The greatest risk you take in life: Just be Yourself
2nd March, 20140 Comments
Some common reasons someone contact a Life Coach is because they want to feel better in their lives and find ways of reducing stress, anxiety and depression. I am going to share with you, a few changes you can make in your life to make these changes.
I want to start by making one clear point, when you were born you were born with everything you needed. And you weren’t born depressed, stressed, angry, frustrated, sad or insecure.
Yes, you may have been completely dependent on your parents back then, but you were born happy. That means happiness is inside of you and therefore over a certain span of your life you’ve learned to adopt do new feelings such as sadness, loneliness, insecurity, anxiety and depression.
Imagine just for a moment that young children learn the same way in which we as adults learn. For example a young child is learning to walk and imagine what happens when that child tries for the first time, falls down and bumps his or her bum. What would happen if this child got so sad and depressed and felt so useless and insecure after this first failed attempt that they never tried again for the rest of their life? This would mean that everyone would crawl around the floor on their hands and knees, petrified to stand up in case they were to fall over and hurt themselves again. But this isn’t the case, is it, because children will learn to walk, despite falling over, they just learn one more way how not to do things.
I wonder if we could look at the problems we face in life and see them as opportunities, hurdles or challenges. Opportunities to overcome, grow and develop.
It doesn’t really matter what you’re facing in life, we all face rejection, whether it be in relationships, jobs or education but these things don’t stop us from moving forward and trying again and again. Every challenge you experience in your life is giving you a fresh opportunity to overcome and learn something new, to grow and develop as a person, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing at all.
Have you ever seen a depressed person? What picture do you get when you hear that someone is depressed or down in the dumps? You might think they’ll be bent over, looking down staring at the floor. If you struggle with feelings of sadness or feeling low, I’ve got one simple exercise that’s going to transform your day!
If you do start feeling negative or low emotions, stand up with your back straight, head towards the sky and your arms right up in the air. If you hold this position for 30 seconds or a minute or more, you will not feel depressed. No one can stand with their back straight, arms up in the air, look up at the sky and keep a sad look on their face. This is because if you’re looking up at the sky you’re changing your focus from your inward feelings. I’m not belittling your personal circumstances, I’m offering you one technique to take your focus off your problems and onto something else and it can change your mood in the present moment.
Another point I’m going to make is if you’re struggling with anxiety and depression, you need to be aware of what you’re putting in. When I say putting in, what is actually going into your body? It might just be fatty, sugary, stodgy food, it might be too much alcohol, it might be smoking or drugs, but what chemicals are you putting into your body? They will ultimately play a huge effect on how you feel on a daily basis.
Going beyond what you’re putting in your mouth and bringing into your body, what are you reading and what are you watching on TV? If you’re modelling your life based on what you see in the movies, TV or on computer games, then it would be unrealistic to expect to feel overwhelmingly enthused, inspired and passionate about life. If what’s coming in isn’t particularly positive, then what comes out of you generally won’t be too positive. A simple suggestion I would make today is, now and again, to read something different, a positive, uplifting and inspiring book, or watch a movie about someone who’s done something amazing with their life.
A book I’d recommend is ‘The Road Less Travelled’ by M Scott Beck. When you read this book, it’s kind of like you’re reading about yourself. Beck talks about the general feelings of lowness, anxiety and depression and that the road less travelled in life is the path that not many people will take and it’s about actually trying to understand the negative emotions. Many people accept negative emotions as being how they are rather than questioning and challenging them and changing them.
Another book is ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl, who was interred in a concentration camp in the Second World War. He experienced physical, mental and emotional torture, as well as seeing the executions of those he loved, but what he learned from his experience was that he wanted to live. How much do you want to live and how much change are you willing to make in your life in order to live?
To live fully requires us to go on this road less travelled, to make some choices and decisions that most people won’t make, and when necessary, make changes and be aware of our situations and exactly what’s happening. We need to work out what we’re in control of and what we’re not in control of. We need to manage our expectations, including those of others, because if we have unrealistic expectations of other people, we’re going to be left feeling disappointed, which will in turn lead to further anxiety, depression or sadness.
Another phenomenal book I’ll share with you is ‘The Inside Out Revolution’ by Michael Neill, one of America’s super coaches. What Michael basically talks about is that we generally base our emotions on the outcomes of our lives, the situations and sets of circumstances that we find ourselves in, and then in turn blame the outcomes for how we feel. This actually isn’t the case, because every outcome stems from an action, an attitude or a behaviour.
Every action, attitude or behaviour will stem from an emotion, good or negative, and every emotional feeling, whether good or bad, will stem initially from a thought. Michael talks about how thoughts produce feelings that produce emotions that produce actions, attitudes and behaviours, which in turn will determine the outcomes, the situations and circumstances that we experience in life. If our outcomes aren’t particularly good or aren’t the way that we would like them to be, rather than trying to change the outcomes, what we can learn to do is actually understand our thoughts, and when necessary, change our thinking.
The point I’m making here is that you need to change your habits if you want to feel better. You can’t keep on doing the same thing, acting the same way, behaving the same way, going round in the same circles day in, day out, and expect your life to magically transform. Changing habits might be things like eating more healthily, drinking less alcohol, stopping smoking, taking less drugs and mind altering substances, and exercising more. Surround yourself with new people who are actually working towards being better themselves.
As you go through life there’s always someone that’s doing something bigger, better or more inspiring or more impacting than you are, so learn from these people. Find someone that’s doing something you aspire to do or being or acting in a way that you aspire to be like or act like, and find out what it is that they do and how they get the results they get in life, and model yourself on them.
We’re talking about bringing your whole life into perspective, because sometimes when we focus on little problems they can feel like mountains. When we really focus on something we sometimes can’t see anything else outside of this. What I’m talking about here is learning to bring your life into perspective whenever you feel like you’re getting drawn into negative emotions.
If you could imagine for one moment that you’re watching TV and a newsflash comes on announcing that an asteroid is heading for planet Earth. You’ve got approximately one year ‘til this asteroid hits the world and humanity as you know it will be completely wiped out. What are you going to do?
The root behind every negative emotion, anxiety, stress and depression we face is the fact that our inner needs are not being met. By this I mean our security, who we are, being able to utilise our gifts, skills and talents and actually impact the world in some way. If an asteroid is heading our way and you’ve got one year left to live, what difference are you going to make, how are you going to invest your time and yourself into making the world a better place?
Write down three positive changes that you can offer to the world because the secret is that when you’re focusing on outside of you rather than inside of you, guess what, your negative emotions will simply fade into insignificance.
If you’re able to bring yourself out of yourself for just one moment, and put your focus on the needs of other people, all you’ll be left seeing is endless opportunity for you. You’ll be able to live a significant life of meaning and value to other people where you can be 100% who you are without having to be anyone else, or having to do the things you neither want to do or don’t enjoy doing.
The greatest risk you could ever take in life is to just simply be you.
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Annie Ashdown - Business and Personal Development Coach, Author and IntuitiveOctober 20th, 2016