Trusting: Finding a Healthy Path for Giving Our Trust.

Trust and Being Actively Trusting.

Life without being able to give our trust to others is a lonely undertaking. Of course, trusting others can lead to painful situations when things go badly in relationships. But it also an ingredient that is entirely necessary to maintain healthy relationships.

Let’s take a little deeper look at this topic and see if we can find some ways to avoid some of the pain of trusting. And of course, find healthy ways to give it out.

A definition for trust I found describes it as a ” firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Trust is so important to the health of our relationships and for maintaining our mental and emotional health.

But it is not enough to simply believe in the reliability, strength, etc, of this or that relationship. We must put our trust into action and be actively trusting to receive the full benefits.

To be trusting is to consistently show this belief to ourselves and to our trustworthy relationships through our actions. It is to push doubtful thoughts to the side when we are fed untruths. As well as to remind ourselves that the intentions of the other party are good unless clearly proven otherwise.

Trusting PainWhy Trusting can be Difficult.

Trusting others is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Why? The obvious answer that comes to my mind is pain.

To give our trust is to let our guards down, to be vulnerable. So the same essential element to maintaining a healthy relationship also leaves us open to the potential for great pain.

Most of us have no doubt had our trust disrespected. Trusted friends may have gossiped behind your back. Close romantic relationships may have shown themselves to be unfaithful or abandoned us. The business you work for may not have given you the raise you were expecting and deserve. Any of these examples and many more are a cause for disappointment and emotional pain. They may have us trusting that relationships are not worth trusting since all they bring is more pain.

Allowing ourselves to give our trust to someone and having them take advantage of our vulnerability is a real possibility. In fact, it is going to happen many times throughout our lives. So what just wander up into the hills and denounce all relationships?

Few of us will seriously think that is the answer. What is needed is a balanced approach to trusting others, one in which we still get healthy relationships and less chance of having our trust abused.

Actively Trusting and Healthy Relationship.

It is easy for me to see that without trusting others there is no foundation for a healthy relationship. Giving our trust is needed to be able to let our guards down, and let other people into our lives. It is also necessary to keep them in our lives and in our confidences.

Without trust, the mind tends to question the goodness of most intentions. It is left to wade around in an endless sea of mistrust. All of those past relationships that either betrayed us or where we perceived betrayal, can fuel suspicion in our current thoughts and perceptions. This is close to the death of any healthy relationship.

Being actively trusting in a relationship does not mean keeping our heads in fairytale land, thinking others will never betray our trust or hurt us. But it does require us to leave the pathway for communication open to allow others to make amends and correct the pain. And also to eventually leave the relationship if the behavior does not improve. It also means not expecting that all the things that went wrong in the past are destined to repeatedly happen again.

Trusting PathFinding the Healthy Path to Trusting.

Trusting others, of course, comes with its risks as well as it’s benefits. Though in my mind as long as some self-work is done a healthy path to trusting can be found.

1. Develop Self Trustworthiness.

All through my recovery, I have heard an important statement about trusting others. I was told that the way to trust others is to be trustworthy myself. But what does my own trustworthiness have to do with trusting others? The answer lies in the fact that when I am able to trust myself, then I will generally judge the trustworthiness of others more effectively.

This Psychology Today article outlines the problem of jealousy in relationships. It gives some evidence that jealous and overly suspicious partners in a relationship are much more likely to be the unfaithful ones. The article focuses on romantic relationships and cheating but there are many types of relationships in life. In any of these relationships, when we are trying to get one over on the other individuals involved, we are very likely going to be suspicious of their actions. Whether they are faithful to the relationship or not.

Our own lack of trustworthiness gets projected onto others, hurting relationships. When we feel deep down that we are trustworthy we are more likely to project the opposite, and give a healthy relationship a chance to grow.

Thankfully over the years I have learned many skills that have led me to develop self-trustworthiness. One of them is practicing forgiveness towards myself and others.

2. Forgiveness of Self and Others.

In order to develop self-trustworthiness and actively trust, we must also learn how to forgive. Working on forgiving ourselves of our past and present. As well as doing the same for the individuals surrounding me.

Throughout my recovery from addiction, I have had to dissect my past to recognize painful emotions coming from experiences where I felt wronged or wronged others. I have had to forgive myself and feel those emotions. This has allowed me to be more trusting, spending less of my creative energy reliving the pain of past emotions while trying to live in the moment.

