Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are you experiencing a spiritual bypass?

Are you pursuing a spiritual path? Have you found yourself disappointed or frustrated? Either with the people or the work? Are you ready to give up?

Here is what I think is happening. There has been a great deal of interest in pursuing mystical, esoteric, spiritual mysteries. People have been jumping on the band wagon of spiritual pursuit, both traditional practices and "commercialized" versions of enlightenment. What I am suggesting is that one needs psychological healing in psychotherapy before spiritual work is effective.

What is a spiritual bypass then? It is when you are not recovered from your psychological wounding, and to heal you become involved in a spiritual pursuit. Thinking this is "THE" answer to everything that has been bothering you. The outcome often is feeling let down, one loses faith and trust.

The ability to trust, have faith and have discipline to practice true spiritual pursuits requires one to have a balanced psychological foundation. With out this you are bypassing work and jumping to spirit to find peace and balance. You have no foundation to support this work and it will collapse.

Here is one example of how this might happen. Early psychological wounding (first year of life) can result in an impaired ability to form healthy attachments. The wounding to early consciousness needs to be repaired in order to provide a balanced, solid foundation. Someone wounded in this way will attach to the people and practices of the tradition in a dysfunctional way. They might want to be controlled (taken care of), becoming dependent on, or becoming so disappointed by the humanness of their companions that they reject all.

Do yourself a favor. Heal yourself in the emotional and mental realms first. Do not try to climb the ladder to the divine until the lower rungs of your ladder have been repaired.

First make sure the basics in your life are handled. You have a secure home and way of maintaining your day to day living. Then heal your psyche. Seek a therapist or group to work through any wounds, patterns or beliefs that are destructive.Counseling can help you discern what is truly healthy for you. Now when you begin your spiritual journey you are prepared to respond to the wonderful fulfillment as well as the disappointments, and frustrations along the way.

THE GOOD NEWS IS: When you have a solid foundation of psychological health you can then fully enjoy the benefits of spiritual pursuits

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Seven ways to calm down quickly

Today we all have a great deal of stress. Unemployment, foreclosure, cutbacks at work, businesses closing, problems and so on. Your stress may be leading you into distress. This can be hard on your body and your mind. Try any one or all of these tips and see if you can help yourself to calm down quickly.

1.Ask yourself: "Is this a true emergency"? An true emergency means you are experiencing an imminent threat to your life. Most situations are not true emergencies. Everyday problems like a fight with your spouse, your car breaking down,  an unexpected bill or something else, often feels like an emergency. You feel anxious, your heart races, your mind gets foggy and you are overwhelmed.All of these  problems are false emergencies.  Although none of these problems are welcomed, they are not immediately life threatening. When you ask yourself if this is a true emergency and answer no, you will immediately start to calm down. Most daily problems are false emergencies.

2. Breathe. The first thing you do when a problem occurs is to tense is hold your breathe. When you hold your breathe you build up carbon dioxide in your lungs and you can not take in a deep breath. This increase anxiety.

 So start by breathing out  through your mouth. A long slow breath out, like blowing out candle on a cake. Then breathe in through your nose normally. You can do ten of these breaths, with a long slow exhale through the mouth and a regular inhale through the nose. This way of breathing will help you relax and calm down.

3. Go outside. Listen to the birds, look at the sky, smell the air, feel the sun.  Research tells us just five minutes outside helps you come into a state of balance.

4. Listen to music. Your heart rate and blood pressure responds to music. Put on soothing slower paced music that you enjoy and your blood pressure and heart rate will slow down and you feel better.

5. Imagery. Use your imagination to focus on a calming image. The secret is to use all your senses. See it, hear it, smell it, touch it, sense it, know it. The image you use is personal for you. Ask yourself what is your image for calm. Close you eyes, do the breathe you learned in number two above and focus on your calm place for 3-5 minutes. You will feel more relaxed.

6. Count to ten. This old advice hold some truth. When you count to ten you give yourself a pause between the feeling and any action,. During this pause you focus your attention on the counting. This focus and pause can help you to calm down before acting (action which may escalate the situation).

7. Write in your journal. Some people find that writing about a problems help to discharge the anxious feelings and gain clarity about a situation.

 THE GOOD NEWS IS: These tips work quickly and can be immediately, without any special expensive tools.