Meditation is something almost everyone agrees is a good practice for quietening the mind and connecting with our deeper selves. We all know that running around busy all the time is not the right way to live, but that’s how we are nowadays.
Meditation has many benefits, it relieves stress, anxiety, and even depression, as learning to shift the focus from your mind to your heart brings greater inner peace and happiness.
But, how does meditation help us to experience inner peace and happiness? It helps us in that it shows us that it is possible to move out of our unhealthy moods or states of mind.
If we are not aware of how we can get stuck in negative thinking patterns and feelings, how then can we change them?
The secret is to know that you do actually have the power to change how you think and feel, by entering into meditation (being still).
In meditation, you are moving from the mind to the heart. The heart in the Bible is referred to as the centre point of stability, but it is also the point of life. (Fr. Laurence Freeman)
This is the invitation of Christian Meditation. Come into the secret inner room (your heart) and find oneness with God. In this place, you will experience peace and happiness.
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
God wants to be known, and the best way for you to know God is through prayer and meditation. By prayer, I mean contemplative prayer. There are other forms of prayer, but meditation is contemplative.
“Be Still and Know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a universal spiritual wisdom and practice found at the core of all great religious traditions, leading from the mind to the heart. According to The World of Christian Meditation (wccm.org), meditation is a way of simplicity, silence, and stillness.
A Brief History Of Meditation
Some of the earliest written records of meditation (Dhyana), come from the Hindu traditions of Vedanatism around 1500 BCE. Around 6th to 5th centuries BCE, other forms of meditation developed in Taoist China and Buddhist India. Into the Middle Ages was the growth of Japanese Buddhism from the 8th century onwards. This developed further in Japan where Zen techniques were practiced. Jewish meditation also grew and changed at this time.
Sufi mysticism had its beginnings in the first centuries following the life of Prophet Mohammed, but there is another view that Sufism traces back to the early Christian mystics of Syria and Egypt. Sufi view or Islamic mysticism involves meditative practices and meditation and contemplation of Allah is a large part of their daily prayers known as Dhikr.
Buddhists pursue meditation as part of the path toward Enlightenment and Nirvana. Buddhist meditation encompasses a variety of meditation techniques that aim to develop mindfulness, concentration, supramundane powers, tranquillity, and insight.
Dhyana in Hinduism means contemplation, reflecting, and meditation. Dhyana is taken up in Yoga exercises and is said to lead to samadhi and self-knowledge.
New Age meditations are often influenced by Eastern philosophy, mysticism, yoga, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Prayer has been an essential part of Christianity since its earliest days. As the Middle Ages began, the monastic traditions of both Western and Eastern Christianity moved beyond vocal prayer to Christian mediation.
The progression from Bible reading, to mediation, to loving regard for God, was first formally described by Guigo II, a Carthusian monk who died late in the 12th century.
Later in the Middle Ages, Lectio Divina became a regular form of prayer. In the 14th century, Geard of Zutphen had built on ‘Guigo’s Ladder’ to write his major work On Spiritual Ascents.
He warned against considered meditation without reading of scripture and felt that the reading prepares the mind for right connection with God.
Practicing Lectio Divina
John Main a Roman Catholic priest and Benedictine monk introduced a way of Christian meditation in the early 1970s which used a prayer-phrase or mantra. He said the elements of meditation were silence, stillness, simplicity.
The mantras can be sacred words such as Jesus, Abba, God, or Maranatha his one of choice, which means “Come Lord”. The point is not to focus on the meaning of the word but just to say it to stop the mind from getting distracted and bring it into stillness.
According to Main, the great challenge to us in learning to meditate is its simplicity. It is a simple practice, but not an easy one. It takes a willingness and a deep desire for union with God. It’s not enough to just say it’s a stress reliever (although it does relieve stress), it is so much more and will take you further into the unknown dimensions of self and God.
Even among Christians, there are different thoughts on meditation and what is the right way to go about it.
For me, I believe, it’s a natural progression for the Christian. As we mature in our faith, we develop a deeper longing and desire for more of God, and so meditation leads us into that secret place, where we can find God and be nourished.
So, wherever you are on your journey, meditation can help you. If you do not know God yet, you can enter into meditation with an open heart, seeking Truth & Love. God will meet you there.
HOW TO MEDITATE IN 3 SIMPLE STEPS
Step 1 – Choose The Time & Place
Choose a time in the morning or evening that best suits you (preferably somewhere quiet). You need silence to begin.
Set your clock a half-hour early – you will soon get used to this. In fact, you will come to look forward to these precious times in your busy day. You are choosing to enter your day with gentleness and poise.
Now, choose a sacred place; maybe your favourite room or perhaps somewhere outside. Make sure you like the environment and it’s comfortable, but not too comfortable where you fall asleep!
Whether you choose to sit on the floor or a chair, make sure your back is straight. You can sit in the lotus position if you like or upright in a chair with both feet placed firmly on the ground. Make sure it’s warm enough too for if it’s cold you will be distracted.
It’s important to be comfortable as stillness is needed for meditation to really work. In the stillness, we are letting go of our self-life for a while, to focus on connecting with God (The Spirit of Truth, Love, Light, and Peace).
If you live an alternative lifestyle or you’re travelling the world, adapt the time and place to suit your needs. The whole beauty of meditation is that it is 100% yours, it’s you being you, connecting with your Creator.
Step 2 – Make It Personal
Okay, so you have the time and place organized, now it’s time to make it special, personalise it. Create your space just the way you like it. If it takes cushions, blankets, candles, soft music to make you comfortable, give yourself this time to prepare.
Silence is usually best, but if soft music helps – go for it! Now, you’re well on your way, but remember, meditation is a discipline rather than a technique.
Step 3 – Prepare With Prayer And Choose A Mantra
If you are a Christian, perhaps read a small piece of scripture to get you started and have a sacred word ready, such as, “Come Lord”, “Jesus“, “Maranatha“, or one of your choice.
If you are not a Christian and you want to try this, but don’t feel comfortable saying, “Come Lord”, maybe just call on, The God of Love and Truth, and use the word “Love” to focus on.
So, sitting in your sacred space. Turn off your phone, close your eyes gently, and simply focus on your breathing. Let it be what it is, just be aware of the breaths. Focus on your body sitting there, just be aware of this.
This practice of sitting still in silence will lead to simplicity which is the real beauty of meditation. You are choosing to move from the complexities of daily life to the simplicity of being still.
Everything and anything will come into your mind as you start to meditate; don’t worry, it’s okay the thoughts will settle, just be aware of them and let them pass on.
If they don’t, use your mantra and say it slowly and gently over in your mind…“Come Lord” or “Maranatha”, or “Love”, etc. Repeat it until your mind becomes still. You will get distracted, this is normal, just keep going.
After a while you will feel calm and at peace just sitting; being at one with yourself and God’s divine love and light.
Get comfortable just being in this peaceful position. At first, it feels unusual just sitting there, but let that thought go too and persevere. It’s not easy at first, but when the spirit of God shows up and starts to fill your heart with Love, you will not want to move.
It’s a beautiful practice, but only you can find your way into that secret place. When you feel the time is up, simply open your eyes gently and ease yourself back. You will feel refreshed.
The best way to establish a rich prayer life is to remove distractions. In the words of W. Tozer
“Distractions must be conquered or they will conquer us. So, let us cultivate simplicity.”
Practice this for 15 -20 minutes, once or twice a day, if you can. You will have more inner peace and clarity each day and be able to make better decisions.
Don’t give up too soon, persevere at the beginning and it will soon become a part of your daily routine. Forming a new habit takes 21 days, so please don’t give up before then.
I wish you success in your efforts. Meditation is an ancient practice and it doesn’t look like it’s ever going to go away. We are human beings, not human doings. So, enjoy the Peace & Joy of Being Still.
A definition of self-acceptance is a difficult one to nail down. There are different thoughts on it, but in the book, The Strength of Self-Acceptance, Theory, Theology, and Research, Ed. Bernard, Michael E. 2013, it states that:
“defining “self-acceptance” is not simple but, generally, self-acceptance is conceptualized as an affirmation or acceptance of self in spite of weaknesses or deficiencies.”
In clinical psychology and positive psychology, self-acceptance is considered the prerequisite for change to occur. It can be achieved by stopping criticizing and solving the defects of one’s self and then accepting them to be existing within one’s self. That is, tolerating oneself to be imperfect in some parts. (Wikipedia)
Perfection is a Myth
Accept you are not perfect. We are all imperfect in parts, this is our humanness. It is learning to live with these imperfections that matter. Self-acceptance brings us happiness.
We learn to accept ourselves fully both our strengths and weaknesses. Our constant striving for worthiness shows itself in perfectionism.
According to psychiatrist Marc H. Hollender (1965) ‘perfectionism most commonly develops in an insecure child who needs approval, acceptance, and affection from parents who are difficult to please.’
Leon F. Seltzer, supports this view and says that as children we’re able to accept ourselves only to the degree we feel accepted by our parents or caregivers and if they did not meet this need adequately, we inevitably come to see ourselves as inadequate in many ways.
Simply put, we treat ourselves as our parents treated us.
Only when we stop judging ourselves can we secure a more positive sense of who we are. The desire for perfection has always been part of being human, but there must come a day when we realize that perfection is a myth, it simply does not exist.
“The desire for perfection is the worst disease that ever afflicted the human mind.” Marquis Louis Fontanes (1757-1821)
Perfectionism is placing unrealistic demands upon ourselves. It’s a form of self-hatred, being hard on ourselves.
All this chasing after absolute perfection can leave us feeling unfulfilled, dissatisfied, inadequate, and utterly burnt out! There has to be a better way.
What Is Self-Acceptance?
According to Shepard L. A. (1979), self-acceptance is an individual’s satisfaction or happiness with oneself and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Self-acceptance involves self-understanding, a realistic albeit subjective, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses. It results in an individual’s feeling about oneself that they are of “unique worth”.
Self-Esteem & Self-Acceptance
“Though related, self-acceptance is not the same as self-esteem. Self-esteem refers specifically to how valuable or worthwhile we see ourselves, self-acceptance alludes to a far more global affirmation of self.” L.F. Seltzer Ph.D. (2008)
Self-esteem is generally about feeling good about ourselves, liking who we are. Self-acceptance is much broader and is considered to be the true key to happiness as it embraces all aspects of ourselves; light and dark.
Seltzer goes on to say that.. ‘when we’re self-accepting, we’re able to embrace all facets of ourselves – not just the positive, more “esteem-able” parts. As such, self-acceptance is unconditional, free of any qualification.
