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You know the feeling of dread in the mornings, or that uncomfortable tension in your stomach, chest, shoulders, or head that accompanies many of life’s activities. Life feels hard, but does it have to be?
For over a decade, I suffered with crippling anxiety and depression. I felt like there was something wrong with this world I was living in, like I didn’t belong here. I felt that people judged me everywhere I went. I never felt good enough to be happy and successful in life. I almost lost all hope for a better life…
While on the verge of suicide, my life took a dramatic turn. I looked my miserable self in the mirror and asked, “Why me? If there is a God, I ask you for help. Please show me why my life is such a mess. Please show me a way out of this. I’ll do anything. Just show me the way…”
That moment of deep humility and surrender changed everything for me. No longer was I blinded by my pride. I was suddenly completely open to anything that could help me. This is when the real solutions began to present themselves…
Here are the 4 steps life told me to take, the 4 steps that healed me and now allow me to live a mostly stress-free life full of many blessings.
1. Turn WITHIN for Causes and Solutions and Take Responsibility for What is Felt (But Avoid Blame)
What’s the first thing we often do when we feel upset? We look for someone or something to blame, don’t we?
It’s my partner’s fault. It’s my parent’s fault. It’s my boss’s fault. It’s my child’s fault. It’s my lack of money, my lack of a social life, my lack of success, these are the reasons why I’m stressed.
But blame gives away our power and guarantees that we will not heal what needs to be healed within ourselves. It keeps problems alive and keeps solutions hidden from awareness.Blaming gives away our power, keeps problems alive, and keeps solutions hidden from our awareness.Click To Tweet
What’s equally destructive is self-blame. This is on the opposite end of the spectrum but no better of a solution. We need to have compassion for ourselves on this journey.
How to Take Responsibility For Our Lives Without Being Hard On Ourselves
First, see that everyone on this planet is doing the best they can in each moment given their current knowledge, understanding, and awareness. Mistakes are only realized in hindsight, and since we cannot re-do the past, it is useless to feel guilty or resentful about what has been done.
Taking responsibility is different from blaming ourselves. Taking responsibility simply means to understand that we have made certain choices in our lives that have led to certain outcomes. We can witness this fact peacefully without placing judgment or blame.
The Realization That Began to Free Me From My Anxiety, Stress, and Depression
The first thing that began to free me from my endless anxiety and stress was the awareness that it was the thoughts and feelings I was nurturing within my own body and mind that was creating my perception of the world.
In other words, I realized that it wasn’t the world around me that needed to change before I could be at peace. It was my attitude and perspective on things that was the real problem. As my attitude changed, so did the appearance of the world around me.
What Color Lens Are You Looking Through?
Think of it like wearing colored sunglasses. If we hold fearful thoughts and beliefs within ourselves, it will create a certain color of lens, which will alter the appearance of everything we see. If we look at white snow with a red colored lens, it will appear red. Everything will appear to be tinted with red.So when we look at the world with fear or anger or resentment or judgment within our own mind, then everywhere we look we will see reasons to be that way. The external world will reflect our internal beliefs. We will look for and find whatever is in alignment with our own beliefs and feelings.
The angry person finds plenty of reasons to be angry. The fearful person finds plenty of reasons to be fearful.
But what happens if you change the lens through which you see?
What happens if you try on a lens of positivity? A lens of hope? A lens of optimism? A lens of cheer and goodwill towards others?
As you change the lens through which you see, the whole world changes, because YOU create the world you see!
But how exactly do we create a new lens? Maybe you really want to be positive and hopeful and optimistic but you can’t seem to be that way no matter how hard you try…
Well, you solution lies in the next 2 steps…
2. Practice the Art of Continuous Self-Observation and Awareness
We are mostly creatures of habit. We think and feel the things we do because that’s what we’ve habitually done for many years. For example, most adults who have low self-esteem also had low self-esteem as a child.
To break the habit of negative thoughts and feelings, we first have to become AWARE of when these thoughts and feelings are triggered.
If every time you feel uncomfortable you go into blame mode, or you go watch television or eat junk food to distract yourself, you are practicing avoidance or denial, the opposite of self-awareness. This provides a temporary relief but guarantees the emotions you wish to be rid of will remain alive and well…
Believe it or not, you can get rid of 99% of anxiety and stress and keep it from ever coming back. You can live 99% of your life as a happy, joyous, peaceful human being.
But you can’t do it without a high level of self-awareness because self-awareness is the first essential step to creating a new habit and way of being.
Use Self-Awareness Triggers to Master the Art of Self-Awareness and Train Your Mind to Be Happy and Optimistic
“Self-Awareness Triggers” are little reminders to keep you turning within and asking the deeper questions like, “What am I thinking or feeling right now and is this thought or feeling serving my highest good?”
An example of a self-awareness trigger might be a sticky note that you place on your refrigerator or your bathroom mirror. You don’t even have to write anything on it, but you could write a positive or inspirational quote on it if you wish. The primary purpose of this is to just get you to STOP and pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that are driving your behavior in that moment.
