Importance of Proactive Decision Making.

Making a decision is not always the easiest thing to do. Though living in a world such as ours we don’t seem to have much of a choice, in having to make a decision.

Lets look a little deeper into the topic of decision making to find ways for taking healthy control of our lives, instead of feeling tossed around by the demands of life.

Decision and Indecision.

In this life we are constantly being pushed down a path that forces us into making one decision after another. It seems that not choosing is not an option.

What I mean by this is described well by a phrase I’ve heard along my path of addiction recovery. “Our indecisions make our decisions.” Meaning that when the opportunities to make a decision arrive and we avoid it, that is in fact a decision in itself. And by that indecision, we will be left with the consequences.

Now I don’t mean to be too dark or hope draining here but I have to say this. To exist is, in a sense, to be in a sort of trap. We are pushed forward by our own bodily impulses, peer pressures, social norms, and of course nature.

Now you may be thinking, “yep I knew it, we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.” But that isn’t at all the case. It just so happens that if we are on our A-games decision making wise, life pushing us along can feel less trap like. When we show up and take responsibility for our decision making, we can feel much more in control of our lives.

Proactive or Reactive in Decision Making.

We are making all sorts of decisions, all the time. Some of these decisions are no-brainers and don’t require much or any thought. Such as when in public and we get the urge to urinate, I’m sure most of us don’t think too hard about wetting ourselves where we stand. We immediately begin looking for a good place to take care of business. But some of our decisions can be complicated and take time to work out. Such as picking or changing careers,  having children or not, or deciding how our family will spend it’s hard earned cash.

Of course there are decisions that we cannot avoid and those that we set up ourselves. The trick is to take as proactive approach as possible, instead of a reactive one.

An individual taking a proactive approach steps up to take responsibility for decision making. Deciding to use these opportunities to create paths in life they can appreciate. Whereas a reactive approach to decision making is one where we just take what life hands us. Using our creative energies to cope with the onslaught of decisions for which we don’t feel much responsibility. I see the proactive approach as the one which leads to a more fulfilled and enjoyable life. 

Tips for Staying Proactive in Our Decision Making Process.

Having a proactive approach to making decisions, may not immediately seem like the easiest route to take. It may seem easier to lay back and live the path of “least resistance.” But often enough what seems like the easier path, lends itself to many more difficulties down the road.

The extra effort given to stepping up to take care of decision making proactively, saves an incredible amount of time and energy. So here are some tips we have compiled to help guide proactive decision making.

1. Work on Getting to Know Ourselves.

Staying awake to our decision making requires us to make conscious effort to pay attention to our lives. It requires us to study ourselves, our desires, our assets, our liabilities, our mental and emotional tendencies. Without committing proper attention to self-knowledge, we will likely wake up to our lives not really feeling like our own. Life is much more enjoyable when we are able to make decisions based on our own beliefs and personalities.

Sure what has been passed on to us is somewhat important, as are societies expectations, and even the decisions of our pasts. We can still allow these aspects to guide us somewhat, but too much guidance from them doesn’t respect the direction of living our own lives.

2. Touching Base with Our Own Conscience.

We all have our own consciences. Now what you believe a conscience to be, that is up to you. For me I believe it is my internal guidance system. It is based on my own thoughts and feelings. If something doesn’t feel right to me, or I get that feeling that this opportunity is good to go, I say that is my conscience speaking.

To get it active before I make a decision there are some things I tend to do. Before making an decent size decision for my life I find it helpful to ask myself some questions. Such as what am I looking for here? Is this opportunity for me or is it meant for someone else? What these questions do is frame my mind to look for answers to them. I may not get the answers right away, or I might. Generally the process takes extra internal and external research.

If time is going by and I am still not feeling right with an answer, I do some therapeutic writing. Writing mainly to get in touch with any emotion that may be in the way of my answer. If I am still not getting my answer I turn to gathering a group conscience.

3. Gather up a Group Conscience.

A method I have learned for investigating an opportunity until I know the right decision to make, is group conscience. That means enlisting the knowledge of people I trust that might have a viewpoint on what I can’t quite put my finger on. By gathering information from these people and their respective consciences, I am able to get a better grasp on what decision I should currently be making. It’s difficult to explain when group conscience has been met. But for me when it has, I feel it, and then I just know.

Though remember, when gathering group conscience we are seeking our own answers, not somebody else’s. We are seeking to put the puzzle pieces in our own mind together. Plenty of people in this world will tell us what we should be doing on every subject available. But that is the lazy approach. Developing our own reasons for the decisions we make teaches so much more.

Decision Conscience

4. Make Decisions Promptly but Still do the Research.

Making decisions promptly is important for not missing out on great opportunities. But making decisions too quickly without feeling the consequences are understood is just as important. Acting too hastily might work out just fine, and sometimes we may need to do just that. But if there is time for researching and gathering a group conscience, do so, and do so ASAP. It is best to be walking into new opportunities understanding what is at risk. Though sometimes our conscience is ready to make the right decision at a moments notice. Other times we need to just walk away.

5. Take Responsibility for Decisions Made.

Too feel in control of our lives, we have to take responsibility for where our lives are at. To feel responsible for where we are at, we must take responsibility for the decisions we made that got us here. Taking responsibility helps us feel less like victims of circumstance. It allows us to feel more in charge of the direction of our lives. Therefore more readily available to continue handling the opportunities that come into our paths with confidence.

6. Take Risks and Make Plans.

We have say in the lives we get to live. Our creative natures reach out to expand into the world based on our own based on our own desires. When ideas start pointing in directions we haven’t though of before, and our emotions are longing for something new, it’s time to create. If we don’t allow them and are constantly catering to others needs, anger, resentment, depression, begin to brew.

So we need to make plans, take risks, work through disappointment and rejection. Our happiness, contentment and feelings of living our own lives depends on it.

Closing Thoughts.

Life can feel rather forceful at times, for sure. But if we spend the time to develop a proactive decision making process, we can be prepared for it. And as prepared decision makers, we will be able to get much more out of this beautiful life than if we weren’t.

That is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth. We wish you growth on your path of becoming proactive decision makers . If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.

 

 

 

Negotiation with Our Bodies Impulses.

Living a healthy and respectable life is all about impulse negotiation. It is about getting our needs met. And, of course, not meeting the needs of our bodily impulses that will harm us.

Lets look more in depth in the topic of learning healthy negotiation skills with to get healthier expression for our emotional impulses. Learning how to see when these impulses point at our bodily needs that need fulfillment, or past energies that may just need some closure.

Negotiation With our Impulses?

To negotiate is to communicate with the purpose of reaching agreements. I generally hear the word in the realm of business and hostage retrieval. But we all negotiate terms many times a day with ourselves.

Of course we negotiate with other people as well, but here we are talking about our relationship with the constant flow of impulses that are coming from within our bodies.

In fact, the first negotiation I usually make in my day is whether or not I will hit my snooze button or simply wake up when the alarm goes off the first time. I generally do wake up right away because I enjoy money and making it to work on time. My desire for more sleep expresses itself, but at least most of the time I cannot accept its terms.

Then throughout the day I am nudged by many impulses to act. Many of the requests are clearly acceptable so I agree to them. Like putting my jacket on because it’s cold outside, or grabbing a bite to eat because of hunger.

Others impulses of mine can be pretty absurd and so I cannot. As in, sorry anger impulse it wouldn’t be appropriate to curse your client out at this moment. Some requests are in the middle and require a little extra thought for me to make a decision. We are pretty much constantly negotiating with ourselves.

This concept of continuous negotiation with ourselves may not be something that we think about often, or maybe ever. But it is happening all the time and getting the most out of it requires that we wake up to the process.

Waking up to the Negotiation.

To be awake to this process takes effort. It takes reminding ourselves that a healthy life is a process of allowing these impulses to find fulfillment in acceptable ways or even closure.