We can recognize our weaknesses, limitations, and foibles, but this awareness in no way interferes with our ability to fully accept ourselves.’ Self-esteem, he says rises naturally as soon as we cease being so hard on ourselves (judging ourselves).
Self-Acceptance and Happiness
Research studies are showing that self-compassion is associated with greater happiness, optimism, curiosity, resilience, and reduced depression and anxiety.
Albert Ellis, a renowned psychologist says there are ways to overcome feelings of inadequacy and develop self-acceptance…
Define yourself as a worthwhile person because you exist, because you are alive
You are worthwhile because your individual character strengths and abilities make up your uniqueness.
Accept yourself whether or not you achieve or people approve of you
Accept your errors and do your best to correct your past behaviour
Don’t give any kind of global generalized rating to yourself
There is agreement among leading self-acceptance theorists that self-acceptance needs to be accompanied by both individual determination to self-improve negative behaviour that blocks individual goal attainment (happiness, long life) and a social conscience where one’s action not only does not interfere with rights and interests of others but also contribute to the general welfare of the broader community. (Michael E. Bernard)
They also view self-acceptance as a catalyst for the alleviation of emotional misery as well as an energizer supporting growth towards happiness and fulfillment.
Here are some further daily tips on how to improve self-acceptance..
Cultivate self-compassion, let go of guilt and learn to forgive yourself.
Certify yourself, to validate your essential ok-ness.
Get over the habit of constantly judging yourself.
Develop more kindness and goodwill towards yourself.
Watch your self-talk, stop self-criticism.
Practice daily positive affirmations.
Seltzer reminds us that it’s important to be aware that self-acceptance has nothing to do with self-improvement as such.
It really isn’t about “fixing” anything in ourselves, it’s simply about accepting ourselves warts and all and affirming who we are.
We can continue to work on our personal growth, but we are okay today – we are doing our best and that’s enough.
Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when people experience regular bouts of high levels of anxiety, it could become a disorder.
“Anxiety disorders affect 40 million people in the United States. However, only 36.9 percent of people with an anxiety disorder receive treatment.” Adam Felman, MedicalNewsToday
What Lies Behind Your Anxiety?
Fear liesbehind your anxiety, but what is this fear? The problem with most people is that they stay in the anxious feeling, worrying, and imagining the worst, without learning how to stop it and see what’s causing the anxiety.
When you know what’s causing the anxiety, then you have something you can work with, at least.
So, instead of just feeling anxious and fearful, you can find a new way by standing back and observing your emotions. Start to ask yourself questions like:
Why am I feeling anxious right now?
What is causing me to feel this way?
Why do I think this way?
Is there any reality to what I’m thinking?
What am I really afraid of?
For example, if it’s a new job and you’re not sure if you’re up to it, now that you’ve passed the interview, and you start to feel anxious.
What goes through your mind at this time? Something like, “I can’t cope, how did I manage to convince them in the interview that I was the right person for the job?, I feel like a fraud, I can’t do it, maybe I should just stay in my current job (it’s not so bad really).”
You start to panic, and you look for ways to run! Fear kicks in. Now at this point, you must stay calm and start to go deeper and ask yourself some more questions. “Why do I say I can’t cope now, afterpassing the interview? Where is this fear coming from?”
It usually goes back to an experience of failure or perhaps in your childhood, your family did not encourage you to be ambitious or told you you were no good.
By being the observer of your anxiety, you can now look at your training and experience and see that you are well trained for the job and very capable. That’s why they offered you the job!
Maybe you’ve never had such a good opportunity like this before, and you are afraid of failure, which leads to feelings of anxiety.
What Are Your Core Beliefs?
You may have a belief somewhere that is causing you to self-sabotage. You worked so hard to get this job, and now with your anxiety, you are ready to run.
You need to look deeper to see what core beliefs you’ve picked up along the way that say you do not deserve to be happy, successful, or prosperous. Is it really your belief, or was it passed on to you from someone else?
When you detect the core belief that is causing you to sabotage your life, you can replace it with something you do believe today, such as, “I deserve to be happy. I have a right to my own life, I am good enough, I am worthy, I can cope,” etc.
The reason people remain anxious is that they choose to stay stuck in that feeling without exploring what lies behind it.
The treatment you will need will depend on the extent of your anxiety. For some, psychotherapy (CBT) may be helpful, but for others, you can learn to deal with it yourself.
Why Anxiety Points Towards An Identity Problem?
Do you know who you are? If you don’t know who you are, then you will be tossed to and fro and unstable in all your ways. One day, you’ll follow this trend, the next day something different. All this leads to confusion, which in turn will trigger your anxiety.
When we know who we are In Christ (a child of God), we feel more secure. In the Bible, the Book of Ephesians puts it this way, “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:14)
Knowing who you are, brings a sense of calmness and assurance. If you are coming from a position where you accept that you are a child of God and that you were created by God for a purpose, that He is in control, then you have nothing to fear.
If God is in control and you have given your plans and ambitions to Him, then you can trust that He can and will get you through it.
Jesus never said life was going to be easy, in fact, he said, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
So, it’s not a strange thing that life gets difficult. You will have trials and tribulations, it is part of life, and you know what Jesus had to go through, so he does understand your fear, but he didn’t fret when he had trials, He prayed and trusted in The Father.
Jesus was never anxious, but he was concerned and often troubled, but he cast all his cares onto the Father, which is exactly where we are to be casting our cares too. He overcame the world and you can too!
This is your right as a child of God, to be an overcomer. You may struggle and you may fall, but you will get back up again because you have the Spirit of God dwelling in you. “…Greater is He that is in you than He that is in theworld.”(1 John 4:4)
“Though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again”
Come Back To Yourself
Anxiety is a sign that you are out of balance and not connected to your true self. Your true self is your spiritual self that is connected to God and life. It has a natural flow. You feel comfortable in your own skin and feel at one with yourself and your surroundings.
Anxiety is a sign that there is some conflict going on within you. You are denying yourself in some way. You are not being true to yourself. It can be a signal to turn around.
You may be going in the wrong direction, mixing with the wrong people, doing the wrong job, and just living in a way that is not congruent with who you are at the core, the person God created you to be.
Society is built to drive us far from our true selves. You would wonder how any of us managed to find our way back to God in a world that does everything to distract us from that path to the true self.
God is the one who gets us home in the end, but we have to want to return to Him.
Once you acknowledge that you have been separated from God’s love and grace by following the ways of the world, then you will be able to turn to God and ask him to restore you to a peaceful state and free you once and for all from your anxiety.
Made Alive In Christ
You must realize that as long as you remain separated from God, The Father, you can never know true peace. When you are made alive In Christ through the mercy of God, only then can you experience this peace.
“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-8)
Jesus is the Prince of Peace
Why not trade in your anxiety for Gods’ peace? When you repent of your sins and say to God that you don’t want to live that old life anymore, He will forgive you and restore you to a place of balance, and peace.
He will do it! He will give you peace that surpasses all understanding. A peace the world knows nothing of. (Philippians 4:7)
Live As Those Made Alive In Christ
The Bible gives us clear instructions on how we should live this new life In Christ Jesus. It’s plain and simple, put to death your old life.
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)
Jesus preached peace, but the peace God gives, the world knows nothing of. You must ask God to show you mercy and give you this new life In Him. No one can give you salvation, but God himself.
He is seeking a broken, and contrite heart. So, humble yourself before the Lord and seek his grace, love, and mercy.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:15-16)
Based on Scripture, this article explains that living without God will inevitably lead to anxiety. Your anxious feelings are just a sign that something is wrong and needs adjusting.
When you discover your true identity, In Christ Jesus, you will not be anxious, but filled with His peace.
Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when people experience regular bouts of high levels of anxiety, it could become a disorder.
“Anxiety disorders affect 40 million people in the United States. However, only 36.9 percent of people with an anxiety disorder receive treatment.” Adam Felman, MedicalNewsToday
Symptoms of anxiety are:
restlessness, a feeling of being “on edge”
These physical symptoms alter the way a person processes emotions and behaves. It is important to know the difference between normal levels of anxiety and an anxiety disorder that requires treatment.
It is normal to experience anxiety when triggered by a potentially harmful situation. The symptoms of this are, a raised heartbeat, sweating, increased sensitivity to one’s surroundings. But, we should not experience this regularly.
A person with an anxiety disorder usually presents with other intense symptoms, such as; nervousness, worry, fear, or evenparanoia that are way out of proportion to the trigger.
The Five Major Types Of Anxiety Disorders
GeneralizedAnxiety Disorder Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, is an anxiety disorder characterized by chronic anxiety, exaggerated worry and tension, even when there is little or nothing to provoke it.
Obsessive-CompulsiveDisorder (OCD) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Repetitive behaviors such as hand washing, counting, checking, or cleaning are often performed with the hope of preventing obsessive thoughts or making them go away.
Panic Disorder Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder and is characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms that may include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or abdominal distress.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Traumatic events that may trigger PTSD include violent personal assaults, natural or human-caused disasters, accidents, or military combat.
Social Phobia (or Social Anxiety Disorder) Social Phobia, or Social Anxiety Disorder, is an anxiety disorder characterized by overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. (National Institutes of Mental Health).
How Do I Know If I Have Anxiety?
14 Ways To Manage The Symptoms Of Anxiety
Even if you do not find yourself in one of the categories above, these 14 ways to manage the symptoms of anxiety will still be useful for managing day to day stress. They will help to prevent anxiety and make you feel more balanced every day.
1. Try some deep breathing exercises – Meditate in a way that works for you, some people like to sit and meditate in silence, others use mantras. If walking helps you to relax, try that too.
We are all different, so find a way that works best for you. The key is to release the tension in your muscles, and by doing deep breathing exercises, you allow more oxygen into your lungs.
With shallow breathing, you constrict all your muscles, which causes tension in the body, and a lack of oxygen to the brain, which can make it difficult to think straight.
2. Self-care – good self-care is crucial for your well-being. What do I mean by self-care? It simply means taking good care of yourself, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually regularly.
This is your responsibility, no one else can take care of your health for you. This sounds obvious, I know, but you would be surprised how many adults can’t understand why they feel unwell and out of balance. It’s as if they had nothing to do with it.
Good health and well being is all about making good decisions and choosing what’s best for you in all areas of your life. This takes daily reflection and constant adjustments in your habits and choices.