To forgive is not necessarily to forget. Our pasts and our pain have a great deal to teach us, they are not to be forgotten. Though often times I have found that as healing happens, the unimportant tends to disappear from the memory anyway. Forgiveness tends to put our relationships into a healthy perspective. But all this forgiveness only works when we are living respectably.

3. Living Respectably.

Living respectably to me means simply living in ways that don’t cause ourselves unnecessary guilt. Ways that are in line with OUR OWN moral compasses.

As I said above when we live and think dirty, we tend to expect others to be doing the same. But when living respectably, we wind up projecting less of our own negative intentions onto others.  It frees our minds up to be less critical, more kind and better judges of the characters of others.

Also when by living respectably we tend to attract more trustworthy people into our lives. People that are more able to be trusted. But of course there are days where I am feeling tricky emotions and I may feel unsafe and more likely to not give my trust out. Though as long as I continue to live in a way that I won’t regret, the emotion will pass and I will return to a more trusting self.

Trusting LedgeConclusion

So yes, being trusting can be a complicated issue. But even though it has it’s risks, the rewards are incredible. It doesn’t really matter if you have been too trusting in the past or scared to trust at all there is a balanced way of giving out trust that can be learned. One that is backed up with boundaries with others and still isn’t isolationist. It may take work and it may require lots of healing from painful emotions, but it is entirely possible.

There are many amazing people out in the world to be met, and new depths to be discovered in already intimate relationships. Each of these requiring us to put our guards down a little bit more and allowing ourselves to trust.

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.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

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.

To see our Terms and Conditions click here

Anger: An Unsung Emotion for Moving Forward.

Anger has a bit of a bad reputation. And many of us do not have a healthy relationship with anger but it is never too late to turn that around. We can develop a healthy relationship with the emotion and learn how to use the energy it carries in healthy ways. In ways that will free our healthy ambitions, enhance mental health, and lead us to our best lives possible.

So What is Anger?

I believe that at the very heart of anger is a being’s ambitious and creative bodily impulses seeking to find it’s way. When the energy doesn’t find it’s way into the world, it gets built up. This only generates more persistence to find liberation from the resistance against it. It means more anger to push us to get moving.

Anger is not necessarily pleasant energy to deal with. It is also not an energy that will be easily ignored. It is not just going to go away. At first, these angry thoughts and impulses may gently ask for our attention. With the asking turning to forceful demands as we neglect to respond and take action.

When we don’t take the actions we need to for too long the energy may take action into its own hands. It may create all sorts of problems internally and with our relationships.

The Battle with my Anger.

Anger Face

I would love to say that my history with anger has been rooted in nothing but a healthy expression of the emotion. But no, it has been loaded with dysfunction and pain.

I had no clue that I simply had an abundance of creative energy that had nowhere to go.

Because of my lack of awareness of the crazy amount of energy in me and the anger I developed I damaged or destroyed many relationships and opportunities for success. It wasn’t until I began my journey of recovery that I began healing relationships and learning about the source of my anger. As well as doing work to heal the past that exists inside of myself.

Today, the ways I deal with my anger has mostly entered the world of the sane. My anger only sneaks in and causes problems once in a while, and to a much lesser degree than in the past. Because over the years I have found a new way to live.

Anger

Lessening the Danger in Anger.

The danger in anger is clear. I am sure we all know someone or have been someone who has spilled this energy out in ways that cause embarrassment, humiliation, relationship loss or even jail time.

Dealing with anger irresponsibly doesn’t process the emotion. And unprocessed energy in anger leads to excess stress, anxiety, and diminished mental health

The Buddha likened holding onto anger to “holding onto hot coals.” So in order to process it, we must find healthy ways to let this sometimes painful energy find its way out of us and into the world. To me, this doesn’t mean that any form of acting on or communicating anger is harmful. But we do need to find the right ways.

In this study, individuals were asked to respond in an either aggressive or non-aggressive way to a situation. The researchers wanted to see if either way of responding would lessen the amount of anger felt in those individuals. The study found that not acting did a better job of lessening anger than trying to vent the anger aggressively.

