the power of thinking positive as it applies to health and wellness. But that’s OK, right?

A few years ago, “The Secret” (both the book and the DVD) prompted a lot of discussion with its simple message that you attract what you think about. But what if, no matter what you try to do, negative stuff comes into your head? What if you’ve always had a problem staying upbeat?

It is crucial to understand the why behind negative behavior and thoughts. (Even more crucial is how to change; more about that in a moment.) A lot of people believe that if they open up their mind and body, the energy of the universe will, perhaps through osmosis, flow in and bring them all the joy and abundance they need and want. But then they wonder why that’s not happening, and so they automatically revert back to old habits of behavior and thought.

The automatic nature of this pattern does not come from some far-out, esoteric intergalactic force. It originates above your shoulders, in the automatic brain (AB). This brain is real and concrete, and subject to the same kind of cause-and-effect influences as any scientific process. It is the why of self-sabotaging behavior and thought.

Though it may occasionally seem like shameless self-promotion, I often refer in these weekly messages to my book, Brain Drain. Understanding the why behind the drain of the AB, with help from real-life examples, takes about three or four of the book’s chapters—too much for this weekly blog. (To understand it fully, I encourage you to click the link above and order a copy).

To this brain, the challenges we face in life represent dangers, causing the AB to initiate behavior and thoughts designed to get us to fight or flee those dangers. In essence, life itself represents a constant barrage of potential danger, threat, and vulnerability. That barrage triggers self-sabotaging behavior and negative, worst-case-scenario thinking.

So pernicious is this AB that when things start going well for you, you can almost count on some thought popping up that completely sets you back. Why? Because good things signal danger and vulnerability to your AB, triggering it (and you) to fight or flee.

Well, how do we make it stop? My book gives step-by-step details, but it really boils down to one thing: solving problems. I talk a lot about how we self-sabotage good stuff, but what happens to our belief, faith, or self-confidence when actual problems arise. Problems (a.k.a. challenges) are triggers to our AB. They automatically get us to fight (becoming angry or abusive to others, engaging in self-destructive habits, for example) or flee (withdrawing, avoiding, procrastinating, becoming depressed, for example).

We allow our AB to run the show as we fight or flee our problems. But if we were to be honest about a purported problem, our mind would enter the picture, generating assertiveness. Being assertive means seeing our problems for what they are, not through the AB’s reactive prism. The AB’s why blocks our ability to see the how in problem solving and ultimately drains us and prevents us from realizing our true potential or connecting with our higher self and spirituality. You can only imagine what this can do to our physical and mental health!

Solving problems is how we tap into our higher mind. I’ve created a tool called the Glassman Revelation Grid, which reveals the truth behind alleged problems. For instance, if the lack of money represents a problem for you, the first step in assertive, mindful thinking is to take a closer look at your individual strengths and innate abilities (we all have them) to make more money. You can next look at how making money itself may actually represent a danger trigger to you (the revelation grid helps with all of this). But you cannot begin looking at it more deeply until you start solving the problem at hand.

The sooner you believe you can solve your problems and begin doing so, the sooner you build self-confidence, self-love, and belief in the power of your mind, reinforcing it as your gateway to spirituality. Problem solving comes first, though. Start with small ones, and make simple daily goals. The more you develop ways to solve your problems, and hold yourself accountable for your life, the sooner the things that are right for you will come to you. You will then become aware of everything that life offers, and you will gain the ability to love yourself purely, deeply, and authentically.

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 Melanie and their four children (and dog, Ginger).;