Byron Katie’s Four Questions

Caitlin Flanagan writes:

All the suffering that goes on inside our minds is not reality, says Byron Katie. It’s just a story we torture ourselves with. She has a simple, completely replicable system for freeing ourselves of the thoughts that make us suffer. “All war begins on paper,” she explains. You write down your stressful thoughts, and then ask yourself the following four questions: Continue reading

Why Our Thoughts Are Not Real

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Nancy Colier writes:

Did you ever realize that everything going on in your mind — every thought, feeling, sensation, everything you are aware of — is in fact happening only in your private internal world? Your thoughts appear only to you, and are not being heard by anyone else whatsoever. There is one physical world here on earth, but billions of different internal worlds. We are all in our own separate theaters, witnessing entirely different shows, and yet we behave as it we are in the same audience, watching the very same event we call life.

Why is it important to contemplate this truth? To meditate on this is liberating, because it implies that what we are personally living inside our heads is not real. We are aware of our thoughts, so in that sense they are real. And yet, our thoughts do not exist outside of our awareness. There is nowhere else where the thought that is appearing to you at this moment is actually occurring. Unlike the way we imagine it, our thoughts are not solid, like trees or rocks that exist outside of us in some tangible way. Certainly I have never seen a thought walk by me on the street. Where, how and if thoughts even exist within the body is not clear. That thoughts appear to our awareness, on a giant projection screen (to which we are the audience), is all we know.

Let’s say that at this moment you are having a thought about a friend and something specific that she did, and what you want to say to her in response. That friend who you are thinking about is not experiencing your thought (about her) at this moment. If you don’t engage with, or entertain that thought, it will literally not exist. The thought appears only within you. Your friend knows nothing of it. And making it even stranger, you did not even have the thought that you are calling “yours.” Rather, it appeared to and within your awareness, without your ever choosing it or asking it to show up! If that thought is not fueled with your attention or interest, it will already have disappeared.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

The Frustration Situation

Craig Harper shares these thoughts:

Frustration: it affects all of us at some stage. It’s a part of the human experience and it’s an emotion that doesn’t discriminate. We often find ourselves frustrated when things don’t turn out the way we expected or hoped they would or should. More often than not, our frustration is triggered by something (a situation, a conversation, a circumstance, a person, an event) which is beyond our immediate control.

Like that idiot who lives across the road.

Having said that, what is in our control, is our reaction. Like all emotions, frustration is a personal response to something that’s happening (or not happening, as the case may be) in our world. And while most people believe it’s the external stimulus that produces our internal response, in reality, our frustration is self-created. The challenge is not to overcome frustration (as such) but rather, to learn to manage it as opposed to being managed by it.

So, having worked with the frustrated multitudes for years, I thought I’d share a few suggestions that you might find helpful.

1. Don’t Try to Change People. Trying to change others (we’ve all done it) is an exercise in frustration and, at times, disconnection and aggravation. Giving people unwanted advice, direction or feedback (no matter how well-intended) will invariably end in tears. Either literally or metaphorically. Keep in mind that unwanted input or commentary is typically interpreted as criticism.

2. Stop Wasting Your Emotional Energy. Control what you can and let go of what you can’t. All too often, we invest our emotional energy into things (situations, circumstances, issues) over which we have little or no control. Not surprisingly, sending our blood pressure through the roof while screaming at a sporting event on television (for example) won’t change the outcome. Or the umpire’s stupid decisions. In fact, the only thing it might do is send us to an early grave. Oh, and possibly, annoy the crap out of everyone else within earshot.

3. Stop Juggling. Stop doing fifty things poorly and focus your time and energy on doing the important things well. That is, prioritise. I had to learn this lesson as I once had a propensity to bite off more than I could chew. Many of us simply take on more things than we can do well. Sometimes the answer is to put certain things on hold in order to be able to make progress in other areas. As a rule, over-commitment leads to exhaustion, anxiety and frustration. And eventually, physical illness. So, what’s the best use of your time, skill and energy right now? The answer to that question is your starting point.

4. Stop Aiming for Perfection. Aim for better. Aim for improvement. Aim for growth. Our society’s obsession with perfection has led to unrealistic expectations, unhealthy thinking, mass frustration and disappointment. Of course frustration will be the result when our goal is unattainable. When perfection is the goal, no result will ever be good enough.

5. Be Patient. Stop trying to reinvent yourself by next Tuesday. It took you a long time to get where you are now (practically, financially, emotionally, physically, psychologically, sociologically), so be realistic with your expectations as you work towards creating the new and improved version of you. I’m always amazed by people who have punished their body for decades (with atrocious eating, zero exercise and poor lifestyle habits) who then find a way to be disappointed and frustrated when they don’t look like a supermodel or elite athlete two weeks into their ‘weight-loss kick’. Good grief.

6. Stop Relying on Others to Get You There (wherever there is). It’s great to have support, encouragement and help along the way, but it’s not great to be totally dependant on others to make our dreams a reality. While it’s healthy to be part of a team of people who are all on the same page and all moving in the same direction, it’s still important for us to be functional, productive and effective on our own. Independent and strong. Being totally reliant on someone else (to reach our goals) is an exercise in both frustration and disempowerment.