The findings may run contrary to what our anger might tell us will work to release our tension. Anger may say I better yell at this person because they pissed me off. It might also say I need to quit this job because I don’t like the way the boss looked at me. There are an endless supply of probably dangerously silly decisions the thoughts that go along with anger can lead us to make.

Healthy Ways to Deal with Anger.

The study above may have said that not acting did a better job than acting aggressively. Though doing nothing too often, can lead us to be pushovers or to be in denial of issues we need to deal with. And acting out on anger in rash ways usually causes more problems than we started with. So what is the answer here?

We have compiled a list of healthy ways of dealing with the possibly misguided thoughts and impulses of being angry that don’t involve aggression or doing nothing. We hope they can help you process your anger and develop a better relationship with it.

1. Don’t make hasty decisions.

Far too often when I am feeling angry I think that something needs to be done right here and right now. Though more often than not, taking actions in haste when angry has created unnecessary problems.

If you are angry and the job, spouse or whatever else is the target of those possibly violent thoughts, please take some deep breathes and don’t quit. Don’t abandon the relationship just yet. Our judgment may be clouded and we need to step back to find out what is REAL! Then if you find out you actually are being taken advantage of then find a healthy way to leave or stay.

2. Chat with trusted friends.

After holding off on making quick decisions while too pissed off, allow a close friend to chat with. A trusted friend can help us calm down and may help us see the next course of action. But remember too much venting with the friend may actually not make things better so try and keep a cool head.

Keeping a cool head with your trusted people will allow them to give more sound advice. Otherwise, they may just be pressured into agreeing with angry demands.

3. Do some Therapeutic Writing.

A lot of the time when I am angry I will turn to therapeutic writing. This is a process that has helped me keep from making many silly angry decisions. I sit down with a pen, paper and calming music. I write to find my responsibility, not to simply vent my frustrations. I seek real feeling, and healing.

Sometimes simply jotting down a bunch of things I am grateful does great things for slowing my anger down.

4. Let go of Some Expectations.

The World not meeting my expectations for it can be a great source of my anger. This definitely isn’t to say that all expectations are unnecessary. Though some can be realistic and others just setting ourselves up to be pissed off. It is good to take a break from what we are doing and examine our expectations for ourselves and others when angry. Then we can let go of those expectations that are reasonable to let go of.

5. Get some Exercise.

It always amazes me what a half hour pushing it hard on the elliptical can do for my anger and stress levels. By exercising, anger gets a nice outlet, though I recommend not thinking too angry of thoughts while working out. Then it just becomes an aggressive outlet which as I said above may be less effective than doing nothing.

Here is an article of “10 Exercises to Help Reduce Anger.”

6. Meditate.

When attempting meditation in an angry state, it may take a little time for the mind to slow down. There will likely be a phase where meditating is the last we want to do. Our thoughts and energy may scream at us to get up and quit this stupid silence crap. Soon that voice and those impulses will subside and we will be returned to a more sensible state.

There have been many meditations that have completely melted away that anger I was once feeling. It is one of the most freeing feelings I have experienced.

7. Take a Nap.

Sometimes a nap may help immensely. Although naps may not be the easiest thing to have for someone that lives a busy life. Just a little nap can help me settle down the emotion I am feeling. This can give me a better perspective on what I currently see as a problem. And if the issue does need attention, I now may have a little more energy to take care of it!

8. Get a Bite to Eat.

I find it crazy to think about how many times I have gotten angry from things that seem like no real big deal then go have a bite to eat and have the aggression just melt away. Getting hangry is a real thing. So who knows maybe your not mad that an individual called you the wrong name at work, you may just be hungry!

9. Take Some Time to Stretch.

I am not talking about doing a bunch of yoga poses or anything like that! Sitting too much throughout the day builds up excess tension in the body. Tension and anger go hand in hand with one another.

Just taking a little bit of time to bend down to touch my toes and stretch my back goes a long way to help me get some relief from feeling angry. It takes no time at all but I don’t remember a time my body didn’t appreciate it.

10. Pray.

Taking some time out to thank a higher power can help lift the stress of anger. Whether you believe in god, a helpful universe, your subconscious or whatever. Stopping to ask for some assistance or to express gratitude can be a productive solution.

The Creative in Anger.

creative anger

The list above is meant to get us back into a state of mind that isn’t having us controlled by our anger. It is to get us back in control of ourselves. When we are back in control of ourselves, we are much less likely to make destructive decisions. We will be in a position to allow that energy that is coursing through our bodies to do something productive.

