MIND Over Self… Doubt

“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently”-Pema Chodron.
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I have several friends who suffer from negative health effects (emotional and physical) when concerning social interactions.  I have one friend, we will call her Mary, who is the most severe case I have encountered personally. She suffers from chronic anxiety and loneliness stemming from her own self-defeatist mindset. She constantly harps on thoughts of herself being inadequate and others not liking her despite evidence to the contrary. While hers is a severe case we all, some more than others, have perceptions that are grandiose and misaligned with reality.

As we go about life we let ourselves believe that external factors, outside of our control are more influential than the internal factors such as mindfulness.
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Running the risk of sounding Disneyian if you believe it (it is easier) you can achieve it. Mental preparedness is probably the answer to five of your seven current problems. Reducing stress, depression, and anxiety takes work and dedication. Cultivating optimism is like growing crops, less arid soil is better but not impossible for crop yield. To build on this farming situation if my personality is Costa Rican I can grow a wide berth of things, however, if I’m more Nevadan I am more limited. So if I want to be productive I most choose what right for me and my situation.

The same can be said about mindfulness. If you’re not always attending to your present in a nonjudmental way take steps to force yourself to do so until it becomes second nature. Then you will be able to ruminate less over the negative aspects and break the chain if distressive feelings and thoughts.
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Back to a topic I talked about in an earlier post, peace-shui is really important. Peace-shui simply put is mentally framing events, feelings and people in your life to yield the best possible results. I developed this concept, as you can most likely guess, from the Chinese geomancy system of using laws from both Heaven and Earth to improve life by receiving positive Qi. I remember reading a quote about Goo Pu’s thoughts on Qi, “Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water”.

My interpretation of Goo Pu is that you cannot avoid events that will upset you but you can decide how that experience will change you. Will you lose yourself or will you be a truer you than you were before? Much like Qi moving through air you must move past unwanted negative feelings to return to a happier you. Keeping yourself peace-shui fit will help not only curb your immediate frustrations but you will be able to ameliorate your long-term anger and anxiety.

For me avoiding abstract thinking about bad memories has helped tremendously. During my study on suicidal ideation I read several studies on coping styles and I came to the conclusion that difference between healthy and unhealthy coping is understanding the underlying issue. A coping style for one issue may not be the right approach for another issue. In my personal life I found abstract thinking is less effective than concrete thinking when facing emotion-focused problems rather than problem-focused problems. It is the difference between ‘Why did this happen to me and what did I do wrong?’ and “How did I feel when this happen and what should I do?” One will lead to productive solutions and positive feelings and the other leads to unproductive depression and negative ruminations.

I will leave you with the words of Thich Nhat Hanh—> “The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.”

Agape & Eros

سعادة, Felicidad, Xing Fu, Felicitas, Bonheur, Felicita

We can say we want happiness. We can say whether or not we have happiness but defining what happiness is exactly is a daunting task. The reason for this is that in the end happiness is subjective and situational. It varies based on cultural and individualistic constructs that we develop throughout life. So how can we tell if we are happy, if we can have more happiness and lastly if we can foster happiness in other?
I truthfully believe that happiness is contagious, like depression, it can be spread or stopped by the distinct choices we make in life. Our actions decide whether we will experience moment-by-moment, fleeting happiness or long-term life satisfaction. When people ask me why I’m so happy even after experiencing a bad day at work (as a cashier I encounter a number of unsavory characters) I usually do not have a honest answer. I generally make a light hearted joke that alcohol helps a lot or something else silly. All jokes aside, I guess I’m able to differentiate between a bad day and a bad life.
Despite a bad experience I’ve coached my inner self to highlight positive emotions over negative ones. However, I do not ignore negative emotions because healthy coping skills dictate that they do need to be addressed in some manner. For instance, when dealing with an aggressively putrefied mood I tend to focus on reflecting about who I am, what I want to be and what I mean to others. In doing that I am able to decrease the impact of a negative experience on me.
In the roundabout tangent I just took I guess I would say to me, and your perspective on this issue may differ. There is one element of happiness that remains constant for most individuals -peace. So what’s your peace-shui (my made up term for peace flow; which I will talk about more later on)? How does peace flow from your inner core to your outer core? Does it translate into good happiness chi for you and those around you?

Looking forward to your responses. Remember the wise words of Bobby McFerrin, “Don’t worry, be happy”.