If you feel that past issues affect how you feel and behave currently then you have a few options; To seek the services of a Psychologist , talk to your church minister or undergo hypnosis to uncover and understand the source of your feelings and behaviour to name but a few.
Current issues where you can often find yourself in situations, over which you seemingly have no control, include the threat of job loss, suffering grief through death or divorce, relationship difficulties, financial worries or illness. These current issues can lead you to predict or worry about the future. Unfortunately physical and emotional pain is part of the human experience; It is inevitable. Suffering, however, is optional. You can increase or compound the effects of what is happening by your attitude towards the situation how you choose to be in a relationship with it makes all the difference.
When we are bored, engaging in mundane tasks and are living on “auto pilot” our mind has a life of it’s own. It goes on…………………. and on…………………………. and on……………………….. telling itself stories – living in the past; remembering, regretting, blaming, feeling guilty. Or living in the future; predicting, worrying. This is a very unhealthy way of being as the stress response is triggered . When this happens we change our physiology because our mind and body are connected, whatever happens in the mind is mirrored in the body. When the stress response is triggered it changes the structure of our brain as creativity is impeded and suppresses our immune system. Continued on-going stress causes life threatening illnesses such as heart disease, cancer and hypertension.
We don’t have to pay attention to those stories that run through the landscape of our minds and we can even challenge them and ask ourselves “is this true?” When we stop allowing our minds to run amok and choose what we think then we choose our attitude and thus our feelings and behaviour.
For example, let’s say you have lost your job or business – you lose your fancy home and have to drastically downgrade your lifestyle; taking your children out of private school, getting rid of the fancy car, and living in a smaller home.
You can say various things to yourself at this point such as “I am a failure/I will never amount to anything/ it’s true what my teachers always told me”.
How do you think this internal dialogue would make you feel and behave? You might blame someone else; feel guilty, angry and revengeful. All of these emotions limit you and triggers the stress response which, remember impedes creativity.
Suppose, on the other hand, you said to yourself “This loss has given me the opportunity to now do something I have always wanted to do but did not have the courage to do/I do not have to stay in a business or job that I hate simply to fund the lifestyle”. This kind of thinking opens up possibilities.
If you have a physical challenge such as chronic back pain or disease and you tell yourself “my life is over” then you are closing down options for the present and the future and you become trapped in depression. If you accept the discomfort or illness then the story is no longer, small, limited and inflexible and it gives you a broader perspective which can admit more possibilities.
Acceptance is something that is often misunderstood as many people think it means that whatever happens then we must just accept how things are and be passive. It rather means realizing how things are and finding ways to be in wise relationship with them and to take appropriate action with clarity and vision.
Clearly whatever is going on in your life would be easier to deal with by keeping stress at bay. You can do this in a number of ways:-
- engaging in regular exercise, be it at the gym, dancing or even physical tasks such as gardening or housework
- Mindfulness based meditation – this will teach you to become aware, of your thoughts, feelings and thus your behaviour and you can choose to change
- Self-hypnosis – due to the mind/body connection, through visualization and suggestion you can change your patterns of thoughts. Hypnosis is a wonderful relaxing tool as it elicits the release of endorphins, which are your feel-good hormones. Whilst endorphins are flowing there are no stress hormones!
- Practice belly-breathing
The above practices will increase your baseline clarity and enhance creativity so that you can more easily recognise those things that you cannot change and those that you can change. This is a good starting point to identify options.
Those things that can be changed could be addressed by asking yourself some questions. This is particularly useful when you are experiencing hesitation, confusion and frustration.
Some useful questions that you could ask yourself are:-
- What will happen if I do this?
- What will happen if I don’t?
- What will I gain?
- What will I lose?
- What can I do differently to get a new and better result?
- What is this current situation telling me?
- How must I respond to this?