Anger often leads the way in my creative process. I work on something, which could be anything complex, then I get confused. Then I get frustrated and then pissed. After I use some of the healthy ways of dealing with my anger from the list above, I generally find myself feeling something and then moving on. Dealing with my anger in healthy ways has healed and enhanced relationships and brought me the success I once never thought possible.

Anger is full of creative energy. Once we can get our thoughts and impulses under the guidance of our more sane self we can use them and the energy to create responsibly.

My relationship with my anger is not always a comfortable one. But I feel life isn’t meant for staying comfortable. Life is meant for creativity and growth, and anger will help us blaze new trails that will lead to amazing opportunities.

So I ask you today. If you are scared of your anger or are misusing it in ways that are hurting yourself and others, please join me in developing a healthy relationship with anger. Your stress levels and mental health will appreciate your decision. And you just may find that the deepest parts of yourself are using it to help you find the best your life can be.

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

Quit Numbing Your Ambitious Energy.

There is a great deal of ambitious energy that naturally seeks to create in the world through us.

Neglecting to use this energy brings pain, and a desire to numb out and escape this pain. Though numbing out this pain may temporarily help with the pain, it also has other undesirable consequences.

My Painful History of Numbing out Dreams.

I remember when I was in the heart of being a using addict. There was a paralyzed feeling when it came to attempting anything that may better my life. This came from years of letting myself and others down. For me, to dream was to come face to face with the reality of how hopeless I felt.

This also happened before using chemicals ever came into the picture. Though early on it wasn’t such a paralyzed feeling. There was a level of resistance that grew over time.

When I first began using I thought I found the solution. It felt magical. I found myself not caring as much about being awkward in social situations. And not caring as much about letting others down. Though as the years went on, the using escalated and my hopes and dreams began passing me by, one by one. Using was the best I could do to not go crazy from the stress of not living my ambitions

In the end, the amount of using that needed to happen to keep the stress dampened destroyed my body from the inside out. Numbing out the stress of my unlived ambition didn’t make the stress go away it only gave me more to work on once I stopped.

Ways of Numbing and Escaping Ourselves.

I have been clean and in recovery from addiction for a decade now, but still, find myself trying to escape reality on the daily. From what I see, much of society seeks to escape reality compulsively on the daily.

In the last My Life Experiment article, we touched on the importance of setting aside time for relaxation. The troublesome thing is that these same methods that may be used for relaxation, can very easily turn into methods for numbing ourselves to current unwanted emotions.

Be it social media, Netflix, daydreaming, thinking, partying, reading, shopping, self-righteousness, worry, sex, sarcasm, anger, etc, etc.. The list goes on in on. My sponsor in recovery likes to say that a person can become addicted to anything they can do more than once. I tend to agree.

Maybe not all methods of numbing and emotional escapism have as severe consequences as the way I used chemicals, but they all have undesired consequences.

The Balance Between Relaxation and Escapism.

Numbing Escapism

A big consequence of too much escapism is having life thrown off balance. When binge-watching the latest series on Netflix we are generally not doing all sorts of important things I could be taking care of. When staring at our phones too often we are likely not getting as much quality time with my relationships. So, in turn, we miss out on new opportunities to grow and experiment with life.

Whenever a tool for relaxation interferes with other healthy desires too often, escaping may be the mission, not just relaxation.

I get it though, it is important to take ourselves off the grid throughout the day. Whether that be a little daydreaming, checking the phone, or having a good laugh with a friend. I don’t believe we as human beings are supposed to be ultra-productive every moment of our lives. That idea makes me cringe a little when I think of it.

So how can we know when we are Escaping rather than relaxing? There are some questions we can ask ourselves.

  • Am I spending too much time doing this activity?
  • Are there any important decisions I am putting off?
  • Is there a fear I am experiencing?
  • Do I feel like I am avoiding conversations with others?
  • Are my nerves on particularly high alert?

If these questions prove to ring true then there is probably some numbing out to escape reality going on. So it would be a helpful idea to take care of the problem area these questions are alluding to.

Seek Feeling Not Numbing.

It seems that some of the numbing we seek is to escape the fear of the future. Others to escape painful feelings of the past.