Staying awake to responsibly negotiate requires us to get to know ourselves and trust ourselves on much more than we have up to this point in our lives.

It requires us to be pay attention to our bodies requests, and be the compassionate but stern gatekeepers for how those requests are met.  Sometimes these impulses should not be given the time of day, and sometimes we better meet their needs, or else.

As addicts in recovery we at My Life Experiment have had to learn a great deal about negotiating successfully with our bodily impulses. Here are some ideas that we have developed over the years.

1. Regularly step away from the negotiation.

Our bodies are constantly sending us impulses to take care of all sorts of things. Some of these sane, others not so much. It is easy to become overwhelmed with all of their requests.

At times it is easy to keep up with these impulses. Other times there is a sort of paralyzed feeling, unaware of how to proceed with this backlog of energy.

Stepping away from the negotiating process is extremely important to do regularly. It is intensely beneficial to our minds and bodies to just sit, take deep breathes, and feel these impulses. In this time we should not think about how we should take care of our next impulse, just feel it.

Forget about dinner prep, work tomorrow, how the kids are doing, how the bills will get paid, etc… After sitting with these energies non-judgmentally you can go right back to all those thoughts, possibly with more clarity on how to handle them.

Negotiation Meditation
2. Goals are important.

It is important to have goals for our futures. We can use these goals to help guide us to the ways we should get our needs met. Take the need for food for example. If I have the goal of losing 10 pounds this month, I should probably get that need taken care of with food that will help that goal happen.

Without goals for the future it can be extremely difficult to negotiate healthy outcomes for our impulses. It can be much easier to take the “easy way out.” Seeking quick fixes, and not thinking enough about what we deeply desire for the direction of our lives.

If you want to learn more about setting these goals here is a nice WikiHow page on the subject of goal setting.

3. Learn to Differentiate an impulse that Needs Fulfillment or Needs Closure.

It is very true that not all of the impulses that come from our bodies are needs. We have plenty of wants that seek our attention as well. Some of these wants are reasonable, others not so much.

Meeting or needs and reasonable wants in healthy ways is very important. I would say that our lives depend on this. But those other impulses that are all wrapped up in energy from unmet needs long in the past need something different.

What these impulses need is closure. They need to be felt. Not acted upon since they are no longer connected to the realities that we are currently coping with.

Learning to discern a need and reasonable want from these no longer viable impulses requires us to get to know ourselves. And to develop a strong connection with ourselves.

When we get that feeling of confusion about where an impulse is coming from, there are some things that can be done. Such as doing some therapeutic writing, chatting with a trusted friend, or seeking some professional help.

Through these processes we can get to know whether we should go ahead and act on the impulse, or let it fade away into the background.

4. Do not Negotiate with but Love Impulse Terrorists.

There have been times in my recovery where I have had to navigate intense emotions that desired to act on in ways that would have had negative consequences for me.

When not acting on them, there is a feeling of an “internal temper tantrum.’ I get the feeling of a little child laying on the floor pounding and kicking away, when the impulse does not get its way. In a way, the impulse is trying to terrorize us into getting what it wants.

When dealing with energies like this I find it important to not give in to them. To not negotiate with them, but that doesn’t mean neglect them either.

This impulse needs closure, it is hurting, it needs some love, and possibly to be grieved. If I am not feeling that I can give it the loving attention it needs. Then I need to go to outside sources, such as trusted friends, or possibly for professional support.

Negotiation Needs

5. Track Progress of Pesky Impulses.

When struggling with acting on impulses in ways that benefit the healthy self we desire to be, tracking our progress can be beneficial. When noticing an impulse that we habitually meet in unhealthy ways, mark it down in a notebook.

Name the habit, talk about what that impulse feels like, thoughts that go with it, etc.. Then check back in with the notebook to report progress weekly or monthly, depending on how pesky the impulse is and how quickly change is desired.

Well, that is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

The Struggle is Real?

They say that “The Struggle is Real.”

Urban Dictionary defines the statement as “The hardness and difficulties of everyday life being unbearable and apparent.”

It is usually used to describe fairly simple problems that the average “first world” human being goes through. Like having a tire get a flat, only getting a half nights sleep or the countless times where expectations are not met. Which are fairly simple problems compared to the number of people that are suffering greatly all over the world.

Hearing the statement lately I came to think of the statement at another angle. How much time do we spend struggling with problems that don’t really exist?

Homeless struggleOf Course, the Struggle is Real.

Yes, there is struggle in the world, there is pain and there is suffering. I would imagine that is something we can all agree on.

Honestly, I cannot imagine the horror that many “first world” citizens go through, as well as a much higher percentage that is found in the “third world.”

I live in Fargo, North Dakota. Compared to probably over 90% of the world’s population I exist in the spoiled zone. No, I don’t have loads of money or a flashy car. But I have a growing family in a nice house, running water, and a decent job. Considering that roughly 60% of the world doesn’t even have running water, I would say that I am in pretty damn good shape.

Though of course I do struggle, have pain, and yes the occasional suffering. It may not be as much as others struggle. Though even though I may not struggle as much as others, does not make mine less important. The obstacles that enter my path, whether big or small, must be negotiated none the less. I say the same goes for every one of you if there is struggle, it needs to be dealt with in some manner or another.

Real Struggles with Fantasized Problems?

There are real problems and of course many issues to find ourselves struggling with. But how much of the struggle is stemming from problems that aren’t really problems at all?

Let me ask you a few questions. Have you ever worked yourself up, worrying over a problem you were sure was going to harm you or others? Planning and plotting to respond, so sure that a messy situation that required swift action was going to take place? One more question. Have you ever had the time come when this problem was going to erupt and you realize nothing is happening? The problem that was expected, didn’t show up after all.

How much of our struggles do we bring onto ourselves by fantasizing problems that never show up? Or over-dramatizing something that could be a little struggle into a big one? Of course, I cannot answer this question for you. It is hard enough to answer this question for myself.

The process to Lessen the Amount that We Struggle.

Life, of course, brings about great amounts of pain. For example, we can’t control that loved ones pass away. We also can’t control all sorts of other curveballs the world throws at us. Many problems are ones that cannot be ignored, and if we do they will haunt our consciousness until we deal with them. I repeat. The real problems that we don’t deal with will haunt us until we deal with them. And inevitably will only bring more struggle than would have taken place had we dealt with them in the first place.

With all of the real problems life inevitably brings do you really want to waste all sorts of time and energy on those that aren’t even real? I know I don’t.

The trick to limiting the amount of fantasized problems, and taking care of the real is not a simple one.  It takes hard work and vigilance to keep ourselves in reality in this way. Though the years I have spent in recovery with this brain that is prone to worry and fantasy have learned a great deal. Here are some essential tips that I have come to live by.

1. Staying Emotionally Balanced.

Staying on our emotional A-game is so important to keep our problems and our struggles in reality. Past emotions have a way of creeping into the present. Leading us to believe that history is going to repeat itself. Thus projecting a fantasy of our own creation onto our future selves.

To keep problems and struggles in reality our emotions need to be in reality. Checking in to settle down our emotions in times of struggle can save a lot of suffering. For me, I generally do this through meditation, therapeutic writing, or chatting with healthy people I trust.

Struggle Friend2. Being Connected to Healthy People.

Being connected to these people that will not allow me to complain but will respect my emotions has been so important. Without the support of all the people around me from friends, family and colleagues I would spend an absurd amount of time with unnecessary struggles. The Philosopher Aristotle said that we “are by nature social animals.” I couldn’t agree more, we are not meant to do this life thing on our own.

When running our troubles by our trusted people we may be surprised or even pissed off when told we are wasting our time and energy. They can point out the real problem that we are not seeing, or emotion that is clouding our judgment. They could point out that we are obsessing about a situation that doesn’t exist. Hell, sometimes they even let us know that we aren’t crazy and they actually agree! Their insights are invaluable.