7. Compare Yourself to Others – with Caution. Comparing ourselves to others rarely results in something positive. It can, but typically, it won’t. Invariably, it will focus our attention on what we don’t have or what we haven’t done and lead to self-pity and/or frustration. Having said that, it can work in our favour when we make it. Comparisons can be a positive when we use the achievements of others with similar attributes, potential and opportunities (to us) as a source of motivation, inspiration, learning and perspective for our own journey.

Now… deep breaths. :)

If you liked this article, subscribe to my blog and get a my FREE eBook, click here: I want a FREE eBook. You can also check out My Best Selling Book, and My Best Selling Video (Trailer).

Source: The Frustration Situation

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Sixteen Strategies for Combating Rumination

Did you know that goats and cows and other animals that chew their cud are called ‘ruminants’? You learn all kinds of thinks living on a farm! Think about that image as you ruminate about rumination!

Conquering ruminative tendencies can make a big difference in your wellbeing.

Shakespeare said, “Nothing is good or bad but thinking makes it so.”  Many great thinkers and philosophers have articulated, in one form or another that altering your thoughts is the key to wellbeing.  Mind Shift, a technique in The Creativity Cure involves transforming self-defeating thoughts into life affirming ones.  It is possible.

When something terrible has happened it is tempting to ruminate. Over-thinking is a way of trying to attain a sense of mastery or a feeling of control when you feel trammeled, helpless or victimized.  There is a tiny hope that you can get somewhere if you just get to the bottom of it.  Accept that trying to understand what happened is often not a good investment of your time. Some people’s actions will never make sense so you will not uncover a satisfying answer. Pondering other subjects rather than ruminating allows your mood can change. Your creative thoughts can emerge.” Get more here: Sixteen Strategies for Combating Rumination | Psychology Today.

Don’t chew the cud of your past! Stop ruminating and move on…

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As a man thinketh…

In the month of September, I’m going to go back and reread James Allen’s classic work “As a man thinketh”. Quotes like this are the reason why:

“A man only begins to be a man when he ceases to whine and revile, and commences to search for the hidden justice which regulates his life. And as he adapts his mind to that regulating factor, he ceases to accuse others as the cause of his condition, and builds himself up in strong and noble thoughts; ceases to kick against circumstances, but begins to use them as aids to his more rapid progress, and as a means of discovering the hidden powers and possibilities within himself.”

Allen, James (2009-10-04). As a Man Thinketh (p. 26). Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.

I need to ‘bathe’ in this kind of thinking every morning. By the way, I almost neglected to mention the book is free for your Kindle or Kindle software and you can download it by clicking the book icon. Go ahead! Feed your soul. Change your life…

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Let It Go: Switching Off Your Inner Chatter

Letting go

Don’t you hate those days where you can’t turn off the negative internal chatter in your head? When you wake up in the morning and the very thing that was circling around in your head the night before is there to greet you with a big nudge, and not even a coffee?

This negative chatter can really impact your productivity throughout the day and ruin your ability to live in the moment. It’s only natural that we worry about circumstances in our lives, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. However, when these thoughts consume our heads to the point where we find it difficult to concentrate on anything else, it’s important you have a coping mechanism in place to try and get you through the day.

When it comes to decluttering the head and letting go of what’s worrying you, we found some really practical tips in 7 Ways To Let Go Of What’s Ailing You. The article explains that while we may not be able to solve the problem on the spot, there are many ways we can try and let it go of it for the time being.

“Letting go doesn’t mean ignoring the problem. It simply means that you realize that there is nothing you can do about the issue right now, and rather than having it consume your life with stress and anxiety you are going to put it aside until you are in a position where you can deal with it.”

One of our favorite tips in the article is the visualization exercise. If you’re not used to visualizing, this may seem a little strange to start off with, however, this method can be very effective as it puts you in a position of control to deal with the problem, even if it’s just in your head. For example:

“Imagine the thing that is bothering you, and then visualize placing it in a balloon and watching it float away.”

You’ll be surprised by how therapeutic this exercise can be and the ability for it to free your mind.

If this method isn’t for you, another helpful tip is to write your thoughts down. If you feel the anxiety building in the morning before you’ve even entered the shower, sit down and freely write your thoughts, paying little attention to the need for it to make sense.

The aim is to release everything from your mind, no matter how illogical your thoughts may seem, and write for as long as it takes to get everything out. You’ll be surprised how easily and quickly the words fall to the page when they come from the heart – it’s almost as if the brain is relieved it has an opportunity to freely unload. Even if writing isn’t your forte, this is a very easy exercise which you can turn into a daily practice.

Do you use a technique to turn off the internal chatter running around in your head? Or perhaps you have several depending how severe the issue is? Tell us about your favorite method and how effective it is at “letting thoughts go”. via Let It Go: Switching Off Your Inner Chatter.

Constantly Feel Good About Yourself Using These 3 Steps

It is important that you feel good about yourself. More and more scientific evidence points towards a significant link between how you feel about yourself and your overall health and sense of well-being. Scientists have proven that feelings of inferiority have the capacity to pave the way to illness or disease. On the other hand, if you feel good about yourself, have a positive outlook, and maintain an active involvement in life, you’re more likely to be happy and healthy.