There are a couple things the past and future have in common. First of all, they do not exist, either anymore or not yet. Second, the only time the emotions about them exist is in the present moment.

The present is also the only place we can seek to escape them, as well as the only place that we can feel them. But we cannot feel them when compulsively seeking relief from them.

We need to slow down, let go and be vulnerable. Once we are able to calm our nerves and feel what we need to feel we can get back to the moment. Then we can get our thoughts and bodies back in a healthy relationship with our ambitious energy.

We all have our histories that have grief, trauma, and many other painful emotions. Getting in touch them is the only productive thing to do with them. Running away from them is not. They always catch up eventually. Attempts to escape them are fruitless, they don’t have to hunt us down like in the movies. They are right inside of us.

Feeling Not Numbing

Finding New Ways of Living.

Feeling these emotions is not enough though. Getting in touch with our ambition is not enough either. We need to decide to use this energy in a productive way.

When I entered recovery, I had all sorts of dysfunctional ways of behaving. I would guess that you are likely in a better position than I was. But even I was able to and continue to latch onto healthy new ways of behaving.

This requires letting go of the ways we waste our time and seek too much comfort from our ambition. Then both finding new friendships, hobbies, ideas to study and skills to learn. And most importantly finding better ways to bring value to the relationships we currently have.

There is no shortage of ways to be creative in our own little worlds. So my advice is to spread the energy around to many different areas. I would tell you what you should go have fun with but only you can figure out what brings you both challenge and pleasure for yourself. Have fun, my friend!

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 sincerely wish you amazing success in developing a healthy relationship with all your ambitious energies.

 

It is our belief that if you take today’s lessons to heart and apply them, that you will greatly benefit. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.

 

Relaxation is Our Own Responsibility.

Life can be go go go far too often. The mind moving from one thing to the next, non-stop and habitually. My brain, in particular, cannot handle this type of activity for long. It has been immensely important for me to set aside time for Relaxation.

Balance Between Stress and Relaxation?

It is important to have a certain amount of stress in our lives to pump energy into our daily affairs. Though it is easy to go from a healthy amount to a territory of stress that will inhibit being productive.

According to the Yerkes-Dodson Law, “performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point. When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases.” The law asserts that stress is only helpful when it is in a range that is not too low and not too high. Not too little stress because then there will not be enough energy to keep us engaged with an activity. And not too high of stress because then our nerves may get in the way of us being productive and successful.

There is a balancing act to be played with when it comes to how much we should relax and how much we should be amped up. This isn’t always easy with the world running at the speed it goes at today.

Balance Relaxation

The World wants a lot of Us.

To be honest, the world, in general, wants a lot out of each and every one of us. I am not saying that it seeks to keep us amped up, but does a damn good job of doing this. When it comes to finding the balance between stress and relaxation, the balance must come from our own efforts. The world wants our time and energy and we must decide how much of them it gets.

Relaxation is on me, people generally won’t let me know I need to relax until I am showing significant signs of fatigue. If I am getting too amped up with anger someone will say “maybe it is time to chill out man”! And when the bags under my eyes are hanging way low someone will ask, ” Hey, you look wrecked.”

This isn’t me complaining about how the world divvies out expectations, only saying I’m responsible to ensure I’m relaxing enough.

Relaxation Isn’t Always Easy.

Relaxing my mind after being busy can be like a full speed freight train putting on the breaks and stopping. It can take a mile or more for the train to come to a halt. The same goes for my mind when I am attempting relaxation. When too amped up and trying to relax, my mind has to go through a laundry list of items to process. The laundry list isn’t good or bad, my brain just needs to process it.

My biggest problem with relaxation is an attachment to electronic devices. In my car the radio is on, I get home and Netflix gets turned on, and the cellphone is a formidable adversary to my mind taking a nice break. The problem is that when I have time designated for relaxation, the time is filled with a further flood of information from the devices.

While my brain is supposed to be processing existing info and emotions, the new info being brought in is getting in the way of the process, creating, even more, to be processed!

I don’t know how many relaxation sessions have turned into scrolling through Facebook. A half hour into the scroll session I find myself angry and overwhelmed and don’t really know why! Well, I know why I just flooded my brain and it was counterproductive to my relaxation!

