Please, Be Kind to You.

Simple ways to help us all ride out this storm are shared in this video. We will come out the other side stronger, better and more capable of facing uncertainty than ever before.
Be Kind to You.

Coping With The Chaos

How To Manage Uncertainty in Uncertain Times

The world is in the grip of a global pandemic.

We are living in extremely uncertain times — and that uncertainty can be difficult to cope with.

You may feel worried right now.

You may struggle to keep anxious thoughts in check.

And you may feel unsure about the future.

But help is at hand — you CAN learn to live with uncertainty.

Facing Uncertainty is Scarier than Facing Physical Pain

A new study shows that the uncertainty of something bad happening can be more stressful than the knowledge of something bad happening.

In 2016, a group of London researchers explored how people react to being told they will either “definitely” or “probably” receive a painful electric shock.

They discovered an intriguing paradox.

Volunteers who knew they would definitely receive a painful electric shock felt calmer and were measurably less agitated than those who were told they only had a 50 percent chance of receiving the electric shock.

Researchers recruited 45 volunteers to play a computer game in which they turned over digital rocks that might have snakes hiding underneath.

Throughout the game, they had to guess whether each rock concealed a snake. When a snake appeared, they received a mild but painful electric shock on the hand.

Over the course of the game they got better about predicting under which rocks they’d find snakes, but the game was designed to keep changing the odds of success to maintain ongoing uncertainty.

And when we’re facing outcomes imbued with uncertainty, it’s the fact that something bad might happen that “gets” us.

The volunteers’ level of uncertainty correlated to their level of stress. So, if someone felt “certain” he or she would find a snake, stress levels were significantly lower than if they felt that maybe they would find a snake.

In both cases, they’d get a shock, but their stress was loaded with added uncertainty.

Archy de Berker from the UCL Institute of Neurology said: “Our experiment allows us to draw conclusions about the effect of uncertainty on stress. It turns out that it’s much worse not knowing you are going to get a shock than knowing you definitely will or won’t.”

Uncertainty Ignites our Primitive Survival Instinct

If we can’t neutralize a perceived threat, we engage in the unhelpful process called “worry”.

We grapple with whatever the problem is to find solutions to the threat, but there are none.

Does this make us feel better? No, of course it doesn’t — it makes us feel worse.

In our need for certainty, we are wired to “catastrophize” — we view or talk of a situation as worse than it actually is. This leads to worry, which in turn leads to anxiety.

The modern brain struggles to distinguish between real threat and perceived threat.

The result is that the primitive brain takes over and triggers the primitive survival instinct — fight-or-flight.

It asks questions:

What is going to happen…?

What is around the corner for me…?

Should I be doing more…?

Should I be doing less…?

What if my business is threatened…?

What if my livelihood is threatened…?

What if my life is threatened…?

The lack of answers can lead to:

Anger

Aggression

Frustration

What Can we do to Mitigate Uncertainty?

There are a number of things we can do to lessen the effects of uncertainty:

  • Awareness is your superpower — be aware of your feelings and emotions

  • Notice the “worry story” you are telling yourself — try to distance yourself from it

  • Focus on breathing — long slow breaths

  • Recognize the need to rise above fight-or-flight

  • Accept uncertainty — allow yourself to stop the struggle

Stand up to Anxiety with Some Mood-Boosters

  • Exercise and movement

  • Meditation, self hypnosis

  • Achievement-oriented activity

  • Something pleasant or fun

 

Just 15 minutes a day, focusing on yourself, will help you regain a sense of balance.

The more you practice all these strategies, the better you will become!

Rain

by Angela Brooks-Reese

Inspired by Morty Lefkoe & Byron Katie

When you are reading a book, how does the rain MAKE you feel?

When you are a farmer during drought, how does the rain MAKE you feel?

When you are having an outdoor wedding, how does the rain MAKE you feel?

How does the rain MAKE you feel?  

Can the rain MAKE you feel?  How exactly does it, does it grab your lips and pull them up or down?  Does it reach into your heart and warm it or make it cold?  Does it reach into that invisible place of feelings and stir it around?

If the rain can’t MAKE you feel…  Then who or what DOES MAKE you feel?

When you are reading a book are you ignoring the rain, not thinking about it at all?  Does it not like you?  Does it think bad things about you for ignoring it?  Why are you ignoring the rain like that?  How could you?

Can you MAKE the rain feel?

When you are a farmer needing rain, and it MAKES you happy, is the rain doing you a favor?  Does the rain like you better than others?  Is the rain showing its approval of you?

When you are having an outdoor wedding, is the rain out to get you?  Does it have something against you?  Is it plotting against you?

Is the rain doing anything at all to MAKE you feel?  Is the rain MAKING you feel a certain way?  Can the rain actually MAKE you feel anything at all?

Or is the rain just doing what rain does… rain?  

