A simple trick to instantly feel better
Posted on 17th July 2019 at 08:30
(and, before anyone gets the wrong idea, it doesn’t involve the use of addictive or mind altering substances!)
As clients and regular readers of this blog will know, we love challenging the accepted wisdom on many different topics. Often this involves taking a closer look at the logic – or beliefs – which underpin it. Sadly, many don’t survive closer scrutiny, clearing the way for a completely new perspective on the subject.
What always strikes us as particularly interesting is how often the new approach seems to be counter intuitive. The complete opposite of the – old – accepted wisdom. However, bizarrely, it ends up having exactly the result we’ve been seeking for so long. And, usually, much more easily – and quickly – too.
And if this all sounds a bit abstract, bear with us, it’ll all make sense in a minute.
So let’s take a simple example of how this works in practice. And the accepted wisdom of how to feel better when we’re a little – or a lot (!) – less than our usual happy selves.
The traditional British approach is to “pull yourself together” – stiff upper lip and all that (!) – and be positive. In other words, ignoring how we’re feeling about whatever it is and struggling on regardless. Then, somehow the logic goes, whatever it is will magically disappear and we’ll be back to our normal happy selves. Whatever that is and however we show it (!).
But, let’s be honest, turning a blind eye – or trying to push it away – never quite has the desired effect. Not only does it require constant conscious effort to achieve but, as soon as we stop, we’re straight back to square one. And often much worse than before.
At the same time, it becomes a constant distraction as the Little Monster in our heads comes up with endless different – increasingly negative – interpretations and “what if’s” about it.
Why is this?
Well, it’s like the elephant in the room. However much we try to ignore it, it’s still there. Taking up lots of room and getting in the way. And it’s going to stay there until we do something about it. In other words, recognise it’s there, open the door and let it out.
So what does this mean in practice?
First, we have to simply admit that the elephant is there. That we feel less than our usual – happy (!) selves. Goodness that was difficult!
Next, we have to acknowledge whatever emotion is being brought up. And this is the scary bit.
For the simple reason that we – quite naturally – want to push away any emotion that makes us feel remotely “bad.”
But – and it’s a big but – the only way to release any emotion is to take a moment to feel it. Look it in the face. Give it a name. Anger. Hurt. Frustration. Something else entirely.
And, as soon as we do, something magical happens. It loses its hold over us and deflates VERY QUICKLY.
It’s a bit like the bogeyman hiding under our bed when we were children. Or in the cupboard. Taking a look – and finding there really was nothing there – was so much better than leaving our imagination in charge to come up with so many – and increasing scary – possibilities. And, once we’d done so, we couldn’t understand why we hadn’t done it before!
It’s than, finally, a case of moving swiftly over to the door so the elephant can go on its way. It really is that easy.
If you stop and think about it, the elephant never was the problem in the first place. Or the whatever it was. It’s ALWAYS about us and our reactions to it.
Once we acknowledge the emotion being triggered, we can then release it – and, more importantly, its hold over us. As with everything in life, it’s always an inside job and down to us.
It’s ALWAYS a case of looking at our own beliefs and experiences for clues as to why that particular emotion was triggered. So why we reacted in that particular way. And, once we do, we can then release the emotion.
Even better, it also gives us the opportunity to look at the beliefs and experiences underpinning it. Deciding whether they still work for us or whether it’s time to replace them with something different.
And that’s such good news, as it puts us fully in charge of our lives and how we react to whatever goes on around us. Life is ALWAYS an inside job.
As always, it’s your choice.
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