This isn’t even an argument against Facebook or other social media, I find them very useful for different purposes. But once again RELAXATION IS ON ME. The World is not set up to have me turn away from it. It wants attention!

Relaxation Requires Commitment.

Without a doubt, our own relaxation is on ourselves. Once and awhile an angel of a person will come along and say “you need to rest my child”. But those encounters are few and far between, so I cannot wait around for them!

Relaxation requires commitment, and commitment to a plan nonetheless. Here are some tips to help plan out a successful relaxation session.

1. Set Aside Time for Relaxation.

Without Setting aside the time for relaxation we are doomed from the start. Write the time into the schedule, if possible make it a routine time every week. This can save stress and complaining of not knowing when we will be able to relax. It is okay to set aside our time for ourselves.

2. Learn how to say NO!

The World around us has limitless responsibilities to offer us. If we don’t say No to the offers that would take our relaxation time away, we will give the time away. This means more stress and lost opportunity to relax! That is unless the opportunity gives more relaxation than what I was already going to be doing. It is okay to say NO!

3. Use the Devices Wisely.

A lot of the time, my devices get in the way of my relaxation and they need to disappear for me to relax. Though there are also ways in which my devices may enhance the amount of relaxation I feel. Sometimes I can find a good song that comforts me or a good movie that invokes important emotion. Hell, I even used an app called Insight Timer to help me meditate more regularly. So if devices can be used to enhance the relaxation process or help us feel an emotion, I say that is a good use of them.

4. People Find Relaxation in Different Sources.

What is relaxing for me may not be relaxing for you. Whether you find relaxation in fishing, meditating, napping, getting a manicure, taking a long drive or whatever else, then awesome. Find these sources of relaxation and put them in the routine as fast as possible, to find balance in a hectic world.

Relaxation Is on Ourselves.

Relaxation Responsibility

If there is anything I wanted to It is that RELAXATION IS ON OURSELVES. I cannot relax for you and you cannot relax for me. Our families, our spouses, our friends may help in the process sometimes but they cannot force us to relax!

You are worth setting aside some time to chill out and process what is needed to be processed and get in touch with the present. It is rewarding and crucial that you and I find time to do so.

Be busy when you need to be. Find relaxation when needed as well. When we find the balance between the two in this crazy busy world, life is a beautiful 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

 

 

 

 

Lessening Suffering By Being Teachable.

In the last 10 years that I have been in recovery from addiction, a certain principle has been immensely important to my success. That principle is remaining TEACHABLE.

My History with Being Teachable.

This guys history with being teachable before recovery is a horribly checkered one.

I don’t remember much of being really young. But as far as I can look back on my life I could see that my mind was generally closed to what people had to teach.

In school, I was a destructive class clown. At home, I was kind of an entitled little brat. Though now I do understand that I was doing the best I could with what I had. Though for some reason my brain was naturally obstinate, refusing most information that people need to get by in a law-abiding world.

This type of attitude toward letting people teach me only intensified. Though when I find out mind-altering chemicals would help me escape the jabbering of every ones teaching I fell in love. Finally, I didn’t seem to have to care. Also, many people that would have tried to teach me pretty much gave up trying as well. Heaven right?

What seemed to me like heaven was actually unknowingly signing me up for a rough damn ride through life.

By the time I was able to enter recovery and get my act together, I had made an incredible mess of my existence. Being closed off to the world teaching me how to live life only gained me increasing amounts of suffering.

Ledge Teachable

Why Be Teachable?

This is something you must answer for yourself. For me I allow myself to be teachable because I have made the decision to never cause myself the suffering I once felt. Who in their right minds desires to suffer?

That is also the point! When we excessively close ourselves off from the healthy thoughts of others, suffering generally increases.

There is something within all of us that strives to expand, grow and create. But we cannot use solely our own information to grow in the ways that are desired. We need the successes and the support of the thoughts and emotions of others to get where our bodies impulses instinctually desire to go.

I also need other people’s info because they see things I may not be seeing. And paraphrasing Buddha here, “suffering comes from being unaware of the causes of suffering.” Without other people’s info, I’m susceptible to walking into the causes of suffering ill-prepared and ready to get beat on.

The quality of life we most deeply desire requires allowing other people to teach us how to get it. That means showing us where to go as well as where not to go.

Being Teachable can go too Far.

