Anxiety can strike at any time
for lots of reasons. Sometimes its rooted in trauma in the past, sometimes its
related to a relationship, or some other current circumstance. Or possibly its
related to something oriented in the future.
Its important to remember the
connection between our thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Typically, how we
think has a direct relationship to how we feel, and most often we act in line
with our feelings. For example, if you think someone is angry with you, you
will feel bad (typically) and you might avoid that person or be snappy with
them. And look at the opposite – if you think someone is happy with you, you
will probably feel good around them and want to spend time with them. If you
start to think you are underperforming at work, or have not met expectations,
you may feel anxious and consequently start to avoid work (or work extra
There are exceptions to this
obviously, but it stands as a general rule of relationship between our
thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
Hi everyone How are you today? Are you ok? Its Mental Health Week In WA, running until the 14th October.
So it’s a good time to reflect on where you are at and how you are travelling, and even how those around you are getting on.
Its one of the hardest things sometimes, to realise that we could use a bit of help or support. And the next hardest thing is to talk to our loved ones, friends and connections that maybe they could use a bit of the same. This is a difficult topic and I am so glad that we have these kinds of events to bring it into the public sphere more openly. Continue reading “Good Mental Health in Perth – Its Mental Health Week!”
In our current culture, we have placed a pre-eminent value on knowledge. We believe that if we just know more, if we can fill our minds with the right knowledge, then we will be ok.
In one way, this is correct. Knowledge is power, absolutely. But I have come to believe that there are times when just having more knowledge does not answer the problem set before us.
In times of crisis, when anxiety and other destabilising emotions hit, it often doesn’t matter how much we know. We are in a turbulent sea where the winds are blowing, the waves are high and strong and crashing over us. We can try to think our way out of it, but quite bluntly, it just doesn’t work. We feel tired, worn down, exhausted, and our candle of hope is burning very low.
I think it was Albert Einstein who said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking that created them.” What a profound truth.
The reason for this, I believe, is because when we are in a sea of difficulty, we are actually in a state of physical activation that prevents better thinking. The physical aspect must be addressed. Any emotion that we feel – especially the distressing ones – come with the release of hormones, most likely adrenaline and cortisol (amongst others). These hormones are very real motivating forces in our physical house! Due to the level of activation they cause (i.e. fight or flight response) it can lead to further thinking that really doesn’t help us.
Sometimes we can think ourselves down from the ledge, but often we need to call on our physicality to help us manage strong feeling and right our thinking again.
You could say to me “oh you are just talking about exercise”. In one way it is that simple, but it isn’t just ‘exercise’. Its intentional movement that involves an awareness or connection with the body that respects the body’s involvement in helping us process our lives.
So, for example, I don’t really believe in just ‘going to the gym and belting it out for an hour’. Or setting crazy fitness goals as a means to connect with ourselves physically. These things are important and can add to life satisfaction at times, but that is not what I am suggesting here.
The first step, as I see it, is to develop body awareness. This can as simple as just tuning into the state of your physical house. Feel into your muscles, be aware of your breathing. Is there tension in certain spots? What is the state of your breathing? Is it long and deep, or ragged and shallow? Or are possibly not breathing at all? (This does happen!) If we have injuries, we can often completely shut down to our bodies to shut out the sensation. Can you translate your feeling into a physical sensation? Are there sensations in your stomach?
The way I see it, when thinking becomes our enemy – that is, the times when our minds start telling those stories that cause us pain – our physical house can become our refuge for our awareness. We can often cope better with physical sensation than we can with sharp, painful thoughts. I have found that my muscles are happy to take the weight of strong feeling. But I do this through intentional movement. I allow my awareness to reside in my body, breathing deeply and let the emotions run their course. I like to do this on long walks. Afterwards I find my thinking has cleared and I feel quite differently about things and can think more productively.
So – can you think about intentional movement? You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You can look up stretching on Youtube, or head out for a 30 min walk. The movement doesn’t solve your problems but can give you some relief from the overwhelming sense of them.
Other ways to connect with your physical house can be through massage, acupuncture and aromas. Being out in nature in the sunshine is also a very good tonic.
Your mind isn’t the whole of your being. It is designed to be a servant, not a master.
This is just a small taster on this topic. Just a beginning. Like everything, the journey of 1000 days begins with one small step.
P.S. If you want to know more about this in terms of actual biological processes, you can look into the sympathetic (activating) and parasympathetic (calming) nervous systems.
Its been a long time since I put a blog together. I had quite a lot going on over the Christmas/New Year period. And then settling back into work – and before you know it – its nearly March. One of the things I felt I wanted to write about was ‘obsessive thinking’. There is quite a lot in the cognitive behavioural field that is known about obsessive thinking. Honestly, I can’t really say it any better than how Bruce Hubbard PhD at the Cognitive Health Group (www.cognitive-behaviour-therapy.com) has said it. I suggest you click over there and have a read of his page. But I would like to add my own thoughts.
Hi folks! How are you today? Another beautiful day here in Perth, warm and sunny. Although rain is back again over the weekend…ah, rain. Still we should not begrudge rain in this part of the world…
Ok, so what I want to talk to you about today is a skill. I don’t believe it comes naturally, and as such, takes a while to learn. It means you need patience and practice practice practice before you get the hang of it. By that I mean, I don’t think it’s easy, but is anything worth having ever easy? Continue reading “Enjoying Life Anyway…”
It’s important to be kind. Kindness is always needed. I always see memes on social media about being kind because “you never know the battles people are fighting”. I agree this is important, and we can do this in a thousand small ways every day. Being kind to others is an important part of our society and helps to keep the fabric of our relationships together.
How’s life with you today? The sun is coming out again in Perth…spring is coming! I love the winter, I love the contrast to the hot summer months, but I find I do long for warmer days come August. If you are a gardener (which I am not!), then I imagine this is a great time for you! Time for planting, clearing the weeds, turning the soil….
And in a way, when we do this in the garden, perhaps we could also do this with our thoughts?What old mindsets could benefit from a bit of weeding? What seeds can be planted in our thinking which would grow into beautiful flowers in our thought life? Continue reading “What if you are already good enough?”
If you have found your way to this blog, then welcome. I imagine you have a lot going on in your life now, that tends to be the pattern for us all! Life is a constant stream of things to do, relationships to manage, families to tend and so on.
It can be exhausting and stressful, and sometimes we are faced with situations which simply overwhelm our current skills to manage with a sense of calm. With the constant stream of information out there, there is quite a bit of pressure to get it right every time. To know the right thing to say, the right thing to do. I find that we are less forgiving as a society of mistakes and failure. We are quick to judge whether someone has been appropriate in their communications or actions – and we judge ourselves even more harshly. It all adds to the pressure to be perfect.