3. Deal with Real Problems as Soon as Possible.

As much as we might like them to go away, there is no amount of denying the real problems in our lives that will make them fantasies. If we feel we need to take care of a problem and the stakes don’t feel risky, then I am generally safe to go ahead and do it. But if the stakes seem a little risky and we are confused in any way about what we should be taking care of. Then I take some time out to go back to Steps 1 and 2.

As soon as I find out to the best of my and my trusted people’s abilities that my problem needs dealing with, I do it. Taking prompt actions with our real problems keep our struggles from growing unnecessarily. I also find that I find myself creating problems out of thin air, while I am procrastinating something else that actually needs my care

4. Let Fantasized Problems Fade Away

The more strongly convinced we are that our fantasized problems are real, the more difficult it is to let them go. But to quit wasting our time with them and get busy living in the real, we need to let them go. Or else we will just spend our time struggling with these problems in a fruitless attempt to make them a reality.

There is a grieving process that goes along with letting our fantasized problems fade away. Letting our belief in a fake problem go can actually be painful. We may think that we are putting ourselves in a dangerous situation. Dealing with the emotions that come out of this process has to happen to let them go. That emotion that may stem from who knows when can now get some much-needed attention. And we can move forward with a little less struggle in our lives and more energy on creative ways to bring success into our lives.

 

The Balanced Approach for Making Plans.

Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

Quote originally by: Allen Saunders but popularized by John Lennon.

Life is always happening. It is happening in the present and will also be happening in a future present. Finding a way to stay present while still being prepared when that future present arrives can be difficult. But finding that balanced approach to planning is also important.

Plans Book

Why are Plans for the Future Needed?

I spent much of my life not expecting to live very long and I acted as such. I squandered resources, burned bridges, and developed a complete lack of healthy imagination. What I found through the process of irresponsibility is how important planning for the future is.

The amount of opportunity I missed out on is staggering as I continue to understand the ramifications of not being present for life all those years. Today even though I am a responsible and productive human being, there are still opportunities for success that I’m simply not present for. Or never dreamt up because I wasn’t aware of their possibility. Nothing like the way things used to be, but there is always room for improvement.

Having plans in place for our future lives is critically important. We may continue living for quite a long time. And to maintain a healthy and success filled life for as long as we are around we will need to make plans for the changes life brings.  Healthy and effective planning for our futures can help us see difficulties on our paths. It can also allow us to see where we should place our efforts to build the type of lives we desire to experience.

When future moments for success arrive we will want to be ready for them, or we will miss out. Maybe our lack of imagination and foresight will have us blind to what we are missing. Or maybe it will be clearly screaming in our faces, waiting to beat us down with regret for many years. Who wants to be blind to what is coming or loaded with regret over missing out?

It is a shame to waste the ambitious energy us human beings have at our cores. We need healthy plans to lead a healthy life. Being in the moment with no plans may feel good from time to time, but to me is not enough.

Staying Focused Solely on the Moment is Not the Best of Plans.

Living life in the moment is of course critically important to maintaining our own sanity and be successful. But a life lived solely in the moment without regard for the future will leave us ill-prepared to capitalize on future opportunities when they arrive.

The inner driving force of a human being is tremendous. And I don’t believe that driving force is meant to be solely for the present. If it was then why in the hell do we have the ability to imagine what we cannot already touch or see? Our brains developed the ability to do this for a productive reason. Whether it developed it for security purposes to bypass danger or whatever. It can just as easily be used to plan our ways into success beyond keeping our interests safe.

Of course, we need to stay grounded when making plans for the future. We need to be mindful of the inner workings of the present moment. Awake to the opportunities that are around us. When awake to the opportunities around us we are in a better place to see the opportunities that are off on the horizon.

Balanced Plans

Finding a Balanced Approach to Making Plans.

Having our future selves set up for success when the moment arrives is an absolute blessing. It helps me with being grateful for the baton being handed over smoothly from a past me that doesn’t exist anymore.

The type of plans I find best to make are those that are grounded in reality. But how do we go about doing this?

1. Staying Rooted in the Present Moment While Planning for the Future.

I find the opposite of rooted in the present moment is being lost in our minds. Lost in the process of thinking and imagining. Being lost in this process is a complete waste of energy. Though I suppose maybe we might obsess our ways into something productive. But there is much more evidence in my life that it will take me where I don’t desire to go. And fill me with fear and a body full of unproductive stress.

The way I stay rooted in my planning is to bounce ideas off of the healthy people I trust most. I also make sure that I meditate. Giving my brain the freedom to process the information I need to, without my interruption. After I do some talking and meditating, then I will do some planning.

But don’t get me wrong, I am going to obsess and find myself floating away from the moment. This is to be expected. The trick is to not judge ourselves too harshly, then get ourselves back into the moment ASAP.

2. Set Intentions for Future Success.

To attract the types of life we desire, we also need to have a little bit of a grasp on what we desire. Then we need to set the intentions that might open our minds to their possibilities. It is only at this point that we can set our plans and our lives to go in that direction.

Our healthy ambitions are important for having lives that we enjoy. All of the energy brewing up in a human being needs direction. Set the intention, do a little planning and allow that energy to create the path.

3. Make Flexible Plans.

Being flexible is one of the most important principles to healthy life experimentation. Just because we make plans that doesn’t mean that these plans are going to work. When they don’t work we might need to go with the flow and make small revisions to the plan as we feel our way through.

Having plans that are too rigid may end up causing unnecessary pain and frustration for ourselves and those around us. I agree that once in awhile opportunities might require us to bulldoze our way into them. But for the most part there are many ways to achieve a goal and be flexible. In the moment re-planning will work out even better than forcing results.

4. Trusting our Ability to Evolve.

We need to be able to practice self-trust. As well, put some trust in the world around us. Us human beings are resourceful creatures. We may desire something and not see the way to plan for it. That certainly doesn’t mean that it is not ours to desire. It also doesn’t mean that we won’t get it.

Our desires take us places, whether we know they do or not. They work in the background of our consciousness. I don’t know how many times in my recovery I have been struck with gratitude when I realized that unbeknownst to me, my life was guided exactly where It needed to be. Though while on the path to get there, I had no clue that is where I was going.

Life is much easier when I remind myself of my uncanny ability to adapt to my surroundings.

5. Keeping our Minds from projecting Emotion Onto the Future.

When planning for the future it can be easy to slip into many emotions. When anticipating what we will need to face we can feel, fear, humiliation, anger, gratitude, happiness or any other emotion. These emotions are important in the planning process. They help prepare us for what is to come.

Though it is also important to remember that we need to be careful with these emotions. Remembering that we cannot imagine exactly what will be on the path. We can shut ourselves down to a path just because we perceive things to be too difficult. All the while as we keep our minds in the present, our ability to evolve to meet the needs of the moment made life much easier than we could have ever imagined.

Closing Thoughts.

There is a balance to be found between staying in the moment and planning for the future. The more we find that sweet spot, I believe the more balanced and healthy we become.

The quote to begin the article can be interpreted in a couple different ways. First, it might be telling us to quit planning so much because life is passing us by. It also might be saying that while we are planning we end up with meaningful lives as life goes on and we have been meeting our goals.

My take is both. Balanced is best.

Well, that is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

Managing Feelings of Rejection.

Any individual that is making an effort at building a life worth fighting for is going to have to face rejection.

We are going to have our efforts pushed back in our faces from time to time. Maybe in ways that are meant to hurt, possibly in gentle ways. The rejection could just be from simple misunderstandings.

Lets look a little closer at rejection and see if we can discover some ideas for how the feeling begins. As well as find some helpful solutions for moving through it as smoothly as possible.

Any Relationship Offers up a Good Deal of Rejection.

Whether the relationship is with family, lovers, children, co-workers or whatever form the relationship has, the feelings of rejection are going to happen. There is no way around it.