3. Try to slow down your mind by staying in the present moment – When your mind is not focused, your body can feel uneasy. People with a racing mind can’t sit still, and they often end up pushing themselves too hard. Most of our anxiety stems from future and past thinking. We worry about the future, which we have no control of and feel upset by things in the past.
To be free from anxiety we have to take control of our thinking. If you have the power to correct some past mistakes or make an amend, then do what you can and let the rest go! The past is just that, the past, so leave it there and live in the present moment.
The same for the future, can you know your future? You can make plans and do all that you can to move in the direction of your dreams, but as we all know from experience, life has a way of surprising us and we don’t always end up where we had intended.
The secret is to keep adjusting your sails so that your life is flowing in the right direction with good, positive, loving energy.
4. Don’t worry! – for some of you, this seems impossible because perhaps you have formed a habit of worrying. Maybe your mother or father was a worrier, and you just took it on. You think it’s good to worry, that it shows concern. Well, this is far from the truth, it is not caring, or loving to worry about your life or others’ lives.
When you catch yourself worrying, remind yourself that you are not trusting God in that moment and you are being driven by fear. What does the bible say about worry? …. “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” No, you can’t, so why worry?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air;they do not sow or reap orstore away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (Matthew 6: 25-27)
5. Journal – I always recommend journaling as a way of managing your anxiety because it’s pro-active and you are moving your anxious thoughts from your mind onto the paper.
The best way to journal is to write without editing. It can be messy and untidy. If it’s full of emotion, it may be hard to stay all neat and tidy.
Remember, it’s for you and no one else. If you are afraid someone will read it, then you may have to tear it up after or hide it well!
6. Watch something funny, something that makes you laugh – many people say this works well for them as it lightens your mood and takes your mind off yourself and your problems. I tried this a few times, but it’s not my favourite way of de-stressing. I prefer to be more active as some sort of movement seems to help me more. But, it’s one way that helps many people.
7. Be creative – this is an excellent way of managing your anxiety as it requires you to focus and in doing the creative work, you have less time to worry. The added benefit of being creative is that you get a nice feeling of accomplishing something new.
This method of managing your anxiety can be a difficult one to do, as it’s usually the last thing we want to do. People who suffer from anxiety, tend to want to dwell on the thought or situation that’s causing anxious feelings to occur.
But, I encourage you to try to push through and do something creative as many artists’ best work comes from a place of darkness or even anxiety!
You might say, but I’m not creative, I can’t paint or sing, etc. But, there are so many ways to be creative such as playing a musical instrument, writing, dancing, cooking, gardening, decorating your home, making jewelry, pottery, knitting, etc.
8. Get active – walk, cycle, swim, dance, hike, stretch, go to the gym, whatever exercise you like best. Exercise is one of the best ways to alter your mood.
It doesn’t matter how you choose to get active, it’s about moving your body, changing your environment, and distracting yourself from dwelling on the negative.
As with being creative, there is the added benefit of looking and feeling good after the exercise, which in turn makes you feel happy.
9. Eat healthily – this is essential to living a stress-free life. Food plays a very important role in our mental and emotional well being. Think about what you eat daily and ask yourself, is this helping me?
The basic rules are, not too much sugar, fat, salt, or caffeine. Everything in moderation is a good way to start, but there is so much information on healthy eating on the internet, so it’s easy to educate yourself on this.
10. Don’t run from your anxiety – stay with it. When you feel anxious, it feels uncomfortable, right? This is where people often act out to get rid of the anxious feelings, but to turn to an addictive habit will not get rid of the anxiety.
Drinking, taking drugs, or acting compulsively are not the answer. Instead, try to go for a walk, talk to a friend or counselor, or join a support group.
11. Go for a medical check-up – Go see your doctor, you may need to take anti-anxiety medication for a while. There is no harm in taking medication, but I recommend you work with your doctor on trying to live without medication, if possible. But, get a full check-up because there could be something physical going on that could be depleting your energy, causing you to feel low or anxious.
12. Practice gratitude – learn to count your blessings every day. It’s very easy to complain, and compare yourself to others. Instead, learn to thank God for everything you have now, and in time, God will add to your life.
Keep a good attitude. Focus on the positive aspects of your life. The bible says, be of good cheer. A grateful heart is a happy heart.
13. Connect with others – Attend a social gathering if you are isolating. If you’re prone to social anxiety, it’s important to make time to go to social gatherings. It doesn’t have to be a party or a noisy place, there are so many different groups nowadays, to suit everyone’s tastes. The Church is a great place to connect with others and get support.
14.Visit a therapist, coach, or join a support group. Sometimes, you just feel too fragile to work or attend social groups. During times like this, it may be best to go for one-to-one therapy. It’s so much easier to share your problems with one trustworthy person. I encourage you to find someone you feel safe with if you are feeling this way right now.
How Anxiety Can Affect Your Relationships
Everyone wants to be happy and have good, healthy, fulfilling relationships, but millions of people around the globe have not found it. People are still seeking love and connection, yet few are finding it.
People with happy, healthy, fulfilling relationships tend to have good self-confidence and awareness. They like themselves and work at managing their unhealthy attitudes and behaviours.
Overly dependent people need others for validation and have an intense need for closeness to their partner or friend, so much so, that it makes the other person feel smothered.
Because they fear the worst and expect rejection, they’re often driven to over connect and feel unloved when the people in their lives are not giving them what they think they need.
It is possible to overcome this dependency, by learning to love yourself more and practicing new ways to manage your anxiety.
On the other hand, if you are avoidant, it means you are afraid of opening up and expressing your feelings in your relationships. So, even though the avoidant person wants to be close, they also fear it.
There are ways of dealing with being avoidant of close relationships, by educating yourself and maybe discussing these patterns with a trained counsellor or psychotherapist. There is hope, so don’t give up.
This article explains what anxiety is and how to know if you have an anxiety disorder. It also goes through the different types of anxiety and its symptoms. It shows you how you can manage your emotions and points you to a path of recovery and healing.
If you think you have an anxiety disorder, it is best for you to consult your doctor and they will recommend a treatment plan for you.
Anxiety doesn’t have to be something you have for the rest of your life. There is usually a cause which I discuss in my next blog. Remember, it is always God’s will for you to be healthy and whole.
Let’s be honest, life if hard. I don’t know anyone who has not been hurt in life. It’s inevitable, as long as you live on this planet, you are going to get hurt.
Dealing with life’s hurts, and learning how to move on is a difficult task, yet it is the only way to find true peace and freedom.
What are some of the things that hurt us in life?
Loss of a loved one
How do people usually deal with life’s hurts?
One of 2 ways:
Denial is very common, people do not want to deal with their past hurts. The perceived pain is too much for them to bear, and they think they won’t be able to cope. Facing past hurts can be painful, and overwhelming too, so it makes logical sense to avoid it. It’s safer.
But, stuffing your emotions does not work either. They’re still there, only hidden away. So denial, although it is comfortable in the short term, it will have more damaging consequence long term.
Face them – this is the better option. It is better to face the pain and learn what it’s all about, and train your brain to say, “hey! I’m an adult now, I can cope with this.” As a child, I could not cope with such rejection, abandonment, or abuse, but now I know what to do. I am not a victim, I have choices today.
As children, we were afraid to stand up for ourselves, because our very existence depended upon pleasing our caregivers. We were not independent and didn’t understand what was going on.
Often parents and caregivers were dealing with their own issues and were probably not aware of how their behaviour was impacting you as a child, but if you were sensitive and absorbed a lot of their stress and pain, it probably damaged your emotions.
Others were victims of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse, neglect, abandonment, or rejection. Forgetting it seems like the best thing to do. At least life goes on and you don’t have to think about it, but unfortunately, this is not how human beings work.
Any hurts that you have incurred in your life, will show up in one way or another, making it difficult for you to live a peaceful, happy, fulfilling life. They show up in your reactions and behaviour.
Your relationships will be affected, either you will be drawn to abusive people and think that that is somehow okay, or you will avoid intimacy altogether to avoid ever being hurt again. Both options are harmful to you and keeping you in a place of pain.
If you don’t deal with the hurts in your life, they will deal with you.
you’ll find yourself in abusive relationships
you won’t feel you have the right to say no, because you’ve had no practice at it
your pain will get worse
you will get physically sick – most cancers stem from unhealed resentments or hurts
your life will lack joy, purpose, and meaning
Other possible side effects of not dealing with life’s hurts:
I’m Afraid To Look At My Hurts
People are often afraid to look at their childhood wounds because of what they might find. It may open a whole can of worms, and they think their life could fall apart if they begin to look. This is the fear, if I go deeper, I will find ugly things that I have wiped from my memory.
These are realistic fears, it will stir up your emotions if you start digging up the past. I’m not a fan of looking for things to dig up. I’m more interested in how you are today and where you want to be in the future. But, unfortunately, if you want to heal, you will have to look back at the painful parts that are keeping you stuck, so you can go forward.
Life is short and digging up the past is time consuming and I would have to wonder if it really works? (perhaps for some), but it’s not the work of a coach to go back, we always look forward.
In coaching, we deal with issues as they arise. For instance, if something from your past is blocking you from going forward today, we examine it.
You can work on it with a coach and if the issues are too deep and sensitive, then you may need to take some time to work on that specific issue with a counsellor.
How are you feeling today?
Are you happy?
Do you have the life you want?
Do you feel stuck?
Are there obstacles in your way, preventing you from moving forward?
Is there a hurtful relationship or situation that you are currently struggling with?
Are you confused?
Are you feeling angry, bored, irritable or lonely?
Do you feel a bit dead?
The Walking Dead
Sadly, many people today are dead, the lights are on but no one is home. They are just going through the motions of life. They go through life dead, go to school dead, then college, then get married dead, buy a house dead, and even raise a family dead.
You would wonder how they do it, but they do. They are living unconsciously. They haven’t ever taken the time to get to know who they are and why they exist.
There is no life in what they do and they don’t even know that they are dead. The world needs an Awakening!
St Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, teaches the church how to walk in the light of Christ and anyone who is not walking in the light, walks in darkness. In other words, they are dead (spiritually dead).
“Awake, O Sleeper, rise up from the dead and Christ will give you light.”
In the gospel of Luke 9:60, Jesus said, “Let the dead bury the dead,” in response to a disciple who wanted to spend time at home before committing himself to the Lord. Jesus said, “Follow me.’ But the man replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God’” (Luke 9:59–60).
This man wanted to go home to carry out his duty and obligation within his family, but Jesus was saying, there are plenty spiritually dead people who can bury your father, come with me as this work is more important.
