breathing

Did you know that the yogin (neuter form of yogi) say that if you control the motion of your lungs, then you can control your heart? What does that mean for me, you say? Why would I want to control my heart? I don’t want to be messing with my heart! Read more

Again with the idea: what you don’t know can’t hurt you? This seems to be proving itself wrong time and again for those interested in personal growth. I remember my teacher explaining to us that three important things were preventing us from succeeding in our personal and spiritual growth: our karma, our ignorance, and our fear.
Read more

When you know what you’ve come into this life to do (and to be, to become, to accomplish and to experience), your confidence quotient will soar!
Read more

Yesterday we took the time to look at and actually observe what we had recorded. Every time you were feeling overwhelmed or worried, it was a time to step in and practice the STOPP technique. So for instance, it may have looked like this:

“You had a thought about something or something that happened that you were not anticipating, you Stopped, Paused and Allowed yourself to quit thinking about it right then and there. Then you would have taken a few nice deep breathes and moved on to the Observation part of this Quest. If you did the practice and wrote down your observations, what did you find?”

Now is the time to put those observations into Perspective. What does that look like? Let’s go with that example of the Phone bill notification and your payment being late. 

Observations: 

  • This thing that happened, made me angry.
  • I felt I had no control and that something bad was going to happen to me.  
  • I worried that my phone would get shut off. Then how would I get my phone turned back on?
  • I HATE The phone company, they are always screwing up my bills!
  • I felt helpless or stupid, because it must be my fault that they didn’t get my payment.

You may be wondering what does observation truly mean in this context?  Well, it means taking the time to observe your thoughts, emotions and feelings as they are entering your body. The best way to describe this process is this…. 

X – Something Happens

M – We apply Meaning to  the thing that happened

E – We create an emotion or an Emotional label around X

F – Our body begins to create the Feeling associated with the emotion 

B – We Respond with our typical Behavior

This is referred to as a “Model of the Mind”. Let’s put it into action shall we? 

X – You get an email notification or a text that your phone bill is late.

M – This means to you perhaps that you are going to be in trouble with the phone provider and you may lose your phone service.

E – You start to feel anxious about this situation, because you are not sure why your payment did not go through. You are SURE you sent it!

F – Your body starts to create tension in you perhaps in your jaw, your back or in your chest. 

B – You are now experiencing an anxiety attack and your typical reaction is to worry more and more about this until you can find out what happened. 

While being concerned about a situation like this is normal, what is not normal, for a person with anxiety is worrying to the point of becoming so overwhelmed that you cannot take meaningful action to resolve the situation in a timely manner. You start to Ruminate, which means the thoughts and the worries just keep circling around in your mind. Looping and looping around and around. 

What you want to do with the Observation part of this STOPP technique, is start observing what meaning you are assigning to the things that are happening around you. Then observe what emotions come up for you, and how this feels in your body. THEN and only then can you take action to determine how you will CHOOSE to behave. If you know that you probably won’t lose your cell service because your payment is late, this should help with the emotions of anxiousness. Tell yourself, it’s okay. There must be a mistake somewhere. I will make the time today to call or email them to find out what happened. If you can control the emotional aspect, then the anxious feelings may not enter the body at all. Or if they do, they will not be as strong or last as long. Then your behavior would simply look like, sitting down and calling the phone company and getting to the bottom of what happened and getting it resolved. 

It is important to note, that while we cannot control the external environment and the mistakes that get made around us, we can CONTROL our feelings and emotions and how we respond to the situations in our lives. 

For today, simply practice every time an uncomfortable feeling comes up, Stop, Take a breath, and Observe what is really going on. It is kind of interesting how sometimes, what is going on is not the situation that happened, but oftentimes it is a series of thoughts and patterns that get stuck in our head and we are not even aware of them. BE mindful about what you are thinking. Are you worrying over things that you have no control over? Are you not taking appropriate action to dissolve the worry? 

I would encourage you to keep a list of the things that come up, in essence create an Observation Journal. I spoke about this on Day 2. Once you begin to notice the same concepts or ideas coming up over and over again, you will feel more empowered to take action to either let the worry go, or to resolve the issues you do have control over. In the next step of the STOPP technique, we will take our list of observations and start by gaining some Perspective! See you tomorrow.