DR. WALLACE: My therapist recommended that I repeat positive mantras to myself every morning to boost my self-esteem. Per her advice, I’ve been trying to speak positivity into my life by repeating phrases like, “I am stronger than my problems,” “I am deserving of success” and “Good things will come my way.” I am extremely diligent in saying these mantras aloud to myself every morning, but they do not seem to be working. Do you have any idea as to why this is the case so far? — Seeking Good Results, via email
SEEKING GOOD RESULTS: Repeating positive mantras can shift our thoughts in a more productive direction, but changing our thoughts alone is not enough. What most people do not realize is that our thoughts, emotions and behaviors are connected and intertwined to the point that each has a strong influence over the others. Therefore, in order for you to make lasting changes in your life, it is necessary for your thoughts, emotions and behaviors to be in sync.
With this in mind, I would recommend taking a good, hard look at your habits and behaviors. Are they aligned with the mantras you are repeating? Are you actively, consistently working toward success? Do you do whatever it takes to overcome your problems and create positive outcomes in your life? Mantras sound nice on paper, but they mean nothing if they are not backed by action and commitment. No one is capable of merely speaking change into existence — change must be created.
It is not my intention to discourage you from using positive mantras to boost your self-esteem, but I would like to point out that they are of little value if they are not actively pursued. Controlling thoughts and emotions is an almost impossible undertaking. Try instead to work on controlling your habits and behavior, and watch how doing so inevitably changes your thoughts and feelings for the better.
DRIVING TIPS FOR TEENS AND PARENTS
TEENS: When the time comes for you to learn how to drive, it’s always helpful to consider some tips that might be overlooked in the zeal to get behind the wheel. This week marks National Teen Driver Safety Week, which runs Oct. 17 through Oct. 23.
Here are some useful tips for you and your parents:
— Begin by making sure any car you drive is safe and road-ready. This includes checking all taillights, turn signals and headlights to be sure they are working properly. Also check to be sure the correct air pressure is in all tires plus the spare.
— As a parent, make sure you take driving very seriously and always set a good example for your teen. Drive with your teen the exact way you want your teen to drive. Remember, your child will emulate your habits, good and bad!
— Make sure the entire car area is distraction-free. All phones should be on “do not disturb” mode. It’s imperative to eliminate any and all temptations to answer a text or phone call during the drive.
— Never drive impaired, and this goes beyond alcohol. Do not drive after consuming marijuana or any other impairing substances.
— Be sure to buckle up on each and every trip, no matter how short. Parents should set this example for their teens by always being certain that every passenger in the vehicle has their seatbelts fastened before the ignition is started.
— Remember that driving is a privilege and should be treated as such. Rules must be followed, and it’s extremely important to concentrate on the task at hand and avoid becoming distracted. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of automobile accidents.
This important week is dedicated to raising awareness and preventing teen death and injuries while driving. For more information, visit www.trafficsafety.gov.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.