You might think, this is wrong. We must honour the family, but not ahead of doing the work of God. This is the higher work to continue to serve Jesus. Yes, Jesus expects this kind of commitment, so it’s time for you to wake up and live the spiritual life that you have been called to. If family is your God, you need to think again, for even Jesus did not put his family first.
When you are needed in your family, The Lord will make that clear to you. It’s about priorities. It is right to care for your family, but it is also right to lead them and show them how to follow God, and put their trust in Him.
10 Ways To Deal With Life’s Hurts
1. Awareness – this sounds so easy, but you would be surprised just how many people live in denial, simply not acknowledging their past hurts. There’s an expression amongst therapists – if you can’t feel it, you can’t heal it. You must be willing to examine your life.
2. Talk about it – share how you feel with a friend, counsellor, or coach. Get all the support you need. There are many different support groups that can help you depending on your need. You can see a professional counsellor, coach, or therapist.
Sometimes you might need more intense support, especially if you are in a lot of emotional pain, or perhaps confused. A therapist will reflect back to you your reality, as we often get confused in our thinking when emotionally disturbed.
3. Educate yourself – it’s amazing how many people struggle with painful life issues, but do nothing to learn more about it. We are living in the information age, so we have no excuse for not finding out more about dealing with our issues. There are hundreds of self-help books, videos, groups, and professionals to help us deal with our hurts.
4. Journal – journaling is one of the greatest ways to work on yourself. I have done this for years, and it’s a lifesaver because there isn’t always someone to discuss your feelings with, but by journaling, you just need to write how you feel on paper. Don’t hold back! Don’t edit your writing, this is not for the public, this is for you to express and release your pent up emotions. Try it!
5. Pray – I don’t know where you are on your spiritual journey, but if you are reading this blog, you might believe in God. The spiritual path is not a race and we certainly should not compete, although even Jesus’ disciples used to compete, but Jesus put them straight.
When you come to understand that God is who He says he is, you won’t want to compete, because we all have blind spots and God doesn’t mind showing them to us.
In other words, you will be humbled, so better to humble yourself first. Pray simple prayers and let the spirit of God lead you into a deeper, richer prayer life.
6. Love yourself – practice good self-care every day. Observe how you care for yourself. Do you neglect yourself in any way? Do you abuse your body with unhealthy food or addictive substances? Do you overwork, leaving yourself exhausted?
Develop new rituals every day that are loving. For example, speak positive, encouraging words to yourself every day, organize your day so that you feel productive. Be careful who you spend time with. Surround yourself with people who make you feel better.
7. Forgive – you must remember, you forgive for YOU. If you have been wronged or abused in any way, you have every right to feel hurt and angry. Forgiveness does NOT mean you return to that relationship if they have not changed their behaviour. If they have not changed their abusive ways, you are just going to get hurt again, right?
So, do what you can to distance yourself from that person. If you live in the same house and for some reason, you can’t move out, then set boundaries within that house. You can have your own room etc.
8. Let Go – letting go is hard. It has to begin with a decision. You must ask yourself, what am I gaining by holding onto this pain? Is it serving me? Does the other person even care that I am hurting? Usually, they don’t care. If you don’t let go, you will end up living in limbo – stuck between the past and the future. Holding on always hurts you, never the abuser.
9. Move on – ask yourself, what are the reasons that I absolutely must move on from this? Often we think we’ve let go, but then we find ourselves ruminating over the situation again. If the person is still in your head, then they still have power over you.
Take control of your life. Start by focusing on what you want and not what you don’t want. Learn to focus on love, joy, peace, balance, harmony and flow. Soon, the thoughts of going back will repel you.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.”
10. Choose joy – you are now on the other side and you have let go!! Ahhhh, breathe in that freedom 🙂 This is where your new life begins. You will feel lighter and more hopeful. You can send love, peace, and blessings to all those who hurt you in the past and start to enjoy what’s left of your life.
Letting go is not as easy as it sounds, so I don’t take it lightly. Any of you out there who have had the courage to let go of your painful past, well done! I am so proud of you.
I have just come through a process of letting go of my past hurts which was very painful for me and I don’t think I would have chosen to look at it only I had an encounter with an abusive person recently, who really was quite sweet and charming on the surface, so following that experience I felt led to examine my past hurts.
Letting Go is Difficult
I didn’t enjoy it, but I know it was God’s way of leading me into more freedom, peace, and joy. Letting go is painful because, to heal our past hurt, we have to acknowledge it first and revisit the pain. As I was revisiting the painful experiences in my past, I was taken back to how it felt, and believe me, it was hard.
Although I was aware that this was just a process and that I was not going to have to experience it again, I still felt the sadness and loneliness of it, and more importantly the injustice. I also had an underlying fear that I was going backward and that I might get stuck in this place. It was exhausting!
Letting go of emotional pain is a tiring process. It’s hard to believe how we cling so tightly to our pain. Let me explain the process as I’ve been studying it while also experiencing it. But, bear in mind this is not the first letting go process I have been through. I’d say this is the final one and if any of if comes back, I now know how to quickly deal with it. I have the tools now and I want to share them with you too.
3 Steps To Letting Go Of Your Past Hurts
1. Accept Your Past
Accept that your pain is preventing you from living a fulfilling life and it is depleting your energy. Accept that you are finding it difficult to let go of the pain from your past. Ask God / your Higher Power to help you. It takes courage to let go. It is not an easy task and those who do it are the strong ones. It is not a weakness to forgive and let go.
We hold on tightly to our pain for a reason. We must believe somewhere that it is helping us. This is where you need to go deeper and ask yourself, what am I gaining from holding on to the pain? Usually, the child in us (the inner child) thinks that if I hold on to my pain, I am staying safe, that it is protecting me in some way and no one can ever hurt me again.
We also believe that if I let go and forgive the people who hurt me, that I am somehow condoning it, but this is not true either. What forgiveness says is, “I don’t agree with what you did, but I’m going to forgive you anyway.” You are not a doormat or a fool, no, you are doing this for YOU – to set YOU free.
2. Share Your Story
Express your pain to supportive people in your life or a trained professional, someone who understands the healing process. This will free up some of the strong emotions to help you to use your adult, healthy mind to co-operate with the process. You must remember, the wounded inner child does not want to let go as it’s afraid.
When I say the inner child, what I mean is that part of your mind that stays stuck in the past and is still thinking like a child, and because it is wounded, it is afraid of change. It would rather stay stuck in negative feelings rather than take the risk of letting go and moving into the unknown.
3. Don’t Be A Victim
Take personal responsibility for your part in it. Yes, you were the one that was hurt and you have every right to feel justified in being angry or resentful (I know, I was the same :)). It is true, you were wronged and what they did to you was unfair, but the part you need to take personal responsibility for is to not hold on to it anymore. You are not a victim of it, but rather a survivor.
Being a survivor is a much more empowering position to be in and at the same time, you are not forgetting or minimising the hurtful actions of others. Accept that it happened and that you are powerless over the past, but you are not powerless over your future.
So, you accept it fully and make a decision to let it go. Then, look at all your gifts and talents and focus on building a positive future. Where do you begin? You begin right here and now – in the present moment. You only have today, so choose to be happy, choose to be prosperous and healthy. Choose life!
Dealing with life’s hurts is a painful process, but you can rest assured, you are not alone. Everyone was hurt in some way, by someone. It is always wise to seek help if it’s causing you problems in your life today.
If you decide to face your past, you won’t regret it as it will free you up inside and restore you to your natural, happy self, so you can enjoy life again.
Condition yourself towards a more positive mindset. Set your mind on higher things and train yourself to feel powerful, joyful, energetic, loving, and whatever else you feel called to be each day.
Look around you, how many people do you see living happy, fulfilling, peaceful lives? Not too many. Why is this? Why are people stressed out and having problems in their work, relationships, and financial life?
The simple answer to this question is, their lives are out of balance. The focus is not in the right place. People are not prioritising their lives, they give too much time and energy to one area of their life, whilst neglecting other equally important parts.
Too much of anything, even a good thing is not good for you. Too much work, food, exercising, socialising, or time alone is not good for you. Without balance in life, problems will occur. If you live with moderation, you will feel more balanced.
“Let your moderation be known to all men.” Philippians 4:5, The Bible (KJV).
For example, if you work too much, you become stressed, which can be harmful to your body. Stress can cause heart disease, headaches, back problems, and also mental health problems.
Why do we choose to live out of balance?
It is our lack of awareness that causes us to live out of balance. Our life gets out of balance because we don’t know what we truly want or what a harmonious life could look like. We haven’t taken the time to consider it properly.
Any area of your life that is out of balance will rob you of your joy. Maintaining a life of balance is one of the biggest challenges you’ll face in life today.
Signs That Your Life Is Out Of Balance?
You might feel….
a lack of joy or enthusiasm
Work / Life Balance:
Today we are living in an increasingly demanding work culture, and the pressure to perform efficiently and effectively is the norm.
Employers are working hard to find new ways to get the most out of their employees so their companies will thrive and stay on top of the highly competitive market.
Employees are finding it difficult to keep up too, and young college graduates are feeling inadequate in such a fierce market place. Many do not feel good enough, and feelings of unworthiness are commonplace.
“Work allows you to provide for yourself and your family while also serving a purpose in the community, but when it takes over your life, it can negatively affect your health.” (MentalHealthAmerica)
So, What’s The Answer? How Can We Achieve Work-Life Balance?
Studies have shown that employees who have a positive work-life balance do a better job at work, and many corporations have already made adjustments to accommodate the working styles of different individuals in the workplace.
Some of the changes in the workplace are:
Providing water/tea/coffee facilities
Stress in the workplace is a big problem nowadays, but some people seem to be able to manage it. Let’s look at the habits of those people who have achieved a good work-life balance?
10 Habits Of People Who Have Achieved Work-Life Balance
They make deliberate choices about what they want in life
They communicate what’s working and what’s not working for them
They allocate time for family and friends
They set their own parameters around success
They know what makes them happy – hobbies, meeting friends etc.
They are single-minded, they know where they are going and are focused
They have developed the ability to organize time effectively
They have goals with time frames
They have developed a strong network of support
They set clear boundaries
If you are struggling to find balance in your life, consider the following…
What does balance mean to you? What does it look like? When are you at your best? What brings you joy? What makes you truly happy and at peace? Find your balance point and do your best to maintain it. Then organize your life in such a way that you feel happy and grounded.
