Friday, March 16, 2012

Walkin' the Line

Image courtesy of MattHains.
Given last week's post, you might think that this is about a Johnny Cash song. It's not, so don't rush away.

Recently, I spotted a tweet on Twitter that had something to do with tuning in to your inner world. It's been my experience, and that of the people with whom I work, that there is a fine line between being in your head too much and not being there enough.

Fact: In order to transform your stress, it is important to be aware of how and when you are thinking those stress-filled thoughts.

"Which thoughts?" you ask.

Endless, looping thoughts like the ones the "What ifs . . .?", or the "I can't get anything right's . . ." Perhaps, the "Poor me's . . ." or the "I'm so p***** off at the world!" thoughts are the ones you recycle more frequently.

Some people are exceptionally skilled at turning inwards and always focusing on one's negative issues. The sad thing is that the more focus is paid to them, the faster they grow, resembling those plants in the Little Shop of Horrors. The focus is on what's wrong rather than on getting involved in doing the things one enjoys doing - even if for only five minutes at a time.

When you go through a stress coaching program, you become aware of how much time you spend soaking in negative thoughts and emotions. You may be surprised. I certainly was. You also learn about what stress is, and more importantly, what to do instead. This is crucial because knowledge-gathering isn't a problem in today's highly connected world. It's going the next step and the one after that - it's the what to do and the practise of doing it.

Some of my clients are at the other end of the line. They are heavily engrossed in volunteer work, consumed by family commitments or are valiantly trying to stay afloat in their careers. They rarely, if ever, give a thought to their own well-being - until it begins to break down. These are the people who would benefit from spending more time looking inwards. Ensuring that in addition to doing for others, they also do for themselves. Carving out time to make sure they honour their heartspeak. Not only is it restorative; it also helps them to re-balance their nervous system, which will allow them to go on serving others, for longer and for better.

Two extremes, with points in between. Have you noticed that the route to get there is the same?

I recently watched The Way. One of the lines was, "You don't choose a life. You live a life." Why not choose to live a life and start doing some of the things that bring you joy?

"But nothing brings me joy." That's where coaching can help. You learn to balance the nervous system. By quietening down that head-talk (I can't. I don't know . . . .) and allow the heart, which sends signals to the brain, to speak for you.

How are you walkin' the line? Are you balanced in the middle or do you end up tipping way over to one side, like I did - until I practise differently? (Present tense intended - it is an on-going process.)

3 comments:

  1. "You don't choose a life. You live a life."

    I am of the firm belief that our lives are lived for us. We fool ourselves that we are in control.

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  2. Thanks for another wonderful post, Marianna, on the importance of slowing down and "quietening down that head-talk and allowing the heart, which sends signals to the brain, to speak for you."

    This is so important in today's time where life feels like it is only speeding up, if we don't take this time to do otherwise. I find meditation a helpful tool in this endeavor.

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  3. Ramana,
    Someone has been studying . . . :)

    Dorlee,

    I'm glad that you make time to meditate.

    Why I like the techniques I use is because it's an on on-going, no-matter-where-you-are practice that allows you to balance the nervous system.

    It's always good to have a tool-box full of strategies, much like how you're augmenting your social work degree by taking additional courses.

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