Life is always changing and that is the nature of relationships as well. Everybody has their own worlds of creative energy coming to the surface. The truth is that we won’t always have the same ideas in mind on how to move forward in our relationships.

Sometimes rejection is flat out rejection. Simply put, not everyone in this world wants our time, our thoughts, or our presence. We offer ourselves up, and individuals say “get out of here with that!” Other times the rejection may not be so simple.

Relationships are such a difficult thing to manage, they are complex. They require negotiation, compromise, hard work, and continuous communication. We agree on terms for the relationship, then the terms change.

Growth is needed to keep relationships alive. Boredom happens, making it necessary to leave some of the old behind. We may end up expressing ourselves in different ways, forcing others into the position to respond.

They may play along or they may decide not to play along. Not playing along can be a retreat to the old by the rejected, or a refusal to move into the new by the rejecter. Too much rejection and not enough growth can be the death of a relationship. In any relationship we are a part of this is the case.

Another time that rejection may occur in a relationship is when the other person or we are just not in the mood. In this case, even every day expected actions may not be acceptable. Most everything may be annoying and all others may need is the look on our faces to feel rejected.

A close friend told me that it’s okay for one person in a relationship to be in too sensitive state for a little bit, but not both. Probably because there ends up being too many rejections for a relationship to handle in a healthy way.

Rejection man

The Feelings of Rejection.

What it really comes down to is that anytime we introduce ourselves, speak our minds, offer or request support, give a gift or give a damn, there is the possibility of being rejected. So beware and remember that certain emotions may follow.

Powerful feelings may be triggered when we feel rejected. They can range from deep agony and loneliness to all-out blind rage. The feelings could also be as subtle as a little irritation, to really no problematic feeling at all. Some of these emotions can bring great pain. Especially if there was a great emotional investment in and great expectations for the relationship.

When we offer up our needs, desires, and assistance we are putting ourselves out on a limb of sorts. These efforts are an investment toward a way of life that we may want. As well as a bit of a lifeline at times to see that we aren’t alone in this world. It can suck to have our efforts rejected since other people are so important for our successful personal development and often times our survival.

The pain from rejection is very real. In this Psychology today article it talks about how feelings of rejection piggyback on physical pain pathways in the brain. Another hint at this is that pain relievers like Tylenol have actually been shown to dull the pain of rejection.

The feelings of rejection don’t seem to be just in our heads. They stem from somewhere. It’s very possible that a strong rejection I feel today could stem from a situation that happened in the past. It could have taken place many years ago and here I am feeling as if it is all has to do with this very moment. Or it could be that we just had a proverbial knife stabbed into our backs, or maybe right in our faces.

Risk personThe Importance of Risking Rejection.

In any relationship, in order for it to grow and ourselves to grow in it, we must risk rejection. We must confront issues that arise and offer new ideas and new efforts to continue adapting to the changing world.

If there are too many problems in a relationship eating up our conscious or unconscious energy we are missing out on further adaptation. The energy that would be better-used tackling issues heads on tends to fester into anger, worry, resentment. The relationship risks rotting from the inside out.

Problems in relationships need swift action to remedy them. But when confronting problems in a relationship there is always a risk of rejection. It is almost as if we need to be willing to risk losing the relationship at times when confronting tough issues. But I have found that it is the avoidance of the issues, that is even more damaging.

I have lost many relationships and great opportunities throughout my life because I was not willing and possibly not able to deal with rejection. I am truly grateful that over the years I have learned a great deal about this process.

Dealing With The Feelings of Rejection and Finding Healthy Ways to Risk.

1. Know What We are Risking Ahead of Time.

Taking risks in relationships is critical to their growth and personal growth. But we should try to understand the risks we are taking before we take them. This can help curb undesired consequences and maybe save some pain.

Of course, rejection can be felt any time new little risks are taken that we don’t even think about. If someone doesn’t laugh at a silly joke of mine I sometimes feel rejected. Though life wouldn’t be much fun if I constantly measured my risk of rejection before every time I opened my mouth.

What I am talking about here is not constant monitoring, but just having some awareness of the big moves that are coming up in life. Thinking about them in a healthy way and preparing accordingly. It is also important to have an awareness of when the fear of rejection comes up.

2. Understand the Level of Risk Aversion and Test for Balance.

Some people are completely cool with taking crazy risk after risk. Others like myself need to come out of the shell to balance out high-risk aversion. Some people may risk too much, and others are way too uptight.

If you are on the too risky side and are troubled with feeling a lot of rejection, maybe slow down a bit. And if you are too risk-averse, finding yourself feeling stuck in life, jump out there and get your feelings hurt a little bit. It’s going to be alright. It is entirely possible for people with both tendencies to find a balance.

Some individuals recommend going out and actively seeking opportunities for rejection to help squelch the fear of rejection. This is not something I have actively tried. But over the decade I have spent in recovery from addiction I understand the need to take risks and prove our fears of rejection wrong.

3. Have Healthy People Around Often.

Without healthy people around to talk to we are essentially swimming around in an ocean of uncertainty all alone. It is more difficult to see our personal strengths and weaknesses. They can help us see the pieces of our reality that we currently may be blinded from.

Having healthy people around to bounce ideas and emotions off of has many benefits. They can keep us in finding solutions instead of allowing us to complain. As well as build us up and remind us of how capable we are when we are doubting ourselves. And they may be able to point out when we are in way over our heads and don’t see it.

4. Timing is very Important.

Not every time we want to make a change in our lives and in our relationships is the right time. Sometimes striking when emotion is high is the answer. Other times waiting for the emotion to cool down can keep us from overwhelming those we wish to grow with. Acting too fast or too slow may snuff out the fire of a new opportunity.

I like to take time out to meditate, talk to my trusted people and then meditate some more. Then I generally find that balance I am looking for. But don’t get me wrong, sometimes decisions need to be made quickly and that’s why it’s important that my thoughts and emotions are in a good place as often as possible.

5. Keeping Our Thoughts and Emotions in Check.

Life is unpredictable and without keeping ourselves in healthy mental and emotional states we can get tossed around like ragdolls. The feelings of rejection are much easier to handle if we are in stable mood states. We will not be able to predict all of the times that people will not be emotionally, mentally or physically available to us. Nor can we predict when someone will decide to maliciously attack our characters.

Of course, even if we are mentally and emotionally stable, rejection can hurt. But maybe we can stop that hurt in its place, then feel the rejection responsibly. Allowing us to keep the rejection from hurting us more, or winding up hurting others.

Closing Thoughts.

So yes, rejection is unavoidable. But this is no reason to avoid living our lives. Life goes on after rejection, coming with many more opportunities for interpersonal connection and personal growth. Step up and take some of those upcoming risks everything is going to be okay.

I wish you well on your path of navigating the feelings of rejection. This article was written out of what was learned from personal struggle and growth. We truly believe that if you take what was written here that it will benefit you greatly.

 

 

 

 

 

Giving Up Complaining.

I’m sure if you are anything like me, then you find yourself complaining about this or that throughout your day. It comes easily when we are upset about how something played out. Or maybe the way that someone treated us at work or in any other of our relationships. We all do it from time to time and some complaining is normal and even healthy. But, with that being said there is a line that can be crossed that takes complaining from blowing off steam to using it as an unhealthy coping skill.

And just an FYI Complaining in this article is not just about any time we air grievances to people for the purpose of creating change. It is mainly for finding healthy ways to catch ourselves when stuck in a routine of complaining just for complaining’s sake

Why do We Complain and is there anything good about Complaining?

So why do we complain? It might seem like a complex question but I believe it is more simple than it seems. We complain when we are upset about something when something internally does not feel right. When upset, our inner tension seeks to find relief. So we discuss what is giving us displeasure about this, that, and the other thing. Not discussing what is bothering us is a recipe for bottled up stress and more dissatisfaction. But taking complaining too far can become like a drug in the wrong hands, giving instant personal gratification but long term undesired consequences.