The Benefits Of A Work-Life Balance
Better health – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual
More time for hobbies, friends and family
Less stress and anxiety
Learn new things
Less addictive behaviours
You’ll be clear-minded and focused
You’ll feel more positive and optimistic
3 Key Goals To Keep Your Life in Balance
According to Brian Tracy (Motivational Public Speaker and Self-Development Author), there are 3 key goals to keep your life in balance.
1. Financial – these are your career or work goals. Your WHAT GOALS? By WHAT goals he means, what you want to achieve or accomplish?
2. Personal – this is your family, friends, and health. These are your WHY GOALS? The reason why you are working. You wanted to achieve financial success so you could enjoy your life and relationships.
3. Professional / Personal Development – These are your HOW GOALS? – how you make things happen. These are the skills and behaviours that you learn to make it possible to achieve your goals.
The reason people’s lives get out of balance is that they ‘lose sight of why they wanted to achieve financial success in the first place.’ (Brian Tracy)
They forget that they wanted to be successful, so they could enjoy their lives and relationships.
To have balance in your life, you must ask yourself, what’s important? What relationships are important to me?
Finding Your Balance Point
Each of us has a unique balance point. Some people can work long hours, without feeling compromised, or can function well on little sleep, while others may not be able to do such long hours without feeling exhausted. We are all different.
Either way, you can find your balance point if you pay attention. Observe yourself daily, paying attention to your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
It can be difficult for some people though, especially high achievers as they may deny their limitations and push themselves beyond their balance point regularly, which inevitably leads to stress, illness, frustration, and anger.
Knowing your limitations is crucial to finding balance. Your limits can change depending on your life circumstances and the amount of healing, growth, and development you have achieved. Some people may be dealing with past hurts and traumas that hold them back from fulfilling their goals.
If this is you, you may need to do some healing work to get yourself back on track. Sometimes people have to take time off work or study to just focus on their healing. If you feel this way, it is better to invest in your health and well being now, rather than suffer more later.
What Does Your Balance Point Look Like?
Your inner life and outer life are in harmony.What does this mean? It means what you believe on the inside, at your deepest level will be lived out and seen on the outside in your behaviour.
So, how can you find your balance point?
You find your balance point by getting in touch with your core values. Your core values might be to be a good honest, parent, friend, businessman, nurse, doctor, artist, or writer, etc. Your core value could be to have an excellent character and to follow the ways of God.
Knowing what you value and what’s important to you will dictate how you spend your time and energy.
A crucial factor in finding balance and happiness in life is determining how you should spend your time. If you are not the one deciding how you spend your time, you can be sure others will!
How Should You Invest Your Time And Energy?
First, know who you are
What’s important to you
Know your values and beliefs
What matters to you
Then ask yourself the following questions….
Does this spark joy in me?
Does this increase or decrease my energy?
Is this working for me?
Do I feel overwhelmed?
Do I feel stressed?
Am I being true to myself?
When you do this, you will get clear about what’s working for you and what isn’t. Always listen to what your body is telling you, if something is good for you, it will feel right. If you feel anxious and stressed, maybe there’s a good reason for it, and something’s not right. Trust your intuition.
The secret to happiness is not found in moments of intense emotion, but in a well balanced orderly life where all that’s important to you gets the attention and devotion, you feel it deserves.
Don’t get sucked into the false ideas of what happiness is. We all know deep down that fleeting pleasures leave no lasting joy or peace. Seek out the life that your true self wants.
What can you do today to change things?
Practice self-discipline, stop wasting time, reduce distractions, get clear on your priorities
Be consistent with your actions
Plan your weekly schedule
Take proper care of yourself
Set goals for your relationships, health, work, financial, emotional, and spiritual life
What’s missing in your life? If it’s fun or relaxation, what can you do to have more fun or relaxation? What would spark joy in you?
Be clear about what you want to achieve and define what balance means to you. When you know what it looks like, you can start to make the necessary changes to bring it about.
Take time out for thinking.
What do you like to do?
Listen to your inner wisdom. You always know best. For example, if you feel unhappy, ask yourself, “why am I unhappy and is there anything I can do tochange this?” If you feel stressed, do the same. “What is causing me stress atthis time? What can I do about it?”
Communicate your needs. If you are feeling dissatisfied, ask yourself the same questions. Get in the habit of listening to your mind, body, and emotions.
If your body is aching or you are getting headaches or other symptoms, it means something is out of alignment, you’re out of balance. You must always be aiming to get back to your centre because it is from this place that all life flows.
Finally, living a balanced life is achievable, but it takes work! The first step to finding balance and happiness in your life is to observe for the signs of stress or dissatisfaction early on, and then start to work on creating more balance and harmony.
Prioritize what’s important to you and then seek to find a way forward. Focusing on your financial, personal, and professional goals will help you to find balance and happiness in your life.
Also, knowing your limitations is key to finding life balance. You might want to achieve great things, and you can, but first, know your limitations. There may be something holding you back, such as a lack of self-belief or confidence. You may be taking on too much in one day. Get to know what works best for you.
A lot of self-development and healing can be done by yourself by getting in the habit of asking yourself questions regularly, such as “how am I feelingtoday?”“What’s causing me to feel anxious right now?” Questions like this will centre you and bring you back into balance.
If you need any support in organizing your life in a new way so that you can change those unhealthy patterns, please get in contact, and we can work together in making it a reality.
“YOU ARE TODAY WHERE YOUR THOUGHTS HAVE BROUGHT YOU, YOU WILL BE TOMORROW WHERE YOUR THOUGHTS TAKE YOU”
Once you understand the power of your thoughts and how they direct your life, the sooner you will be able to use your mind to create the success you desire.
Your belief in your ability to succeed will determine your ultimate level of success. Any doubt lingering in your mind will show itself in your behaviour, making the undesirable outcome you feared a reality.
Self-sabotage is one of the greatest barriers to success, as we are not aware of old negative thinking patterns that are ingrained in our subconscious mind. Many of us live out these self-limiting beliefs into adulthood.
Over 95% of what we do, think and, say comes from old programming in our subconscious mind. Unless you make a conscious effort to direct the immense power of your subconscious, it’s robotic and limited programs will run your life and sabotage your best intentions.
So, what can you do to overcome barriers to success in your life?
If you want to live to your fullest potential and be happy in life, you first need to develop a successful mindset that will propel you towards your desired life. Below are four ways that will shift your mindset and help you to overcome barriers to success:
4 Steps to Overcome Barriers to Success
Be careful how you self-talk, because you are listening. Self-belief is feeling good enough. You can handle what life throws at you, you can cope well. It’s a healthy appreciation of yourself, your talents, characteristics, and abilities.
It’s seeing yourself as special and entirely unique, like no other person on the planet. It’s about the confidence that comes from within.
What is Self-Belief?
Loving and liking yourself and others will follow
Having an unshakeable conviction that God is for you and wants to help you to become all that you want to be
Having a winning attitude
A power base of energy that you were born with
Believing it’s possible against all the odds
Having good self worth
We build self-belief when we make decisions, take successful actions, and accept personal responsibility for both our successes and our failures.
Some of the things that can hold you back from living a successful life are doubting yourself, fear, lack of confidence, negative thinking, negative self-talk, fear of success or failure, procrastination, people-pleasing, worry, etc.
People with high self-confidence are likely to be successful. They will be living their lives on their terms, having a high degree of control over their environments.
‘Self-confidence comes when you are comfortable with who you are. You feel worthwhile, with a right to occupy your place in the world. You feel capable, competent, relaxed, happy, energetic, and positive.’ Chris Wesley.
You activate your self-confidence by believing in yourself. When you have unstoppable self-confidence your world will change. It’s necessary to build your self-confidence for you to take charge of your life. This means:
Not caring what others think of you, not allowing their opinions to affect you
Believing in yourself and achieving your goals
Doing things that frighten you – taking risks!
Moving out of your comfort zone
Not being afraid to make mistakes
Learning new things
Self-awareness is the most powerful resource we have to effect change in our life. By being aware of what we say, do, and feel, we can step back to recognize our automatic patterns and reactions.
New insights let us break free from our old patterns, and defenses which allow us to choose something different, something that brings better results.
You can develop your relationship with yourself by being aware. Without awareness you are not present, if you are not present, you are living in the past or the future.
Awareness allows you to change those things you’d like to change about yourself and create the life you want.
The fact is, most of us are unaware of 80% of what we do, think, and say. We’re not always aware of our defenses, our emotional reactions, our beliefs and habits, our fears, negative self-talk, and judgements.
As you become more conscious, you begin to wake up to life. You are in control of your present, which is all that we can control. The key to developing more self-awareness is to be present.
Being Present: You do this by attending to yourself, tuning into yourself, observing yourself, reflecting on yourself, listening to yourself, loving yourself.
Self-awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivations, and emotions. Self-awareness allows you to see where your thoughts and emotions are taking you.
Do you want to go through life on auto-pilot, letting old tapes dictate how you act? Or do you want to truly live life by clearly seeing the choices before you, and claiming your power to choose what you most want? It’s up to you.
Breaking old habits is not easy, but if they are no longer serving you, don’t you think it might be wise to let them go?
4. A Belief In God or A Power Greater than Yourself
Having faith in a loving God who cares for you will give you a sense of power and strength. If you don’t have a strong belief in a God who is for you, it can be difficult to take on new challenges and step out of your comfort zone.
For instance, many people do the same job all their life, without ever even considering other options, other things they could try.
Working 40 hours a week for 40 years is not the only way to live, but of course, people do find security in that.
In our parents or grandparents generation, they didn’t have as many options as we do today, so changing careers was a lot more difficult for them, yet some did do it.
This is not so black and white, I know. Providing for a family requires a regular income and not everyone has the time, energy, or motivation to reskill and carve out a new career path.
But, if the desire is strong enough, and the faith in God is there, many people do in fact move on to more fulfilling, meaningful work.
People of faith take risks! It’s not because they are foolish, it’s because they want to expand, and discover more about their gifts and talents.
It’s about reaching one’s potential and wanting to serve and contribute to the world around them. It is also an act of obedience, for many feel led by the Spirit of God to do something new.
What worked for one season, may not work for the next. Life is constantly changing, so we need to be flexible.
Is it easy? Of course not! But, is it rewarding? Yes, it is! When we learn more, we grow more. We also mature, because with risk comes failure and with failure comes humility.
It isn’t a weakness to fail, it’s more of a weakness to never try. If you fail, and you will if you take risks, you need to get back up and ask yourself, what can I learn from this? And, can I help others from my experience?
“A righteous man may fall, but the Lord will sustain him.” (Psalm. 37:23-34)
Success God’s Way
An important thing to remember is success God’s way is not the same as success the world’s way.
