Much of our stress is caused by the difference between ‘what is’ and ‘what we think should be’. We can become critical or judgemental when people or events don’t play out the way we assume they should. Worrying about tomorrow deprives us of the joy we have today. Have you ever wanted something so much only be become bored with it shortly after you obtain it? We want a lovely little cottage, then we want a bigger cottage, then we want a bigger home again. It can appear that we only get joy from that which is just out of our reach, but lose interest when it becomes ours. Often this is a symptom of the thought process where we believe that obtaining a certain item or person will make us happy. This ‘thought process’ is one that will never bring us happiness because happiness is always one step away. We think that if we just had more money, or a better relationship, that it would bring us the happiness and contentment that seems to elude us.
It is not about what we want to have, but it is all about how we want to feel. Pursuing things is a way for our mind to put the onus for our happiness on another person or another purchase and NOT on making us responsible for our own happiness. Instead of thinking…if I only had a really good paying job, I’d be happy and content….we need to think, what I really want is to feel secure and loved. If you can’t find security and love within yourself, no one or no thing will ‘give’ it to you.
Even in our big house with our perfect partner we still worry about what might happen, we worry about our children, our grandchildren, our friends, our family and all the ‘breaking new’ the media provides for us. What we WANT is contentment and peace, and there is nothing we can buy to give it to us, it must come from within.
It is not about what we have, it is about how we feel. Remember, our feelings and thereby our emotions are NOT caused by what happens, but by how we perceive, interpret and react to what happens. A wild fire in the forest is nature’s way of clearing the old away to make room for the new growth, it is not good or bad, it just is…but when humanity builds homes and resorts in that forest, the wild fire is now a threat and we see it as a terrible or bad thing. Our perception is created by how we are involved in what happens because it is that involvement that creates our emotions.
So…how do you want to feel? When you wake up in the morning or when you awake during the night…how do you want to feel?
Being out of control is a common fear for most of us. If we could just control the people and situations in our lives we could relax and be happy. When we feel out of control, the negatives begin to set in… anxiety, heart palpitations and addictive behaviours as examples. An interesting note is that we often think of ‘addictive behaviours' as negatives such as drinking, smoking, drugs, aimlessly scrolling social media and spending money shopping, but cleaning, cooking and exercising can also be addictive behaviours. ANYTHING we do for the sake of numbing our anxious thoughts can be an addiction. Addictive behaviours keep our mind occupied to prevent our unconscious fears from surfacing.
Practicing mindfulness brings peace by reinforcing objectivity and perspective to our mind. Yoga and meditation activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for our rest and restore mode. Fear causes the heart to race, adrenaline to pump, temperature to increases, mind to race and breath is fast and shallow. We want to change this pattern. Instead of the feeling causing the mind and body reactions, we want the physical reactions to invoke the feeling we want. Simply this, we will slow the breath, calm the mind, relax the body, and slow the heart rate to trigger the body into relaxation mode. When this occurs, we feel safe, secure, warm, calm, relaxed and peaceful.
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