To be teachable doesn’t mean that we are just be blown around by other people’s information. It doesn’t mean that we blindly accept ideas and run with them. But it does mean that if we feel the truth of some information, even if it goes against our beliefs, that it be taken sincerely.

Being teachable does require that we be open to having our minds changed. But not to the extent that we are left with a whole mess of ideas that we feel we are “supposed” to believe, instead of ones we feel to be true. Every human being needs to have a belief system to help the world make sense. So my motto is question everything, but not so often as to have the world make no sense at all. 

Of course, it doesn’t mean we allow ourselves to be taken advantage either. I generally believe that the vast majority of individuals in this world are good. But there are those who seek to take advantage of those that are not well-versed in certain areas of expertise.

So remain teachable but don’t allow yourself be taken advantage. It is all about balance. Such is life!

How to become more Teachable.

To be teachable means to be opened up to the information around us. It requires momentarily dropping our judgments about what is being taught, opening our minds and listening.

Being teachable means being active in our relationships. Whether the information comes from conversations with people we chat with, a book someone wrote or a YouTube video we watch. For me, the day just didn’t feel right if I didn’t pick up some valuable new information from whatever source it comes from.

Here is how I keep Myself more healthily teachable:

  • Make sure we are in a healthy emotional place.
  • Seek reputable sources to be taught from.
  • Remind myself that I am seeking to be taught before I will be presented with new information.
  • Drop my judgments about new information until after all the info has been presented.
  • Limit distractions like trying to multi-task with a cell phone or other things that keep our minds busy.
  • Make eye contact and actually listen.

A Life Opened up and Healed by Being Teachable.

At the beginning of the article, I described my life of being teachable. I did not know how to be taught by healthy sources and that led me down a dark path. My mental, emotional and physical Health were in shambles.

Since coming to recovery I have learned a great deal about this skill, and my life has opened up greatly as a result. All areas of my being have been healed in ways I never thought possible.

I know how to find healthy people and have developed a keen sense for when someone is selling me info that is garbage.

The suffering I experience today pales in comparison to what it once was. And you best believe the feelings of success and joy I experience today were something that couldn’t be fathomed 10 years ago.

teachable roads

Struggling with Being Teachable?

If you are struggling with being healthily teachable I am happy that you found this article.

My first tip would be to find some healthy people that you can trust. Whether that needs to be a Mental Health Professional, your grandmother, or just a trusted friend. Actually, the ideal would be talking to several people you trust!

Get all of their information and what they would advise. Then do what they say as long as the advice they give would not harm you or others.

It is quite painful to be living in a world that is shut down from the helpful thoughts of other people. A world in which we think we know it all and therefore don’t need others is tremendously stressful.

So give yourself a break and allow someone to teach you something new today. It is most certainly for the better!

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

 

 

Finding Our own Calling.

Everybody wants to have and feel their calling. And I’m going out on a limb here and stating that I believe we all have a calling, whether we are aware of it or not.

Though just because I believe there we each have a calling, feeling that calling is not a gift everyone finds. But even if that calling is not being felt there is hope for something better.

The Pain of Not Feeling A Calling.

After writing my last article for My Life Experiment I came to realize something. Not feeling that we are doing what we feel like we came to this Earth to do, flat out sucks. It hurts.

I feel what really turns the knife is witnessing other people have theirs while we don’t feel ours. Without a doubt, this can be a source of incredible pain. 

The pain can lead to certain thoughts like:

  • Why does everyone else find good opportunities for success?
  • When is my break going to come along?
  • Am I just incompetent?
  • Maybe I will always be lost.

Lost of Calling

Through my life of battling addiction, I constantly felt the shame of not living up to my potential. I at least hoped that the best I could do was not killing myself with the chemicals I used, and let people down.

I say hoped because I couldn’t actually convince myself that I did have the potential to do something with my life.

Now that I have been in recovery from addiction for the last decade, I have come a long way. But that sinking feeling that this moment is where my potential has dried up still hits me to this day. Then as I think about the future, I don’t see relationships getting better, the financial situation getting better, or anything else for that matter.

It is not in Our Calling to Wreck Ourselves.

Even though I have experienced success after success in the last decade amnesia hits and it all is forgotten, but thank goodness only momentarily.