There is a problem at hand when complaining and we may be looking for a solution. Granted there are those who complain all the time no matter what. But generally there is irritation and we either consciously or unconsciously seek to understand what is bothering us. Like if there are problems that need grievances aired to create change.

Is there anything good about complaining? I can think of only one good reason why complaining could potentially good. When we complain we may talk to several people or just a few and hopefully somewhere along the lines we are given what we needed to hear. Whoever is on the receiving end of our complaints just might be able to snap us out of it. Then we can get busy looking for creative ways to better our lives.

Grumpy ComplainingWays that complaining negatively impacts life.

There are numerous ways in which complaining impacts our lives. Whatever the situation may be, repeatedly complaining about the same thing increases negative feelings and adds more stress. When this takes place we are generally not looking for a solution from those who are listening to us, but rather to receive sympathy, attention, or validation.

And what happens to the people that we consistently complain to in order to find relief from what ails our minds? What we may not realize is that listening to complaints can be draining for the people we are unloading this on. It erodes happiness as well as the ability to feel good will towards others. And it certainly doesn’t bring any positivity to our peers.

Another way that complaining can impact us negatively is that it keeps us stuck and unable to move forward. Ruminating on the same situation harvests negative feelings over and over again. There is a certain amount of acceptance we need to have over certain situations we can’t do much about. Acceptance has taken the back seat when we don’t allow ourselves to move on from whatever it is that we are complaining about. It doesn’t matter if it happened two hours ago or two days ago, continuously talking about it will not help to let go.

My experience with complaining.

Now, I know that this is something that I struggle with at times. I find it easiest to complain and dive right in with coworkers complaints while I am working. Working in retail is not always the easiest thing and I encounter a variety of people in a day. As you can imagine not all of them are the nicest. Not having a positive experience with them makes complaining about them seem effortless. Going through our work day we end up sharing stories mostly of the things that went wrong or upset us. There are plenty of positive things that happen throughout the day but those stories are told less frequently.

Recently at work I was focusing on complaining less and a customer told me that my spirit was very refreshing. It was nice to hear and we both had a positive experience. But, I know for a fact that had I not been focusing on not complaining that our encounter would not have gone as it did. This got me thinking about some of the positive consequences that might continue to show up in my life as a result of less complaining. It also excited a new desire to stay more mindful about the ways I complain and finding ways to stop.

Stop Complaining

Stopping the process of complaining

1. Have People in Your Life that Stop You From Complaining.

Having someone to talk through issues with rather than fueling the complaint will get you better results. We recommend having close relationships that will not allow our complaining to control our conversation with them. This way you can reach needed solutions rather than spinning in circles, hyper-focused solely on the problem. These people can seem like complete pains in the ass but in the long run, the way they help us take responsibility for our current situation is priceless.

2. Practicing Acceptance.

Nothing will ever change if there is no acceptance for what is at hand. We complain because we have not accepted and moved on from whatever issue we can’t change. Again, this is what keeps us stuck. Once a level of acceptance has been reached then we can stop ourselves from continuing to complain about the same thing. Then maybe we can find a place to put in some productive action.

3. Positivity and Gratitude.

Focusing on gratitude and pulling out positive thoughts can stop complaining in its tracks. For instance, thinking about that one really nice customer instead of complaining about the bad one can help to keep negative feelings out. When we are practicing gratitude it becomes easy to let complaints go to the wayside.

4. Don’t Engage in the Complaining of Others.

When hearing others complain about something don’t dive in and add fuel to the fire. We can amp each other up while we complain. It may feel good in the moment but overall there are no positive feelings to bounce off of each other. Knowing that I do not have to participate in negative conversations allows me to choose gratitude versus other negative feelings.

5. Take Productive Action.

Putting energy into not complaining is not the easiest thing to do. But having put a stop to the complaining there is finally an opening to take productive action. Productive action is using that upset energy and putting it to work to take care of what is causing our problem. It definitely takes more work to take a productive action than it does to complain. But there is no better way to release our creative energy from focusing on the problem.

It is true that the more we complain the more hardwired the behavior becomes in our brains, the same as any other behavior we learn. It is also true that well worn habitual behaviors are able to be changed if we are willing to put in the work and feel the discomfort of not using them. For me, it has been challenging but I find that with practice I am getting better about not giving my complaints the light of day.

Well, that is all we have for today, and thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

Waking up to Unhealthy Distraction.

Every single responsibility we have in life could turn into a distraction. Work can take attention away from the family, friends can take attention away from studies, cleaning can take attention away from valuable time with children. Each individual experience prevents us from giving full attention to something else.

Our minds have a limited ability to be attentive, we cannot focus on everything at once. Distractions in themselves are not necessarily all good or bad. It comes down to how they are being used. Let’s dive in a little deeper on this topic and see what we can find.

How distraction has been active in my life.

It’s fair to say that I can be an easily distracted person at times. My attention becomes divided and my ability to focus decreases. When the balance in life is feeling off, I find that I become distracted quicker and more frequently.

I am finding that the balance in my life has been off. As a new mom, this role has been getting most of my attention. Taking care of my daughter Ada is of the utmost importance. But, so is taking care of myself as well as other aspects of my life.

Being someone who balances being in recovery, mental health, work, being a mother, etc, I need to make time for just me. With everything going on lately it is easy to get distracted. Getting distracted has taken attention away from feeling my emotions. The focus has solely been on being a mother and it’s taking a mental toll. It has also been easier to put neglect my own emotions. And for a while, I didn’t even realize that it was something I was doing.

My attention is much less often on doing things that are therapeutic for me such as playing guitar, writing, baking, reading, and getting to the recovery meetings I regularly attend. These are things that are important for me to do because they bring comfort and peace. I also haven’t allowed myself much time to just do nothing.

The Distraction of Inner and Outer Demands/problems.

Distraction Hands

It’s no secret, the demands of life can be very distracting. This includes both inner and outer demands.

Some of the outer demands that I experience include work, being a mother, and relationships. When I go to my job I am expected to show up and perform to the best of my ability. With the relationships in my life, I have to be attentive and present so that I can keep them healthy. And, as a mother, I must care for my daughter. These are just a few of my examples and I’m sure that you have a list of your own. Anyone of these things can take away from the next.

And, then there comes the inner distractions or demands. These can be expectations that we have of ourselves or things that we think we ought to be doing or even things that we think we have to be. We may place rigid ideas on ourselves and become distracted from just being who we are.

One downfall of distraction is the way that emotions can get turned off. When something feels uncomfortable or when emotions feel too strong it becomes easy to find something to take the mind away from them. Since the emotions are uncomfortable it can become desirable to avoid dealing with them. Distraction is a way to escape the current reality. This is where problems arise and things become unhealthy.

How distraction can be helpful.

Like I said not all distractions are bad, in fact, they can be quite helpful.

The other night my husband Travis and I were playing with our daughter and she tipped over and hit her head. She started crying right away. We started to make happy noises, smiling, and clapping our hands which quickly made her stop crying. We realized that we had just created a distraction for her that got her mind away from hitting her head. It was a matter of seconds and she was smiling right along with us. This is one simple way that distractions can be useful.

They can serve as coping skills in the moments where we need to step back. Used as a self-soothing tactic distraction can be effective in helping to change a current mood and ease uncomfortable feelings. To step back from a stressful situation to take a few deep breaths or recognize a negative mood and engage in something that distracts from being upset.

When it comes to pain a little distraction is ok, but when emotions start to be numbed out that is when it turns unhealthy.

Dealing with distraction

Distraction Focus1. It begins with awareness.

It is important to become aware of how distraction effects day to day life. Focusing awareness allows us to pay attention which in turn helps us see clearly and in finer detail. Just like with any situation change cannot happen until you become aware of the current reality. You cannot become less distracted until you recognize that you are.

