June 15, 2011
Navigating Your Mind:
New Book Reveals How Changing Our Brain Processes Can Lead to Happiness
Kristopher Walton, long-time clinical social worker and psychotherapist, knows from personal experiences and the many clients he has seen in his practice, that life is filled with losses, not just in terms of losing loved ones to death, but also broken relationships, lost jobs, miscommunication with others, and multiple other disappointments. That said, Walton firmly believes, based on scientific fact, that our experiences are colored by how we choose to think about and react to the painful events we have, shaping our present and future.
While much of the material Walton discusses in terms of pain, dysfunctional relationships, and addictions was familiar to me, I found plenty here to think about. I had not realized before how people commit self-harm in so many ways, not just through drugs and alcohol, but allowing themselves to disappear into fantasy worlds of television, video games, and pornography. I was also fascinated by the scary psychology behind people physically cutting and burning themselves. I found all this information interesting, but most of all, I found the stories moving and inspiring. Walton provides numerous examples, based on fictionalized accounts of clients he has seen, to back up his points. The stories, not only of the pain these people have endured, but much more so, the successes they experienced, are enough to make anyone believe we can change our lives and our thoughts.
Far more than another book about positive thinking, “Navigating Your Mind” goes in-depth, with easy-to-read explanations, into the scientific evidence for brain neuroplasticity—how we can bring about our own changes in our thought-patterns, thereby changing our lives and our outcomes. He provides numerous processes that apply this scientific evidence to individual situations, realizing no one process will work for everyone. While I cannot go into all of these processes, I will briefly state that I think the “Walk in the Wilderness with God” process sounds like a true yet believable miracle the way it can revolutionize a person’s views of life. Also notable is the “10 Percent Process,” which guides us through how to process pain we have “emotionally constipated” from our pasts, allowing us to overcome fear and past painful events that we previously thought if we tried to face would destroy us; instead we allow ourselves to bear the pain to the point we think we can stand it, and then stand it just 10 percent more. Over time, we grow strong enough to bear, process, and move past all of that pain.
Of all the great information in “Navigating Your Mind,” the chapter on Relationship Testing may be the most valuable, and it’s definitely one that needs to be read by everyone. People can save themselves years of pain and misery in dating and trying to work out disagreements with their partners if they follow the steps in the Relationship Testing Pyramid that Walton presents. He cautions against jumping into sex with a prospective life-partner and first building respect and trust. He also shows why we need to communicate what we want in the relationship right from the beginning:
Throughout the relationship, tell the other person what you want in the relationship, and let that person know that if he or she cannot live up to your needs, the relationship will end. That does not mean you are trying to control the relationship by giving an ultimatum. It means you are upfront and honest about what you want, and you expect the other person to be the same. For example, if you’re a woman who wants to have a baby, you need to let the man know you want children and you expect him to work hard to get and keep a good job so he is able to support the family. If he doesn’t want children, don’t waste your time trying to change his mind. Do you really want a man who doesn’t want to be a father as the father to your children?
This practical advice is expressed throughout the book on a common-sense yet caring level.
Another aspect of the book I appreciated was the section on how to find a good therapist. Walton makes it clear that therapy is not about just talking to someone but about moving forward. A therapist is not someone you should go to see regularly for twenty years, but someone who can in a reasonable timeframe help you move past whatever fears, pain, or losses are holding you back so you can set goals and move forward.
With his years of experience, and his stated life purpose to help people move from pain to peace in their minds, joy in their hearts, and happiness in their families and their lives, Kristopher Walton is definitely the captain you want for your ship as you navigate your mind. Plenty of testimonials from Walton’s former clients are included in the book that make it clear what an effective practice he has, and it is a blessing that he now has shared his experiences with a wider audience through this book. I highly recommend “Navigating Your Mind” as a book whose message will stick with you, changing the course of your life, and serving as your compass whether life’s waters are rough or you have smooth sailing.
For more information about Kristopher Walton and “Navigating Your Mind,” visit www.NavigatingYourMind.com.
— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and author of the award-winning Narrow Lives
Superior Book Productions • 1202 Pine Street
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