There are some weeks when I feel entirely on my game, firing on all cylinders. In this mindset, almost everything in life makes sense. And most everything that doesn’t make sense, isn’t that big of a deal.

But….. other weeks I have the feeling that I am lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and there is no land to be seen. In this mindset, practically nothing makes sense and life feels like this great struggle that is never going to change for the better.

When it all just doesn’t make sense, these are the times where I need to check myself before I wreck myself.

You may be thinking, okay, Travis, how does one check their self? And maybe even, how does one wreck their self?

I don’t know about you, but when I am in a not so good mindset, my thoughts can get a bit whacky. Whacky is a nice term for me to describe highly energized and destructive. Coming in like a wrecking ball that seems to aim at knocking out the supports I have built for my life. To wreck myself, starts with listening to these thoughts and actively replaying them in my head.

Controlling our Behavioral Currency.

Things can seem innocent enough when they go on in our own heads, we may think thoughts don’t have consequences. But thoughts are a type of Behavioral Currency.

What I mean is this. Think of the destructive action as a bottle of pop in a pop machine, and each time we think the destructive thought is a Quarter. Therefore if I think that thought 8 times then I am probably going to be acting out on the behavior. And I will probably wonder “why in the world did I do some so stupid?”

This leads me to answer the “How does one check their self” Question. Well, you quit putting the damn quarters in the machine!

Experimenting with New Paths.

I just said that we can think of a destructive action as a bottle of pop, and if we don’t want that bottle then we better stop putting the thoughts into buying it.

The same goes for the actions that may lead to staying in contact with our “Calling.” Meaning we must feed the machine with the right thoughts that put a cold bottle of positive action in our hands!

It is called setting ourselves up for success.

But as the old saying goes, “We can’t think our way into a new way of living.” We must personally take responsibility for our lives and take action with a new path!

There are an immense amount of paths to take right at this moment. Experimenting with the paths that make the most sense at the moment opens us up to learn what they have to teach us.

They open us up to new thoughts and behaviors. There is no way to open ourselves up to these without making a decision to engage the path.

Calling Paths
Photo by Martin Reisch on Unsplash

Feeling Out and Researching New Paths.

I am the kind of person that strongly desires something to make sense before engaging it. Though over the last decade I have found something out.

It is through engagement with a path that I come to understand more about it. And until I engage it, all the thinking I can do may just end up hurting rather than helping me understand it.

The safest way to engage a path without committing to it is by doing some research.

So what are some ways of Researching a path?:

  • Talk to someone currently on the path.
  • Read about the path.
  • Practice behaviors needed on the path.

If what I am learning feels right and isn’t dangerous then I dig deeper. But if it doesn’t feel right or is dangerous then I move on.

There are a crazy amount of paths available right at this moment. Sometimes I jump on them after doing some research. Other times I don’t need them to make sense, I already know they are perfect for me.

Sometimes I feel they are a good fit, and sometimes not. And you best believe I have felt disappointed with my judgment on many occasions.

But it is through these lapses in judgment and my learning from them that have brought me more in line with my “Calling.”

It is Not Just About Career.

Having a Calling is not just about a career, though certainly includes a career. It also isn’t about money or attainment power, though can include these things as well.

This is what a Calling is all about to me:

  • Feeling that I am acting in line with my core principles.
  • Engaging in life activities that speak loudly to me.
  • Using my energy for the activities I enjoy.
  • Having meaningful relationships that challenge and sustain me.
  • Creating value for these relationships.
  • Not wasting my precious time here on Earth.

But what is a Calling?

Honestly, I don’t think I can pinpoint my definition of a calling for you. Maybe it is something we all must define for ourselves. Or maybe it is something that is etched into our genetics. Whatever it is we are each valuable. Whether or not we feel that value is another issue.

If you are not feeling that your life is valuable or meaningful at this moment, maybe some changes need to be made. Maybe some gratitude lists need to be written, or meditation practiced. If things are getting serious in your head like substance abuse or self-harm, then please talk to a professional. Maybe some sort of Mental Health Treatment is necessary.

The writers of My Life Experiment know very well how lonely and painful it can be to feel purposeless in this world. But we also are both testaments to the message that no matter how lost a person can get, there is still hope for positive life paths to be lived.

If you are feeling the value of your life, then great, I hope you decide to show other people that they have value as well!

Helping find Calling
Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

 

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