Our emotional state can be affected by a lot of things the environment we are in, the people we are with, the weather, the food we eat, how much sleep we’ve had, and so on. Feeling insecure, incapable and inadequate once in a while is part of being human, what matters is that you are able to make yourself feel better again.

If you feel as if you are currently in a state wherein you need some help on bolstering your feelings of self-worth, here are some ideas that you may find helpful:

Step 1: Reframe your identity

If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say? What be the first adjectives that you would come out with? Experts say that a person’s self-worth can be assessed by the first five words that he would use to answer this question. If you answer with negative adjectives, then you would need to redefine how you think about yourself. Instead of focusing on the shortfalls in your life, bring to mind things that make you special.

For example, instead of branding yourself as a mere office worker, try looking at yourself as a great Mom or a great Dad. Pride yourself on your greatest achievements instead of highlighting flaws.

Step 2: Challenge negative self-talk

As we go about our daily lives, we constantly think about and interpret every situation that we encounter. It’s like we have this voice inside our head that talks us through everything. Psychologists call this inner voice “self-talk.” How this inner voice talks to us is based on our values, beliefs and our conscious and subconscious thoughts. If your self-talk is mostly negative, you will have a very hard time feeling good about yourself.

To correct negative self-talk, you need to learn to notice it as it happens, and consciously dispute and challenge these negative and irrational thoughts. Ask yourself questions like, “Are my thoughts factual?”, “Is this situation as bad as I am making out to be?” or “What can I do that will help me solve the problem?”. Make it a point to conquer self-defeating thoughts with positive and realistic thinking.

Step 3: Take time for yourself

In this world where everyone and everything seems to be in a rush, most of us don’t make ourselves a priority. Often we focus on catering to the needs of others and on being productive. Although it is good to take care of the people you love and fulfill your responsibilities at home and at work, you should not neglect your responsibility and obligation to yourself.

In the same way that you make others feel good when you take care of them, taking care of yourself will also bring about the same feelings. Make it a point that you allocate a certain amount of time each day for yourself to do things you love. Paying attention to yourself has been proven to improve self-esteem and feelings of self worth.

It is impossible for anyone to feel perfectly happy about who he is for their entire life. We are all bound to feel inferior or insecure every once in a while. Fortunately, our thoughts and feelings are not permanent and there are so many ways to love, accept and feel good about ourselves.” via Constantly Feel Good About Yourself Using These 3 Steps.

Here’s What You Can Do!

Terri Cole has an amazing post over at The Daily Love today. She writes:

Are you wasting your energy, youth and beauty focusing on things you cannot change? Thinking too much about situations where you have no control or experiences that have already happened? Oftentimes we get so wrapped up in what’s happening in the world and political systems, in what the neighbors are doing and in the mistakes we’ve made, that we lose focus on what we CAN DO right here, right now to help make our lives and those around us better.

Focusing on that over which you have no control (the past, the state of the world and the drama of other people’s lives… to name a few) is a common cause of stress. This type of thinking makes us feel powerless, leading to feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and depression, which are all key players in the game of stress. I could go on and on about the myriad of the side effects from stress, but you can check them out for yourself while we focus on what you CAN DO to switch your thinking from what you should have done to what you will do now.

This week, I want to challenge you to pay attention to what thoughts are taking up real estate in your mind. When you are ruminating about people and situations over which you have no control, jot down a quick line about the issue at hand. Over the course of the week, what patterns are you discovering? What is the content of your predominant thoughts? How do they make you feel?

Now make a plan to Do Something. If it’s politics that sets you into a tailspin, volunteer for a political campaign, get to know the issues, VOTE. If it’s an ethical or world issue (e.g. animal welfare, bullying, the environment, researching/living with/preventing/curing a particular disease), volunteer for an organization focusing on that particular agenda.

Now, to the biggie…. How often are you ruminating about the past? When you find yourself living anywhere but in the present moment, ask yourself why you are still holding onto the past incident or regret. Try to break down what really happened. Once you have established the facts around the scenario, dial into what you are meant to learn from the experience and use that information to inform your decisions now.

Remaining in a state of frustrated helplessness takes a toll – physically and emotionally. You can relieve stress and feel more empowered by getting into action. Being part of the solution, instead of stressing about the problem, will contribute to your ability to build a more peaceful and productive life. You have the power to change your life and your perspective. Do not give that power to politicians, lawmakers, your neighbors or anyone else. Most of these people you do not even know, so why be dominated by their choices? And the ones you do know most likely do not want to have power over your thoughts and feelings. Keep your side of the street clean and use your special talents to make life better. Interestingly enough, you will make others’ better in the process.

Share your thoughts and comments with us. Let’s start a rich dialogue with the focus on what is possible rather than what is wrong. I am curious to see what changes you notice physically and mentally when you become aware of your thoughts and flip the script.

I hope you have a meaningful week, filled with positive action, and, as always, take care of you.

Source: Here’s What You Can Do!