2. Focus attention on breathing.

I believe that no matter the situation you can never go wrong with taking a moment to step back and breath. It can help draw us out of what’s distracting. Breathing can help to interrupt negative thought patterns, ground us in the present moment, and help to calm the body and mind.

3. Make a list or reminders.

Making a list keeps things simple. It helps me to see clearly what needs to be done. Or leaving myself reminders to stay in the moment, let go, or check to see if I am distracted can also help.

4. Make time to do nothing.

We all need our own mental and physical space, so taking a moment to step away and disengage is important. And, when I say do nothing, I mean do NOTHING. Set down the phone, close the laptop, turn off Netflix, etc.

5. Do something that relaxes you.

If you are someone who simply cannot sit and do nothing, find something that brings you relaxation and takes your mind away from all other things. For me, this could be breathing, listening to music, or playing the guitar.

Conclusion.

It is helpful to determine whether the distractions in your life are healthy or unhealthy. There are too many important aspects of life that need attention for us to be constantly lost in unhealthy distraction.

Maybe the current distraction began as a healthy distraction and turned. However, it started it is time to take life back from it. We need not be victims to either inner or outer distractions.

If you have been distracted too much don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s bound to happen. But waking up to it and deciding to find balance with all our responsibilities can be started right now. I hope you take the opportunity.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

 

Worrying: What is it Good for?

Right off the bat, I have a question for you. How often do you find yourself worrying? I don’t care if it is worrying about your children, family, lover, finances, or the many other items in your life and mind.

Now just one more question. Is the worry worth it?

These are two questions that I hope linger in your minds as we dive into the topic of worry. Now let’s look closer to find the possible good, bad, and purpose of worrying. As well as some ways to help smooth out this stressful process.

Things we Worry about.

The reasons that we worry seem to be endless. Though there seems to be a common theme among this endless list of worrisome subjects. The theme is that we care about them, or we believe they are going to harm what we care for. If we didn’t care about losing something if we didn’t feel something we cared about was threatened, what reason would we have to worry about it?

To care about something is to be emotionally invested. It is a very human thing to care. It is also quite human to worry about losing something that we care for. The world is an unpredictable place, full of unknowns that could potentially be dangerous. Our minds project a fantasy into that world of unknowns to up the survival chances of the things that have our care. Sometimes we predict well and ward off potential threats, and other times there is nothing we can do about it.

But let’s back up a bit here. What is worry anyway? By clicking to read this article I am guessing that you are someone who has at some point worried. Like me, you know exactly what it feels like. You know the mind begins coming up with all sorts of stories to predict the future. I’m quite sure you also have felt the relief that comes from when the thing that’s worried about turns out to be completely fine. And you have probably had your worry be true.

To understand worry a little deeper, we need to talk briefly about its relationship to fear.

Worry and Fear.

At the heart of worry, I see fear. I see a natural process that is preparing us for change. This energizes our creative process, accelerating our minds to problem solve and get our bodies to take action. In this process, our minds and bodies are fighting change as well as preparing for the new, brewing up an incredible amount of creative energy. If the fear response is allowed to go on for too long it has negative consequences for the health of our bodies and our relationships.

You have probably heard of the bodies fight, flight or freeze response. This is a physical response in the body that is brought up by fear of potential threat. The brain begins cutting off the flow of energy to bodily processes that seem unnecessary for protecting itself from attack. That energy flows to the places in the body that will better protect us from said threat.

This response is a tricky bugger to deal with. Because the thing we are fearing doesn’t even need to be real for it to kick up this process. Our brains and bodies can direct us to put out fires that don’t even exist. We can perceive threats that are not even there. And if we have a history of trauma, hidden internal damage can easily be mistaken as external threats.

The fear response is and has been extremely important for our species ability to move forward through time. And still important in relatively safe times today. Though for individuals that have made a habit out of worry, the response is left to lay waste to eat away at our bodies from the inside out. For not very good reasons at all.

When Worry Gets Dysfunctional.

It is difficult to look into the lives of others and say worry is dysfunctional for them. Maybe we can only figure out what type of worry is dysfunctional for ourselves.

Today I realize worry is getting out of hand when I am feeling unproductive stress and not doing much to solve the problem that my life faces. When my mind has been going in circles and the stress builds, I know I need to slow down and reevaluate my thinking. I need to find out if I am actively and productively problem solving or just driving myself crazy.

Finding Relief from Worry.

It is highly important to learn how to shut down worry. This is whether the fear and possible paranoia are about a real or imagined scenario. Even though each of these can feel equally real.

If we continue to feed the fear, threats that are not there are more likely to be dreamed up. And the longer we feed the fear the more easily it is to convince ourselves that we should be worrying. It is like a car that is stuck in the mud, only digging itself in deeper when attempting to free itself.

So let’s work on finding our way out of the fear of worrying to get our creative energies directed into the right places.

1. Slow down to Feel the Fear and Other Emotions Present.

The old saying is that “cooler minds prevail.” To me, this means that we can find better courses of action when we slow down our worrying fear-based minds, emotions, and actions. When we cut off the worrying we can find better solutions than we could while being directed by our fear. Studies have shown that when too much fear is present, our IQ’s actually shrink.

Where there is worry there is fear and there is also pain. Maybe it is pain from a loss that is anticipated but not real. Or maybe it’s the pain in ourselves that is connected to the loss in the past. Whether the pain comes from anticipating our loss, re-feeling a past loss or experiencing loss in the present, it’s best to feel what is there.

Once the emotion is felt, the energy that is fueling the worry just might get a chance to dissipate. Feeling these emotions isn’t always easy, there may be fear, sadness, anger, and much else to feel. This obviously isn’t going to magically fix a real fear induced situation, but it will put us in a better place to act from a more sane self. We may find that the fear we are sensing has nothing to do with the world outside ourselves.

Worry Perception2. Remind Ourselves of Times that Worry and Our Perceptions have been Wrong.

Have you ever worked yourself up into a mess of worry and had the relief that comes from having it not be true? I sure have. This reminds me of when I was younger and would get spooked by a shape in a dark room. Only to turn on the light and have the monster be a couple jackets hanging on the wall. Well, I find this can still happen pretty easily in life, whether the fear is finances, politics or what have you. Not to say that all fears about these things are unfounded, but they don’t have to seem like such immediate dangers that have no hope.

These days I get a sense of peace from telling my worrying mind that all this fear right now may be full of crap. Reality is not always as it seems. I am truly grateful to understand that my world is much safer than my mind can lead me to believe.

3. Take Productive Action.

Worry can be a sign that some action needs to be taken. Maybe it is a clear action like getting out of the way of that moving vehicle or paying the electric bill. Though maybe the needed action is not so clear. The needed action might actually be to stop taking actions because we are creating unnecessary problems.

We need to find something to do with the energy that drives worry. If all I do is worry, I am not accomplishing a damn thing. But if I use my worry as a sign that helps me make an important change, then we are getting somewhere.

4. Let Go of the Need to Control.

Learning how to let go and trust is a beautiful thing. Now I am not telling anyone to put their head in the sand, not protecting themselves and loved ones. But when we find out that we cannot do anything about the situation, we can let it go. When we find out that our worry was unfounded, we can let it go. And after we have taken the proper actions to make it through the fearful situation, we can now let that go too.

Who in their right minds desires to stress themselves out with worry when they don’t have to. There is freedom in letting go of control.

5. Let our Trusted People Help with this Entire Process.

Talking to our trusted friends when worrying can have many benefits. They may be able to help us calm down if we can’t do that by ourselves. As well as help us come to terms with what is real in what we are fearing, and what we have some control over. They can help guide us into the next right action to take. If we are not able to come to terms with what to do on our own, we need healthy and trustworthy people to help us.

Some people run absolutely everything in their lives through the minds of those around them. This doesn’t happen to be my approach. For me, I am much more comfortable doing what I can do and then enlisting the support of others when my efforts prove to not be enough. Whichever level of support you require or desire, the truth remains that healthy relationships are essential

Worry ReliefConclusion.