Once you are triggered to STOP and become aware, you have access to the power of the present moment, the moment in which you can make a different choice than the usual…
You can now break the pattern and go in a new direction. You can close the fridge and not eat that piece of cake that you know won’t serve you. You can stop that train of judgmental thoughts and choose a loving thought instead…
Every present moment is a moment for you to create a new destiny, but only when you are AWARE of your power to choose rather than being driven by old habits.
Examples of self-awareness triggers:
- An alarm on your phone that goes off once per hour that reminds you to choose a positive perspective.
- A small object that you carry in your pocket that reminds you to be positive and present every time you touch or think of it.
- A small notecard that you place on the dashboard of your car that reminds you to think differently every time you sit down in your vehicle.
Get creative. Place as many “self-awareness triggers” around your environment as you can. The more times you are reminded to be present and own your power of choice, the better.
Now that we have a simple but powerful tool to help us be more aware of the thoughts and feelings we’re thinking and feeling, we can harness the power of another technique to help us experience deeper and deeper peace, joy, and contentment in our lives…
3. Practice the Art of Surrender
There are 3 primary ways that we as humans deal with our unpleasant emotions. They are:
This is a way of temporarily relieving the discomfort of an emotion by pushing it down and out of conscious awareness. We then ignore the tension this causes by distracting ourselves with television, food, socializing, or a number of other distractions.
During suppression, emotional energy is pushed into the body’s musculature and nervous system, leading to habitual muscle tightness, headaches, soreness, and eventually more serious disease. There is a constant sense of fear and anxiety due to the emotional energy that is trapped within the body.
This can lead to the following method of handling emotions, which is not just destructive to oneself but others as well…
This is where we express the emotion through our words and/or actions. Often, the buildup of tension that accompanies emotional suppression leads to eventual expression, which is often destructive, especially in regard to personal relationships.
Expression brings a temporary relief but only enough to the point where the rest of the emotional energy can be suppressed out of awareness, leading to a never-ending vicious cycle where emotional energy is built up until the point when it must be expressed or acted out, usually to the detriment of self and others.
This is where we refuse to acknowledge a negative feeling as our own and instead blame other people, events, or circumstances. We say “they” are the cause of my unhappiness.
This lack of personal responsibility guarantees that one remains a victim of the world around them, subject to never-ending emotional triggers that are used as justification for one’s negative feelings and perspectives.
The 4th Way…
This little-known method is the ONLY way to escape the vicious cycles mentioned above and get rid of negative thoughts and emotions PERMANENTLY.
Unlike the first 3 methods, the method of “surrender” does not involve “doing” anything with the emotions that are experienced. It is more like an acceptance of the feelings and a willingness to experience them through rather than fighting against them or trying to change or distract ourselves from them.
This seems counter-intuitive, but it works amazingly well for one reason: this method allows the emotional energy to be RELEASED from the body and mind. So while the initial experience may be unpleasant, the result of the method is the full release of the emotional energy, leading to deep feelings of inner peace and contentment.
Here’s a brief overview of how to surrender an emotion…
Step 1. Own the emotion as your own and do not blame anyone or anything for it. Simply recognize it, be aware of it, and avoid judging it or placing a mental meaning on it. Pay attention to the feeling, not the thoughts about the feeling.
Step 2. Completely accept the feeling and tell yourself that you are willing to just feel it fully without labeling it or trying to do anything about it. Become friends with the feeling and allow it to be there.
This seems crazy to many people. They say, “Why should I accept something I want to be rid of?” To that I would say:
Because fighting against your emotions and trying to change them is what has kept them alive all your life. Doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result is insanity. Why not try the opposite and see what happens?
Step 3. Continue accepting and feeling the emotion without trying to change it until the energy has dissipated and you feel calm and peaceful.
Note: you may have to do this several times, sometimes even for months or years, before all the negative emotional energy is gone and you experience only happiness in its place.
We have spent years pushing our emotions down, ignoring them, distracting ourselves from them, so undoing all this can’t be expected to be accomplished in one day. It takes continuous practice, but the journey is self-rewarding. Each day is better than the last, and you feel lighter and lighter, more peaceful and joyous with every emotional release you do.
4. Repeat Until Inner Peace is Constant
No one became a master in a day. To truly receive the benefits of the information presented here in this article, you have to take ACTION and APPLY what you learned.
Please, don’t just leave this page and go onto the next piece of information without having seriously applied the knowledge presented here today.
For about 5 years, I read self-help book after self-help book, looking for solutions. I read over 500 books, and yet I felt just as unhappy as the day I started reading them…
It wasn’t until I dedicated myself to daily practice of the things I was learning that major changes began happening. Knowledge is not enough. We have to go from “thinking” to “doing” to “becoming”…Click To Tweet
And the amazing thing is that when we do all the hard work required to master ourselves, we reach a point of “effortless” success and happiness. We reach a point where our new state of consciousness is a HABIT and we just feel good for no reason at all!
It’s worth taking this journey! Consider allowing me to be your guide. Sign up for the FREE “Stressed to Blessed” training series below and I’ll send you tons of helpful information over the coming days and weeks.