I find it fascinating that when times get tough and we feel stressed we tend to stop doing the things that have the most positive effect on our lives.
I’m stressed, things are bad at work, my future is unknown. My body hurts from all the sitting I’ve been doing. I simply want to stay in bed and curl up with a distracting book until I can’t stand it any longer. For some it’s video games, others, many others it’s sex, drugs or alcohol. We even push the very people we have in our support group away as we take our frustration and anger and direct it at them.
We know better. We know that it feels good to exercise, get massage, meditate, have positive people around us. But we make the choice to surround ourselves, drown our thoughts with what is making us miserable, it’s like we can’t help ourselves. But we can. You can influence what thoughts you pay attention to, you can actually change or stop the thought pattern in mid sentence. Amazingly you can even take control of what you feel and choose to feel something else. At first it may feel like you are pretending, but the truth is the brain and the body don’t really make a distinction between a made up or imagined feeling with intensity or a feeling that just happens to drop in on your thoughts.
When we are upset, our body creates hormones that reflect the state of our minds. When we are feeling stressed our body produces cortisol and ramps up our production of adrenalin. When we connect to happy thoughts and memories we automatically start producing endorphines which is very similar to taking opiates.
How about a solution or two?
There is a good 2007 study by James A. Blumenthal, Ph.D. that shows that regular exercise, 30 minutes/ three times a week is as effective as taking antidepressants and comes without the many side effects and risks associated with many of the drug of choice. In this case it was Zoloft (setraline)
The secret here is to ask the right question. hint: it’s not what or why am I feeling this. The million dollar question is: What do I want to feel right now? Listen to the answer and then find that feeling, expand it, double it; double it again, breathe it in…
When I or one of my client’s are feeling overwhelmed with negative thoughts I choose to use EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) There are few techniques that can make such a quick, dramatic turn around as this simple meridian tapping technique.