The question I care to answer here is in the title of this article. What is worrying good for?

I cannot say that worry is good for absolutely nothing. Because there is something important happening for us when worry arises. It is telling us that something is not right with our world with a lot of energy to solve the issue.

Worry may be telling us there something wrong with our outside world or our inside world. Which one it is isn’t always so clear but by implementing the list above, you may find your way to the answer. That worry is present is an important sign to fix a problem, correct. But finding a way out of the worry is of even greater importance.

To be worrying is to be unproductively stressing out. It is a thief of creative energies when left to its own devices. But worry does not have control over us if we can catch ourselves in it. And it is possible to find gratitude and healthy solutions even in times where it feels uncontrollably powerful. Relieving ourselves of the habit of worry is a very real thing.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

Feeling Sadness: Creating Space to Heal.

Sadness is an emotion that any human and likely every other being on this planet experiences. To most, including myself, the feeling of sadness is an emotional experience that would rather not be had than had.

Either way, feeling sadness is immensely important for adapting to our lives in responsible and healthy ways. Here is a take on getting the most of it.

What is Sadness?

As far as the physiological processes in the brain and body in regards to the sadness I do not know. What I do know is the way the emotion feels, when I am actively working with it. I also know the stress I feel when I am distracting myself from it.

Sadness in my mind is inextricably linked to the experience of loss. That loss may be because of a change in relationship with loved ones, deaths, crushed hopes and expectations. As well as seeing the hardships of those we love and even strangers. It is an essential piece in the grieving process. Sometimes the source of the sadness is clearly seen. But just as often for me I can’t tell why the sadness is present.

This emotion is not to be confused with depression, even though persistent feelings of sadness are a definite symptom for a depressed individual. No, sadness is it’s own beautiful, sometimes pain in the ass experience. It is a normal human response to undesired change. ACTUALLY feeling this emotion has been pivotal in recovering my life.

Sadness allows connection to the moment by letting go of what is no longer real, or what no longer can safely be continued. It requires surrendering our thoughts about how our realities should be so we can see how they actually are. This process may range from aggravatingly painful to eerily enjoyable. But even though the process can be painful, the pain of unproductive stress and extra life problems of fighting it is much greater.

For me, there is no responsible adaptation to change without letting go and allowing myself to be vulnerable to feeling sad. Without feeling our sadness there is no healing, there is no healthy grieving. Which inevitably leaves us with unfinished emotional business to deal with later down the road of our lives.

The Relationship Between Sadness and Anger.

The relationship between sadness and anger can make surrendering to sadness tricky. It sometimes seems as if the two emotions don’t get to be in the same room together. Though at a closer look a healthy relationship can be had between one another.

The emotion of anger is an energy that compels us to make creative action happen. We can do this in healthy ways, or not so healthy ways. Depending on how much emotional pain is involved, the ability to cope, and willingness to bend the rules of society.

Anger is also a protector, it protects hopes, expectations, our bodies, our self-image, and of course our relationships. If any of these is harmed, pain is felt and our anger seeks to rectify the situation. Sometimes the use of anger can be productive in bringing about a positive outcome. Though other times we can take it too far, causing even more pain to be felt once we slow down and reconnect with our saner selves.

To feel sadness is to be processing this emotional pain. But even though this process that heals the pain can be mistaken as the source of the pain itself. So our anger may end up protecting us from our own healing process. The truth is that the pain was already present, and probably fueling all sorts of unproductive anger, fear, and resentment.

Sadness is an experience that creates healing. The healthy relationship between anger and sadness is developed when we can teach ourselves to not use our anger to run from our pain. And learn to use our anger to set healthy boundaries to create a safe space for the healing process to work its magic.

Important Things to Remember When Surrendering to Healing Sadness.

When surrendering into our sadness there are all sorts of things that make it difficult. To make sure we are able to convince ourselves and our anger that it is okay to let go there are some important things to remind ourselves of.

1. This Emotion isn’t Going to Feel Itself.

Putting off feeling our emotions has negative consequences for all aspects of our health. We may try to convince ourselves that we are okay without feeling this uncomfortable thing. It’s as if we think the emotion will magically take care of itself. It will take care of itself but not until we sit with it and allow it to process. Only we can set aside the time and find a safe place, only we can let our sadness heal the broken pieces.

2. We are Safe.

Of course there are individuals in the world that are literally fighting physical safety almost all the time. For me and most likely many of you reading this, there are plenty of safe places to get to.

Our brains may be convinced that surrendering to the moment isn’t the safe thing to do. It would rather have our head on a swivel, paying attention to every other thing in our minds or surroundings. Sometimes our brains need to do this. But we cannot go on like this for too long, the internal consequences from neglected feelings is too great. But the only way to settle the brain down is to convince it that this moment is safe and we can let go.

Even though allowing sadness allows the feeling of pain. The source of the pain is likely long gone in the past. When feeling gets rough, I remind myself that this moment is not trying to harm me and that feeling this emotion is only going to bring a better life.

3. The World can Take Care of Itself for a little bit.

There are many responsibilities in living a productive life. I know this now more than ever with a new mortgage and a 7 month old beautiful girl. But even when in a position to not have to take care of these relationships, my mind still does it. All these responsibilities can become a distraction in the moments that we should be allowing ourselves time to heal.

What I tell myself in these moments is that these relationships are safe without me for a moment. This is my time to heal and make sure I am in the best possible health for them in the long run.

4. Feeling is Not Weakness.

There is a strength that comes from feeling our emotions that cannot be gotten anywhere else. Feeling emotion provides mental and emotional flexibility. It allows us to not snap when the littlest things in our lives don’t go our way.

Many of us spend years running from feeling, this to me is the true weakness. Settling in and confronting the emotional pain in ourselves is courageous, not weak.

5. It is Okay to Cry and Okay to not Cry.

There is an immensely important quality in allowing tears to happen. But this is not to say that tears need to be had to feel emotion.

I am the kind of person that can get emotion out in this way privately. Other people are much more open with their tears than I am. Whatever way you find to get some tears out, as long as it isn’t hurting ourselves or others, is cool in my book.

So dudes, you aren’t a punk if you let a few tears out!

In Summary

Allowing ourselves to feel sad can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. Surrendering to sadness can feel like giving up. And in a sense it is.

Surrendering to feeling our sadness is giving up what isn’t real, it is giving up trying to control what we cannot. It is also our healthy way into finding out what we can control and what is real.

I don’t know about you but I have spent far too many moments running from reality. It angers me to know how much energy I have wasted protecting myself from my healing process. This anger is good though, I can use it to be a loving but stern voice as I attempt to run away from myself in the future. I get to use it to help me grow.

I invite you to do the same. If you are caught up in anger or finding other ways to numb yourself from emotion, please stop. Set aside some time, create a sacred space to do some feeling. You will not regret it.

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

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Healing Depression: Recovering our Repressed Creative Energy.

Depression is a familiar state of being for many individuals in the world. I have visited this state many times. And no doubt you are close to someone or are someone for whom depression is a danger.

The “World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It’s also the world’s leading cause of disability.” This is what healthline.com reports.

With my tendency leading to becoming another one of those more than 300 million people, this is how I keep myself not depressed and continuing on with living a successful life.

A View on Depression.

Psychologist Sigmund Freud referred to depression as “anger turned inward.” But what does that mean?

In My Life Experiment’s last article we described anger as an expression of our creative energy attempting to break free from resistances.

The more of our energy that doesn’t find it’s way into the world through us, the more aggressive the energy becomes. And the more aggressive we may become.

Now there are many ways to dysfunctionally attempt to express aggression. It can be taken out on others in a way that produces more shame and anger toward ourselves. Or we can just skip the middle man and take it out directly on ourselves.