Success God’s way means, finding out the will of God for your life, and then giving your best to it, using Godly principles.
Godly principles are found in the Word of God. The Bible is full of godly principles, most of them you probably already know, such as being honest, having integrity, being kind, trustworthy, and dependable.
Work hard, don’t be lazy, but work from a place of rest, which means, not being anxious about the outcome, but trusting that God will help you.
You Reap What You Sow
You will reap exactly what you sow. This is a simple scripture that warns us that whatever you plant you will also harvest.
Some people may look very wealthy and successful on the outside, but don’t be envious of them, because you don’t know if they have peace in their hearts. True success should bring peace.
God is just, both the wicked and the godly can gain wealth, but the difference is in how they use their wealth.
The Godly use their wealth to bless others and give glory to God. They are generous because they believe there is no scarcity in the Kingdom of God.
God promises to provide for all his children, and He is faithful. He keeps His promises.
How do you treat others? Are you honest? Are you sowing peace into other people’s lives? Are you sowing love, or do you cause others to feel anxious? Do you say hurtful things to others?
We all have to examine our motives and ask ourselves, are we treating others how we would like to be treated?
Can we call it success if we are feeling anxious and stressed all the time?
Success on Gods’ terms brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the fruits of the spirit. (See Galatians 5:22)
A righteous person sleeps at night with a clear conscience. They sleep peacefully because they are content.
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7
The reason faith in God is essential is that with prayer and trust, you learn to know when to wait, and when to move forward. God will determine your steps.
Your thoughts and attitude are so important in overcoming barriers to success.
So, to succeed, you first need to develop a success mindset, to counteract the old negative thinking patterns.
You must work at it every day. Develop a whole new way of thinking and acting. I will discuss this more in my future posts.
Think Your Way Into Success.
When you ask God to help you, and then you do your part, there will be very little that can hold you back.
I wish you every success in achieving your life goals!
Anyone can set a few goals, it’s not all that difficult to decide on a goal, but how do we achieve them? Goal setting is not a new concept, especially in the business world.
We’ve heard about setting short term goals and long term goals, writing them down and magic, we’ve achieved them! Not always the case, so why is this?
I think most of us can honestly say that setting goals all sound very easy in theory, but when it comes to something we really want, it just doesn’t seem to happen.
We see it happens for the big guys, but we put that down to the law of averages saying that they are just the lucky few. We think some people are just born lucky or they had it easy. We mumble to ourselves, almost without being consciously aware, “life never gives me those lucky breaks!”
What just happened here?
We considered going for something we want in life, and we considered using goal setting as a way of making it happen, but at the first hurdle, we’re defeated.
We tell ourselves, it’s just not going to happen. Remember the power of your thoughts.
‘As a manthinketh in his heart, so is he’Proverbs 23:7.
The thing to remember is that it is not luck that brings about success. It’s not just for the chosen few.
We can have what we want and truly desire if we believe it is possible and then with that strong self-belief in place, take the necessary daily steps to make it happen.
No one ever said it was going to be easy! Anything worth having in life takes commitment. There are no short cuts to success.
Goal setting is ultimately about change. When you feel trapped or stuck, you can develop bad attitudes. This usually happens because you don’t know where you are going, your life lacks meaning and purpose.
Other people seem to be getting ahead, but you feel stuck and wonder why?
We can feel powerless when we find ourselves in this position. We don’t know how we got into it, and we certainly don’t know how to get out, so we just stay put, while resenting others who are moving forward. Really though, we are just mad with ourselves.
Set Goals That Inspire You
To achieve a goal, you need to consciously decide that you want it, that it’s important to you, and be willing to make a daily commitment to achieving it.
Goals bring clarity, focus, motivation, purpose, direction, meaning and movement.
Your goals need energy, so if you set goals that are too small and easy to achieve, it’s not as exciting. Don’t mix up a to do list with goal setting.
Remember goal setting is about setting targets into the future that you can only dream of right now. They must inspire you!
What do I mean, they must inspire you? They must be more than you can see right now. You must dig deep to find out what’s stirring within you that wants to live.
It’s an act of faith to put your dreams into action. Don’t let your dreams lie dormant within you. You can make them a reality by just taking small actions every day.
Maybe you think, what if I set goals and then when I achieve them, I don’t want it, or it’s not as good as I had hoped?
Yes, this may happen, but you will feel good for having tried, and then you can turn around and move in a new direction. God can only direct our steps when we are moving, however slowly that may be.
How Can I Know If God Has a Different Plan For My Life?
This is something I’ve thought about a lot with regards to goal setting. When I follow God and pray for direction in my life, surely I shouldn’t set goals that may not be from God.
What I discovered is that goal setting is just a tool we use to help us to get to our destination, as it helps us to focus and get more in alignment with our purpose.
If you seek God’s direction in prayer and tell Him your plans, he will direct your steps as you move forward. Jesus always says, what do you want? This is how you align your dreams with God’s plan for you.
If your goals are not good or your motives are not pure, how then can God bless them? God cannot bless sin.
It’s not in God’s character to do anything dishonest, for God is Truth and Light.There is no darkness in Him. When you have integrity and seek the good of others, above self-gain or profit, God will bless you, in His perfect time.
So, ask for His guidance as you sit down and write your goals, and stay in prayer as you go about activating them. He will point you in the right direction. Trust and believe!
You are more likely to succeed if the goal is connected to who you are. Every goal is about a feeling. An emotional connection drives the goal.
The goal can change as you SMART it, (this is something I can do with you in a coaching session). To SMART a goal is to break it down and simplify it and make it clearer.
Harvey Mackay states that ‘goals give you more than a reason to get up in themorning; they are an incentive to keep you going all day. Goals tend to tap the deeper resources and draw the best out of life.’
4 Simple Ways To Achieve Any Goal
1. Have a strong reason or purpose
Is it what you want deep down? Ask yourself, not being influenced by someone else, or society, or cultural backgrounds. This is to give the strong emotional support needed for achieving your goal.
Why do you want it? What if you don’t achieve it? Why does it matter? What difference does it make if you indeed achieve it? Be clear about what you want and why you want it. Have a sense of purpose, with a target to aim for.
2. Find a meaningful measurement for your goal.
Look at how many tasks or things you do that move you towards your goal, regardless of whether or not they are successful.
For example, you may have researched 3 business ideas for your new business venture, and made 5 phone calls. This is progress regardless of their actual results. You have started.
To accomplish anything worthwhile means experiencing many small successes and failures along the way.
So long as you keep going, keep trying, keep making progress, keep working on your goal, you will eventually achieve it. It requires persistence.
3. Focus on spending enough time on your goals
Time on goals is important. Have a notebook just for this. If you don’t write it down, it’s just a wish. Commit to the time required to bring about your goal.
We tend to underestimate the amount of time it takes to accomplish something we want; we get impatient, we tend to lose heart when we don’t see results sooner.
Eventually this kind of impatient state of mind will sabotage your goal. Ask people who have achieved goals, how long did it take?
4. Form a habit of reviewing your goals everyday
Be consistent with putting action steps in towards achieving your goal. Keep reviewing it daily. It’s crucial to write your goals down. Put them is a place where you will look at them every day.
You may refine it each time you look at it, this is good. The more specific and simple your goal is, the easier it will be for your mind to process the information and move you in the direction of achieving that goal.
So, achieving your goals in life is possible!
In order for you to feel excited about your goal, you must choose something that you really want!
We don’t always know what we truly want, but this is part of the process. You must love yourself enough to make the time to think about what you want in life?
The reason I say your goals must inspire you is that you won’t achieve the goal without being emotionally connected to it. A rational thought alone won’t do it. You must first see yourself having it and enjoying it.
The higher your goal, the more passion you will need. So, spend time imagining yourself having it. Dream of it and connect with the emotions you feel. Do you feel happy? Accomplished? Content? Strong? Powerful?
Remember, it is a process and you must be willing to go through the different stages to achieve it. Start with small goals, as that will motivate you towards going for the bigger ones.
I wish you every success in making your dreams a reality. Goal setting is an effective tool for helping you to achieve your goals if used correctly and properly understood.
“The World Hates Change, Yet It Is The Only Thing That Has Brought Progress.“
As with all things in life, you can’t overcome your fear of change, until you first become aware that it is a problem.
One thing I discovered about change in my own life is that change occurs slowly, there is no fast track to lasting positive change, and there are stages to go through to get there.
In this article I hope to take you through some of these stages.
Dr. Stan Goldberg carried out twenty five years of research on ‘How People Change’. His findings concluded that change occurs in stages. He says it’s a gradual process that is tough, but not impossible, and it doesn’t have to be traumatic.
The reason change is traumatic for so many people is that for too long they live an unreflective life, going in the wrong direction, not listening to their own deepest needs and desires.
They keep going forward without acknowledging their problems, until one day they hit a crisis. Their world falls apart, and they wonder, what just happened? This is painful, and yes, even traumatic!
What Stan Goldberg means is that if you decide to look at your life as a whole; personally and professionally, and work on making positive change, aligning your deepest desires, and values with your actions, the transition will not be traumatic.
You’ve heard the expression ‘a stitch in time, saves nine’– everyone needs to make changes at some point in their life, but if we fail to make the changes in time, we could face a crisis later.
It’s about taking personal responsibility for your future, and making a decision to change!
Fear of Change
Before we discuss the steps to change, let us first look at our fear of change. It is almost programmed into us as human beings to dislike change, even though change is good as it often brings newness of life. Yet, we cling on terrified of upsetting the status quo.
People fight hard to hold on; the resistance to change is strong and even if their situations are damaging to their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, they still want to hold on for fear of the unknown.
Goldberg says, change is frightening and this is why we resit it.
‘ We resist change, but fear of the unknown can result in clinging to status quo behaviours, no matter how bad they are.’
Why do we resist change?
To feel safe, not to look foolish, not to have to walk alone.
Let’s face it, if you want to do something bold and daring in your life, you will have opposition. It will be difficult. Know this before setting off on your journey of change.
The reason I started New CreationCoaching was that I wanted to see change in the world. Why? because I am tired of how our society is going.
I want the future generation to think in a new way that helps them realize their infinite potential.
I want to see more and more people doing what they were called to do, rather than just plod along working and paying the bills.
Life is for living, and everyone should have an opportunity to live an abundant, blessed life.
For me, becoming a new creation means creating positive lasting change. It will be a completely new life with old things passing away and new things continually on the horizon.