And are you just doing what people do before they realize they have a choice?  Making meanings out of absolutely everything, even when they don’t have to.  And before they know there is almost always more than one explanation of what they are interpreting to be the TRUTH?  

Maybe it IS truth.  Maybe it is FALSE.  If thinking it causes you to feel bad, then why not CHOOSE to think something that causes you feel good?  

If you CAN’T KNOW for sure you are right, then be right about what works best for you without consideration of GUESSING what is going on inside another person when they are just doing what they do, like rain, irrespective of you.  

You can’t MAKE them act a certain way, they CHOOSE to act a certain way.  How they act, they act. Whether it’s with you or someone or something else.  How they act has NOTHING to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with them and you CAN’T guess or CHANGE what that is.  

You can only work with WHAT IS.  You observe a behavior, an action or an event and then you CHOOSE how you will interpret and respond to it KNOWING that those things have nothing to do with you and all you KNOW for CERTAIN is what you OBSERVED (without meaning). 

Someone stood up.  Someone looked at you.  Someone didn’t look at you.  Someone said words while looking in your direction.  Someone said words while looking in another direction.

And isn’t that interesting?  

And isn’t it wonderful that you can choose how and IF you respond to any of these things because you realize you have a rainbow of choices, and you have the CHOICE to choose anything which creates a feeling inside of you that works FOR you.  

Maybe that feeling is not to be around that person.  Maybe that feeling is create a different interpretation.  Maybe that feeling is curiosity.  You get to choose.  

Not out of spite (which is a reaction to an interpretation), but simply because it makes you feel good about you, having to do with the event, behavior or action that you happened to witness and can’t really KNOW.  

Can you choose how you respond to a sunrise, or a thunderstorm?  Aren’t we all really just a force of nature, just like the sunrise or the thunderstorm?  Can’t we see a person as a flower blooming… or as a tornado careening?  Maybe we can stand and observe, get closer or maybe we need to seek protection, but we don’t take any of it personally.  A sunrise, flower, thunderstorm, tornado or person will do what they do.  With us or without us.  We don’t MAKE them feel anything and they don’t MAKE us feel anything.  It’s always a choice.  

We may choose to enjoy their company and they may choose to enjoy ours.  Or not.

Some times we are afraid to release a long held belief because it creates a vacuum.  If that is gone, what will we replace it with?  Don’t I need to protect myself from getting hurt?  

When you are remembering something after it is over and choosing to feel “hurt” by it… WHO is hurting you?  

At the moment something is said or done, you can realize you are interpreting an action, behavior or event on the spot.  In that moment you CAN make a choice.  Does this action, behavior or event REALLY have anything to do with me?  Is there any point in involving myself in it?  Would I like to stay or like when a tornado is coming, should I seek protection? It is going to happen whether I am here or not so I respond sensibly for what seems right to me. I GET to make that choice.

Nothing personal.

What would Byron Katie do right now?  Is it true?  Can you absolutely know that it’s true?  How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?  Who would you be without the thought? Turn the thought around.  

What can I choose instead?

What power that gives us over our own lives and the peace therein.

Old habits formed just because “That’s the way I have always done it” don’t mean that those old habits are right for you anymore.  We can outgrow an unwanted habit and change it.

If you can trust that, even though you don’t know what that change is going to look like yet, you may just find your answer to the question about how to enjoy your new found freedom.

“Byron Kathleen Reid became severely depressed while in her thirties. Over a ten-year period her depression deepened, and for the last two years Katie (as she is called) was seldom able to leave her bedroom. Then one morning, from the depths of despair, she experienced a life-changing realization. Katie saw that when she believed her thoughts she suffered, and that when she didn’t believe her thoughts she didn’t suffer. What had been causing her depression was not the world around her, but what she believed about the world around her. In a flash of insight, she saw that our attempt to find happiness was backward—instead of hopelessly trying to change the world to match our thoughts about how it “should” be, we can question these thoughts and, by meeting reality as it is, experience unimaginable freedom and joy. As a result, a bedridden, suicidal woman became filled with love for everything life brings.”

The Work of Byron Katie

“The Work” of Byron Katie is a way to identify and question the thoughts that cause all the suffering in the world. It is a way to find peace with yourself and with the world. Anyone with an open mind can do this Work. 

Link to “The Work” worksheet:

https://thework.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/obaat_en_mod_6feb2019-r.pdf

Enjoy the Rain!

Enjoy the Rain!

Blog Posts

The Healing Journey of Gratitude

by Angela Brooks-Reese

My friend Dougie sent me the article linked below and I am sharing it because the article and especially the excellent links it includes are pure gold in my opinion.

Almost 20 years ago I lost everything, at 36 years old I lost my family, my home, my cars, I lost my business and buried deeply in debt, I lost my pride (the “what will the neighbors think” type of pride).