Whichever way our angry energies don’t find a way out they will still begin or continue the growth of a depressive cycle.

Too Hard on Ourselves?

On many occasions, while navigating my way through a chemical addicted life, people would tell me the same thing. “Travis, you are way too hard on yourself.” And honestly, I couldn’t even comprehend what that meant.

It is as if the hyper-self-critical voice inside of my head was so convinced that life could only be an anxious mess that I couldn’t even see that I couldn’t comprehend what lightening up was.

I understand the problem for myself now though. I was stuck. Stuck in a cycle that never ended up releasing the powerful energies that grew inside.

Almost all the ways I found to help ease the inner tension, were dysfunctional and bore very little helpful fruit. Yet all the dysfunctional ways found themselves to be much easier than the healthy.

Many individuals in this world have either never found out how or have forgotten how to be healthy and happy. It is a sad thing to realize how many people are stuck on being too hard on themselves. But thankfully I know there is a way out, mainly because I have found mine.

Depression Man

Turning the Volume Down on Depression.

With a state called Depression, it would seem that there shouldn’t be all that much mental activity happening. But I for one know that in a depressed state, the mind is painfully loud. I say painfully because the messages being repeated are about all of the unfinished emotional business that has built up over the years.

Every ended relationship, passed love one, thing that wasn’t said or was said, and unmet expectation desires all of our attention. Desiring it so badly that it feels almost impossible to think of something else.

The pain and built up anger fuels the harshness of the internal voice. It desires to be heard so badly as if it is a victim of bodily torture saying anything to find a way out of its present moment.

I paint a desperate internal situation here because it certainly can be. But even though, there are certainly ways out of this seemingly hopeless situation.

But there is hope and the volume can be turned down. It may seem impossible but I believe that is depression doing the talking.

More on Depression and How to Turn the Volume Down.

Before I show you a list on how to turn the volume down on depression I first need to tell you that these are only my personal insights. Though I find them to be true and helpful, they are not a prescription from a trained professional.

Also, it is important to know that depression and sadness are nowhere near the same thing. Sadness is a normal emotion, and to me is very important to healing and moving on with our lives. And even though constant feelings of sadness are a symptom of depression, depression is it’s own beast altogether. For more on the symptoms of depression and the difference between depression and sadness check out this Healthline.com article.

Lastly, it is important to know that there are different types of depression. Some forms of depression are more situational and may be easier to find our ways out of. Others are clinical and are more persistent than situational types. Both types are serious and need immediate attention. For more information on the difference between situational and clinical depression check this article out.

Now on to our list for getting on top of depression and turning the volume down.

1. Talk to a Trained Professional.

If you are feeling deeply depressed or don’t know if you are simply feeling sad more often than usual, please get your yourself checked out.

A trained professional can help ease the pain of all that pent up energy. They may prescribe a medication, give advice about taking care of ourselves and just as important as both of those, give us a judgment-free zone to express feelings. Though even if we visit a professional we are the ones that have to put in all the hard work.

2. Follow the Doctors Orders.

So you went to see a trained professional and they gave you some ideas for taking care of yourself. I advise to do them. By visiting a professional you have already admitted there is a problem that you didn’t have an answer to. Many of us don’t want to feel controlled by the orders of a trained professional. We may think they are just trying to make money off of us or numb out our creative potential by giving us drugs. And maybe on some occasions, this may be the truth but for the most part, they create a safer atmosphere for healing than we can conjure alone.

There may also be shame and self-anger involved in not being able to fend for ourselves and needing the support of another. But just remember. Who made the visit to the professional? And who is deciding to go along with the prescribed plan? Nobody is being forced into anything here. Though I definitely gained a great deal by not fighting the suggestions that were offered to me throughout my mental health recovery.

For my recovery, I took meds when they were needed. Later on when in a very good place I decided that I wanted to see what life was like without them. I went to the Dr. and expressed my desire to wean off. They said that it was worth a shot, so we came up with a plan to come off of them safely.

Depression community3. Join a Community of Healthy Like Minded Individuals.

As a recovering addict, a huge part of the health of my being has been showing up to 12 step recovery fellowship. In this fellowship, I have found my wife, a mentor, many friends, and helpful acquaintances. These people have helped me expose my anger and have supported me as I find new ways to express my energy.

My family has also been crucially important and can also play the role of a helpful community. Though I feel I have learned how to be a healthy part of that dynamic by having a large fellowship in recovery to spread my energy through. Many individuals that suffer from depression have a painful dynamic with family. Having a larger community to be a part of can relieve the stress and pain that the family might go through as we recover.

Please find your way into a 12 step program, a church, a large group of close-knit friends and family, or all the above. Being connected to these healthy supports can help us navigate our way through depression. And our continued connection with them will help whenever the symptoms of depression rear their ugly head once again.

4. Get on the Path of Self-Discovery.

It is easy to become completely disconnected from who we are as human beings. From birth, we are told who we are and what we should believe. As life goes on the battle with self continues as we judge ourselves against the paths of others and think less of ourselves as a result. Coming back home to who we are is of the utmost importance. Although it is a path with many heavy emotions, it is also the path opening up our repressed energy to find it’s way into the world.

In my recovery, I have done this by sharing about myself in hundreds of recovery meetings and many hours of one on one work with a trusted mentor.

There are ways I have gotten more in touch with myself that don’t actually require other peoples input as well. Meditation has been a very important part of getting in touch with my body. Another immensely important part of my recovery today is what I call Therapeutic Writing. Here is a link to check out the Therapeutic Writing process I use to get in touch with what I am feeling and find out more about myself.

By discovering more about ourselves we can find out what behaviors only fuel anger, shame, and depression. Then we can finally leave these behaviors that don’t work for our spirits, behind. As well as come to understand what new behaviors would work better for us. Whatever way you end up learning about yourself, get on it immediately.

5. Stay Active with Multiple Hobbies.

As we leave our old Depression causing ways behind, we need new outlets for our energy. As human beings, we have far too much creative energy to just be wasting it. Whether that means finding new hobbies or getting in touch with hobbies we enjoyed in the past we need to be using them as an outlet. Not finding outlets for our energy will only enhance Depression.

To me, a hobby is simply an outlet for our energy. So whether you hit the gym, hang out with friends, read, underwater basket weave, or whatever get busy with them. That is unless your hobbies are harmful to yourself or others. In that case, please find some new hobbies!

6. Find Ways to Give Back.

In recovery, I have been able to get in touch with and release a great deal of that built up creative energy that was fueling depression, anxiety, and obsession. There is soo much-repressed energy that lies latent inside a depressed individual. Finding ways to use this energy for the individuals that have helped us when we couldn’t help ourselves can be extremely gratifying. It can also be very rewarding to help those who are currently unable to do much for themselves.

We can give back to a community that helps us, our family, our career or society as a whole. Helping others is an important piece of staying aware of our importance in the world. All of that energy that has been locked inside of our bodies for years may be pleased that is getting used for something meaningful.

Keep up the Fight. Whether you Battle Depression or Simply Desire to Feel Better.

Depression Strong CoffeeIt is important to understand that we need to stay grounded and in the moment to maintain our mental and emotional health. This is something that the above things on this list will help you do. But it is also very important to remember that us individuals that have become acquainted with depression, risk relapse when getting too comfortable. We must remember that recovery and maintaining a healthy, happy and content life requires a commitment to finding healthy avenues for our creative energies.

When we don’t feel so hot, we must keep moving forward. Also when we are feeling on top of the world we need to continue moving forward as well. We must never give up, vigilance is key in maintaining our own sanity.

Just navigating the world is tough enough as it is for the average human being. I believe anybody can benefit from the message and tips we have given here today.

So whether you are prone to depression or not, stay strong your life is worth fighting for.

 

Well, that is all we have for today and thank you so much for stopping into My Life Experiment. What is written here has come from struggle and growth.
We truly believe that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit.

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