When you cling to old ways, you don’t leave any room for new things in your life.
I found this concept difficult at first because I thought I had seen and done it all. I had been very adventurous in my life. What could be new for me?
It was a challenge for me to change, as I was clinging to what I knew, terrified of taking the next step of faith.
For some people, change comes about through sickness or maybe even divorce or redundancy.
You hadn’t planned it, but it brought change all the same. This often proves to be a blessing in disguise. Do not be afraid of change, but rather embrace it!
Can you work with me for a minute? I just want you to relax! Now, imagine…
You felt total peace and joy everyday of you life
Lived wherever you wanted to live
Surrounded by the people you want to be with
Speaking freely without any fear of criticism
Not needing to people please
Being in charge of your own life
Carving out your own path
Not being controlled
Not needing to control
Accepting yourself as you really are
Daring to be the real you – living authentically
Enjoying life to the full!
Soaring to great heights!
Having life-giving relationships
Living with purpose and meaning
What would that feel like for you? Do you live like that now? Or, is it far from your reality?
We can find ourselves in a rut very easily. Our world system almost sets it up for us, and without true awareness and the courage to challenge the status quo, we could be in this rut till the day we die.
And believe me, I have seen it, as I worked as a nurse for over 20 years, walking with people in those last days. It is true, a lot of people reach the end of their life feeling unfulfilled.
The fulfilled ones enjoyed being old and looking at the rest of us trying to work it all out, offering kind support wrapped in little nuggets of wisdom.
They were at peace, had no regrets, and were nice to be around. They had used up their gifts and talents and had love in their hearts, not bitterness.
I just want to get you thinking today. If this doesn’t apply to you, that’s okay, but for those of you who are wondering:
Am I in the right place in my life? Are my relationships healthy? Do I like my job? Should I go for that promotion, or should I plan to leave?
What about your health? hobbies? financial life? spiritual life? emotional well-being?
Change can be daunting, and you may not know where to start. This can lead to inertia, but don’t worry, just take baby steps. The first step is the awareness that something needs to change.
There is more out there for you, but you will have to do your part to bring it in. I encourage you to follow your dreams, as life without dreams is very dull indeed.
The only way to overcome your fear of change is to make a decision to do it regardless and move through it gently.
7 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Change
1. Recognize Your Need To Change
Awareness is always the first step to change. You first have to see your need for change. Perhaps something isn’t working as well as it could?
Self-awareness brings new insights into your patterns of behaviour, reactions, defenses, etc. When you become aware, it allows you to choose something different that brings better results.
2. Make A Decision To Take The First Step Towards Change
Commitment to yourself. When you reflect on your situation and decide to make a commitment to starting to change, you are already halfway there. There is power in making a decision. You see the need for change, and you have hope of a better future.
3. Examine Your Life To See What Areas Need Change
You can do this yourself by writing down all the different areas of your life such as work, family, relationships, finances, health, self-development, and so on.
Examine each area and ask yourself how satisfied am I with each area using a scale of 0 -10? ( 0 being – very dissatisfied and 10 being very satisfied ). You can also come to a coaching session and we can go through this together.
4. Invest Time and Effort Into Making This Change Happen
Again, commitment to the process. First, you need to commit to the decision and then follow through on this commitment to the point of completion.
This is about believing in yourself and believing that this will work for you! We build self-belief when we make decisions, take successful actions, and accept personal responsibility for both our successes and failures.
5. Be Confident
Confidence requires practice. It requires mistakes and the courage to fail. You will have set backs, but all successful people fail many times on their way to success.
You activate your self-confidence by believing in yourself. It’s about having boldness and courage and not caring what others think of you. Dare to be different.
6. Be Persistent – Change is on the way
At this point, it gets tough, there will be some pain as the process begins, but remember, it’s normal to feel this way as you are moving out of your comfort zone; it may feel like you are pushing a rock up a hill, but believe me, it gets easier.
Don’t give up! .. soon you will see rewards for your persistence and determination.
7. Be Willing To Let Go Of The Old
Be willing to let go of old habits, behaviours, things, people, and anything else that no longer serves you in a healthy way. It takes time to let go of bad habits and to form new ones.
Be aware of this, so if you slip back occasionally, don’t worry too much, this is all part of the process. Dust yourself off and get back up.
A Few Final Pointers For Your Journey To Positive Change –
Let go and trust
Desire something better
Believe you can change
Don’t give up
Wait with expectation – it is coming !
Make a decision today to confront your fear of change. If you follow these steps in whatever order you like, you will overcome your fear of change.
Always remind yourself that change is good, especially if you are feeling unhappy in certain areas of your life.
It may not be easy to change, but if you can keep your mind and heart on the future results, you will have the strength to keep going until you reach your desired goal.
Most people have a desire to find true lasting freedom in life, even if they don’t fully understand what this means. They have a sense that it might just be possible to live a life unconstrained or limited in any way.
This idea almost seems impossible to the rational mind, but somewhere deep within every soul, we know it to be true. Many people will shun this notion of true freedom, because they fear it, but really what is there to fear?
What Is Freedom?
Freedom is a fairly elusive term. It’s not easy to put your finger on it. The English Oxford Dictionary defines freedom as “the power or right to act,speak, or think as one wants.”
What Does It Mean To Be Truly Free?
If we take this definition of freedom to be true, then we have to ask ourselves, do I act, speak, and think as I want to, or am I inhibited in some way? And if you are not acting, speaking, and thinking the way you want to, why is this?
What stops us from living this way? Is it wrong to act, speak, and think as we want? Who is it that controls our actions, our speech, and our thinking?
How to Achieve Ultimate Freedom?
There is another freedom – the ultimate freedom that is found in Jesus Christ alone. It is important that we do everything we can to help ourselves to find inner freedom, but it is in surrendering to God that true lasting freedom comes.
In this article, I will be focusing on personal freedom as opposed to freedom in the general sense, such as social or political freedom.
A sign of a free person is seen in their ability to change easily.
There are two ways we can look at freedom
to be free from something
to be free todo or be something
Let’s first look at what it means to be free from something. What are we actually getting free from?
hurts / trauma
feelings of inferiority
What are you getting free to do or be?
live the life you really want
pursue your dreams
make new choices
explore your true identity
develop new relationships (healthy ones!)
serve the community
fulfill your divine calling
Free From Something
What are these obstacles that we are getting free from?
Freedom From Fear
FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. This acronym is very true. Most of our fears are not real at all. They get magnified in our mind and blown way out of proportion, causing us to live very small lives.
Fear will cripple you if you let it. You must become aware of this emotion in you and learn how to manage it. As most of our fears are not real, it is up to you to train your mind to examine the thoughts that are bringing up the feelings of fear in you.
Your life is not an accident, you didn’t just land here on this planet. You were created by God for a purpose, and He has a plan for your life. If you don’t learn to overcome fear, you will never see this plan come to pass.
Learn to do things even with the fear in you, and as you start to move forward, you will notice the fear dissipate.
Freedom From The Past
Some people live their life in the past, carrying around hurts and memories, holding on to them for years as though nothing good could ever possibly happen again!
When we learn to reflect on the human condition and observe our thoughts and actions daily, we come to realize how foolish we are most of the time.
We live limited lives because we have not been conditioned to believe in ourselves and a lot of this learned behaviour comes from our past.
My parents learned to think this way from their parents and so on. Cultures also like to hold tight to old ways for different reasons, some of them are out of respect or patriotism, but others are out of fear, the fear of change.
Freedom From Hurts and Trauma
This is probably one of the biggest obstacles to growth, carrying around wounds from the past. Everyone has been hurt in some way, no one ever completely escapes it, although we do know that some people have experienced worse pain and suffering than others.
We have heard the testimonies of many victims of abuse, who have endured some of the most horrific situations and we see that they all come to a point in their life where they have to choose, what do I do about this?
Do I hold onto the pain, the hurt, the resentment, the unforgiveness, or do I choose to let it go, forgive and live again?
It is in this choice that freedom comes. You can’t be free if you do not forgive. People who don’t forgive remain in bondage and the sad part is that the perpetrator of the abuse is probably living their life without a thought in the world about the pain they have caused you, or they may even be in the grave. So, do yourself a favour and let it go!
Freedom From Feelings Of Inferiority
This is more common than you might think. Very successful people are often plagued with feelings of inferiority.
You may have heard of people who attain tremendous achievements in life, only to secretly whisper to a friend, “but, I feel like a fraud”. They don’t feel worthy of such success.
Others feel so inferior that they can’t even muster up the confidence to take the risk to achieve anything close to their potential. Feelings of inferiority will keep you in bondage.
One major block to feeling truly free and powerful in your life is a fear of rejection or abandonment.
It is normal to have these fears to some degree from time to time, but if they are paralizing you and making you afraid to take healthy risks in your life, then you are still in bondage and not free.
Freedom From Regrets
Maybe you have some regrets from the past, you feel you should have worked harder at school, gained a higher education or perhaps a romantic relationship didn’t work out the way you had hoped, and you have regrets about that.
Sometimes we feel a financial crisis will leave us with regrets in the future, but research has shown that financial regrets rank low on the list of overall life regrets.
In fact, the top 6 regrets people tend to have in life are to do with:
Self Care and Development
We can’t change the past, so the question we need to ask ourselves is, what can I do today to ensure I don’t experience these regrets again in my life?
Freedom From Anxiety
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal and often healthy emotion. However, when people experience regular bouts of high levels of anxiety, it could become a disorder.
“Anxiety disorders affect 40 million people in the United States. However, only 36.9 percent of people with an anxiety disorder receive treatment.” Adam Felman , MedicalNewsToday
Symptoms of anxiety are:
restlessness, a feeling of being “on edge”
These physical symptoms alter the way a person processes emotions and behaves. It is important to know the difference between normal levels of anxiety and an anxiety disorder that requires treatment.
It is normal to experience anxiety when triggered by a potentially harmful situation. The symptoms of this are, a raised heartbeat, sweating, increased sensitivity to one’s surroundings.
On the other hand, a person with an anxiety disorder will present with much more severe and intense symptoms, such as; nervousness, worry, fear, or evenparanoia that are way out of proportion to the trigger.
Freedom From Depression
“Depressive disorders are characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and worthlessness and a lack of desire to engage in formerly pleasurable activities.” (Psychology Today)
Depression is a very common mental health problem today. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than 16 million adults suffer from at least one bout of depression each year.
But, the good news is, it can be treated with psychotherapy, medication or both.
Depression effects the mood and the motivation of individuals. It also interferes with daily living, making even simple tasks difficult to do.