I was completely lost for awhile to a crippling depression that left me in a pit so deep I couldn’t see daylight. I finally consented to anti-depressants (effexor) for about 6 months because I could literally no longer function. I couldn’t make myself get up to take a shower so I could go to work. My body completely rebelled and I felt like a steamroller had gone over the top of me leaving me flat in the road after struggling for 2 years to try to save everything.

One of the most important tools to my recovery was gratitude. I saw nothing to be grateful for at first. Sometimes I had to mouth the words with no feeling behind them. I dutifully wrote at least 3 things to be grateful for each night, even if it was as simple as ‘I’m grateful I breathed today’, not really meaning it.

Somewhere along the way something started to change.

At first I noticed the medicine was helping because I started taking a shower again. I slowly found myself coming back to life. After 3 months I was ready to go back to work and discovered that going off the meds was not as easy as going on them. I gradually decreased the dosage until I was free of the pills but everything still felt so flat. I felt like I was wading in cement to get through my days.

I continued the gratitude journal and discovered that as it became a habit, it was starting to get easier and I was finding more to write about. I started writing paragraphs instead of short sentences. Even through the depression (lighter now but still there) I began to notice the beauty around me, looking for things to include in my journal.

Today it is simply a way of life, I find the joy in everything around me, I am so grateful every day for the incredible life I have.

It is actually horrifying to think I almost ended it, I would have missed so much and it is so sad to remember at the time it felt like it was easier than trying to move forward. Everything just seemed so damn hard.

10 years ago, everybodies world was turned upside down and all around me people were losing everything when the economy tanked in Nevada.

This is when the deepest gratitude kicked in. The gratitude for what I had experienced 10 years earlier.

I completely understood how lost these people felt and by this time I was doing well, I owned a business, owned my home and drove a nice car so I could also offer hope for them. I was able to use my experience to help people understand they were not alone and they would recover from their losses. I knew that the shame and feeling alone were the worst part of the experience so I could honestly relate and give people hope from a perspective I never would have been able to had I not been there myself.

It took years for all of the depression to leave and I am not sure when it finally left for good because the funny thing about losing something so negative is that you don’t notice it’s gone until something draws your attention to it. Then you look back, scratch your head and wonder when it disappeared completely!

Here is the link to a fantastic article, be sure to look at the linked articles (there are 4 of them):


Trauma – It May Not be as Traumatic as You Think

Transformation Hypnosis – Angela Brooks-Reese

Definition of Trauma: The PERCEPTION of threat while in a state of HELPLESSNESS.

-Wendie Webber

Using this definition to understand the emotional impact of where a child develops beliefs makes you realize that to a child there are many traumatic experiences that an adult wouldn’t even blink at. We think we are looking for the big, bad Monsters (and sometimes we are) but most often instead begin to understand that it is things that as an adult, we would consider ordinary. We forget that the adult has experience to draw from and for a child this is a total surprise and they have no reference point to understand it, or the mental capacity to interpret it.

For instance when the giants you rely on to survive leave you in the care of a strange giant (that just might eat you for all you know) it can be traumatic to the child’s mind. The child might believe he is abandoned and may die based on his instinctual response. These are the strange things that form our beliefs and cement into our truths with no real understanding of where they were formed.

Marissa Peers tells the perfect story to put this in perspective. A businessman came to her for help to discover why he kept failing at business on his own. He had been VERY successful in several partnerships and was well versed in running a business. Yet he kept failing on his own.

She regressed him to his childhood and discovered that when he got his first bike his father had taken him out to the driveway to try it out. It was a beautiful day, all the neighbors were out and his father started chatting with one of them. He was impatient to try his bike so he got on and crashed at the bottom of the driveway. Everybody came running and several voices including his father were all standing around him yelling “Are you alright?” “You could have killed yourself!” “What were you thinking trying that ALONE?” ” NEVER, NEVER try something like that on your own, wait until you have someone to help you!!” All these giants circling an extremely embarrassed and frightened kid telling him to “Always wait for help, NEVER do new things on YOUR OWN!” Now you can imagine these adults never thought twice about any of this, they were scared he had hurt himself so I imagine they might have been yelling in their fear for him. They certainly wanted to make sure he didn’t try to ride his bike without help, I think they succeeded far more than they realized. Far more than the child realized. The subconscious, who’s job it is to protect him, took every word literally and created a belief that turned into his truth. As an adult he had no idea why he “couldn’t” do things on his own.

He had experienced a strong emotional response (embarrassment/fear) to a perceived threat (was he going to die from his injuries?/giants surrounding him yelling) in a state of helplessness (he was laying on the ground trapped by his bike). All the components were there: new, surprise/shock, fear, helplessness.

His response to this revelation? Are you kidding me??? That’s it???? He was a little pissed that something so SEEMINGLY insignificant had so strongly altered the course of his life!