This is because it disrupts the way the brain processes information and interprets experiences.
Some of the symptoms of depression are:
loss of energy or fatigue
loss of appetite
loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
difficulty thinking, concentrating and making decisions
feelings of hopelessness, even despair leading to suicidal thoughts
If you are feeling depressed right now, know that there is hope and there are many people who can help you. You can be free from depression if you can get to the root cause.
It’s important to have a belief in God or a higher power as sometimes the feeling of depression can be so heavy and overwhelming that it is good to be able to hand this over in prayer or meditation to God.
It is best to get help from professionals if you feel very depressed. One red flag of depression is if you notice yourself isolating.
Part of your recovery will involve other people, so make the most of all the available services, such as counsellors, doctors, psychotherapists, coaches, pastors, priests, etc. You are not alone.
Also, supportive family members and friends can help you if you share how you feel with them.
So, stay hopeful and keep an optimistic outlook. You can overcome depression and find true lasting freedom and joy in your life. It is possible!
Freedom From Debt
Financial freedom is something everyone should have in life. We were not meant to be poor, we have a God who wants to provide for us, but it is fallen man that has brought poverty into the world.
The key to finding financial freedom is to understand this, we are not the ones producing the wealth. We are always dependent upon God for our success. We have our part to play, but the wealth comes from God. Wealth can disappear in the blink of an eye. The bible says:
“Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in life.” Ecclesiastes 7:14
When we strive in our own strength, we fail. We might make money, but there will be a lack somewhere else which will probably show up in a relationship, our health, our joy, or peace.
The key is to make your plans, get into action, let go of the outcome, and trust God.
Freedom From Addictions
“Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences.” Wikipedia
Addiction is so prevalent in our society today, more and more addictions are being added to the list as the years roll on. This is probably due to the fast rate of change in the last 30 years.
Human beings are not emotionally prepared for this rapid change, and we are struggling to keep up.
Addictions are a sign of our times, people are turning to rewarding stimuli to escape the pain and stress of just living life. We all know life shouldn’t be like this, but it looks like we have a long way to go to find balance.
What are some of the addictions people suffer from today?
Playing Video Games
Spiritual Obsession (as opposed to religious devotion)
Why are addictions a problem and how do addictions prevent us from being free?
This is an interesting question, because after all, don’t people enjoy these habits? Most people cling tightly to their drug of choice and often refuse to see it as a problem. They just don’t want to give it up.
Giving up addictive behaviour or habits is not easy, but why?
The simple answer to this question is because the addictions suppress painful emotions or feelings that are too difficult to face. All addictions are an escape from reality and hinder growth and progress in life.
When we feel very anxious or emotionally fragile we tend to reach for comfort, a drug to kill the pain. What is your drug of choice, and are you willing to give it up for a life of freedom, peace, and joy?
Freedom comes when we become aware of our addictive habits, and choose to give them up and do the emotional work that needs to be done to heal the root cause of the addiction.
Freedom From Perfectionism
“Perfectionism is defined as a personal standard, attitude, or philosophy that demands perfection and rejects anything less.” (dictionary.com)
The root of perfectionism is a deep sense of unworthiness. When perfectionism shows up, it is often accompanied by depression, anxiety, and anger.
Ultimately, perfectionism isn’t about doing things right, it’s really about control. The perfectionist wants to be accepted, loved and valued, and feels the only way to receive this acceptance is by being perfect in every way.
The problem with perfectionism is that society praises it as it produces good results (for society), but it doesn’t produce good results for the perfectionist, so they need help to get free from it.
Revaluate your standards – how do other people do things? / are my expectations too high?
Try relaxing your standards a bit
Challenge your perfectionist thoughts – how important is it?
Learn to say “I don’t know.” or “I was wrong.”
Freedom From Unhealthy Relationships
Personally, I feel this is one of the biggest factors to finding true personal freedom in your life. Think about it, what has caused you the most pain and trauma in your life? People, of course!
Most of us start off as children loving and trusting the world around us and then… well, you know!! the list goes on, we’ve all been hurt, rejected, abandoned, betrayed, or whatever else you have experienced in your lifetime to date.
Did you deserve it? Of course not, no one deserves abuse of any kind, but some people think it’s okay to mistreat others. Maybe they were hurt? As the saying goes.. “hurting people,hurt people.“
But, even if your abusers were hurt, do you think it is wise for you to be close to them? Some people say, well they need love, and so they stay in some of the most horrendous relationships when reality tells them every day that their love is not healing their loved one.
In fact, sometimes the perpetrator gets worse if not confronted or challenged.
If you want to be truly free, you must have healthy relationships. Everyone knows this, but not everyone knows what to do about it.
You can be free from unhealthy relationships if you choose to be. As with all freedom, it has to start with a decision to change. You need to get to a stage where you say, enough is enough! I deserve better.. I want a great life with healthy relationships.
Of course, this is easier said that done. You can’t just leave your spouse or partner if you have been together for years. It is up to you to decide what is enough for you, and seek professional help if you are unsure about how you feel.
Counsellors, doctors, coaches, priests, or pastors can all listen to you and give suggestions. What you decide is ultimately up to you, but the help is there if you are feeling confused or afraid.
Freedom From Negative Thinking
Negative thinking is a killer to our quest for freedom. Negative thinking will eat away at any hopeful thought you have of the future. If you are suffering from negative thinking, it is time to find a way to change it.
Remember, you are probably in the habit of thinking in a negative way, so don’t expect things to change overnight. You will have to develop new ways of thinking which is very possible.
You can retrain the pathways to the brain to send new messages. This can be done through daily affirmations, meditation, counseling, or coaching if you are stuck in a negative cycle.
According to Mark Twain, “habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs one step at a time.” So, be patient with yourself.
Freedom from Sin
People don’t like to talk about sin nowadays, but if you are a Christian or know anything about Christianity, you will know that sin displeases God and that it is sin that separates us from God.
According to the Collins dictionary: ‘Sin or a sin is an action or type of behaviour which is believed to break the laws of God.’
The Law of God in The Old Testament was given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and is referred to as The 10 Commandments.
The 10 Commandments act as a mirror, so that we can see our sin. As St Paul says in the book of Romans, it was the law that showed him his sin. He said, ‘I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”
The Law of Moses is still valid and good to live our life by, but God knows that because of our weakness we can’t keep it. So, God made a new way through Jesus, His Son.
Free To Do Or Be Something
Once you have worked through the hard stuff, you are now ready to embrace this new beginning and pursue the life you’ve always dreamed of!
Pursue Your Dreams
If you had a lot of obstacles to overcome before reaching this point in your life, don’t worry if you are wondering, “what dreams? I don’t even know if Ihave any?” I was like that too at the beginning.
I had to do a bit of digging before I uprooted my dormant dreams, but they were still there, so don’t lose heart, yours are too.
Live The Life You Really Want
This is the best part, this is what I call freedom! At last, you can get to a point in your life where you discover that perhaps you were right about a few things, and maybe you can now trust that still small voice within.
People love to give advice, but sometimes their advice is not really what you need as they are coming from their own experiences and let’s be honest, do they really know you, as you do?
Don’t get me wrong, still, listen to peoples’ advice as they can shine some light on your situation. But, be sure to get quiet and make your own decisions in the end.
Make New Choices
You always have choices, no matter what situation you are in. At times, life gets dark and confusing, and we don’t know what to do next.
Many people are stuck in bad relationships, jobs they hate, and lives that are far from anything they had dreamed of, but they don’t know where to begin to create the life they want. Is this you?
Well, it doesn’t have to be this way. What you can do is say to yourself, ‘although I can’t really see a better future for myself right now, I believe in my spirit that it is possible.’
Before I started on this journey of self-discovery, I used to complain of feeling bored! I didn’t know at the time, that boredom was a sign that I needed to change something, or to begin something new that would challenge or inspire me.
“Boredom is the absence of a creative idea.” Bob Proctor
So, what do you need to change and what’s stopping you from doing it? Remember, you do have choices!
Discover Your True Identity
Getting to know yourself is a life long journey, but a vital part of the path to freedom. All relationships have to begin with you, and if you don’t like or understand yourself, how then can you expect to love and understand others?
We are living in a codependent world today. Everyone is seeking their identity in others. They identify themselves by the relationships in their lives and the roles they play. My family, my partner, my friends, my job, etc.
We need relationships and good, healthy relationships can be a great source of joy and fulfillment, but they must be put in the right order.
Why do we reach out to others to fill us, when others are just like us, imperfect human beings? What I’m saying is that if you want to experience true freedom, love, joy, and peace in your life, you have to seek God first, the ultimate source of all love, joy, and peace.
Develop New Relationshipswith Healthy People
As you begin to change and grow more, your relationships will change too. It happens quite naturally because as you are moving away from old habits and embracing a new way of life, your friends, and probably family too, will not cheer you on!
Yes, this is the sad part. Not everyone wants you to change!
Why don’t they want you to change?
Because they don’t want to lose you. You served them in some way and they liked what you gave to them.
Also, if you decide to change and embrace the light, they are threatened as you are causing them to look at themselves. They don’t like this, because they are not ready to change.
So, this is an important thing to remember if you decide to follow the path to freedom. There will be loss and not everyone you love is going to like it.
Can you cope with this? There is a cost to following the path to truth and freedom, but the rewards far outweigh the cost, so I encourage to keep going forward.
Freedom to Serve
Some people don’t see serving as something that brings freedom. Well, it does bring freedom for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, you are choosing to help others, you are not coming from a place of duty or obligation. In fact, you learn that it is in giving that the blessings in life come.
And secondly, when we serve the community, it makes us feel good, Also, we meet new people who can bless and enrich our lives.
Freedom to Follow Your Divine Calling
Finding and following your divine calling is a process that takes time, we must try different things that we enjoy and learn to tune into what’s working and what helps others.
The reason we first need to overcome our fears and insecurities is because it is this that holds us back from believing in our ability to carry out our God given calling.
To Sum Up
Finding lasting freedom in your life is possible. You are not doomed to a life of slavery, you really can live an amazing, fulfilling life, and be happy every day.
But, as you can see, it does take work, and you must have a willingness to take personal responsibility for yourself and make a decision to change.
You don’t have to do it alone, many people can help you. My future posts will teach you how to work through all these areas in your life, so you can find true lasting freedom and joy!
Remember, true lasting freedom comes from Christ alone. I will explore this more in my future posts. God is not absent from our daily concerns, He is in all things, and wants to work with you in making your dreams a reality!