Friday, July 11, 2014
Part 2 of series "The Mastery of Change, Choosing Mental and Emotional Wellness" by Sean Morgan
This is part 2 in the series by Guest Writer, Sean Morgan:
Hello, this is guest blogger Sean Morgan. Last week, I was able to share the introduction to a book I wrote called "The Mastery Of Change, Choosing Mental and Emotional Wellness". I wrote this book after I was able to let go of some very debilitating patterns in myself and embrace a pattern of positivity that continues to spiral ever upward. I'm a very curious person by nature. I wanted to know how I did it. So after some very intense reflections and conversations, it started to come out. Without too much reference to other philosophies or therapeutic models, I attempted to explain how our mind/body/spirit system works without jargon. I realized that I was attempting something very ambitious, but I figured that if even one person with similar struggles as myself would benefit, it would be worth writing and sharing. What came out surprised myself, because I have never attempted to write a book. As an unacademic person, I was able to talk about emotions, beliefs, confidence, achievement, and healing change from a very practical perspective. I include writing prompts and reflections throughout the book for people to actively participate in the learning process. Here is the second installment of the book. I hope it gives you insight and practical tools for your daily life.
Our understanding of emotions and unseen bioenergetic fields is very basic. In this book I create an imaginary model and use metaphors to demonstrate how I understand emotions in my personal experience. These models, much like the models of atoms first created by Niels Bohr and others, are not accurate. They are educated guesses to explain how the universe works. I do not ask that you believe these models just because I suggest them. I would encourage you to use the exercises and see for yourself if these models accurately predict how energy flows in your body and your life. New age people as well as scientists throw around the word energy quite a bit. According to science, everything is made of waves of energy, including matter. I use the term to describe any wave that cannot be seen.
Through a physical regimen that includes a diet of water, nutritious food, and moderate challenge to our bodies (exercise), we develop strong bones, tissue, fat, and muscle. These become our physical resources that we can use to live off of in times of crisis. It is a wonderful system for resilience. We also have an intelligence within our bodies that discards toxins, which are substances we ingest that do not serve our survival.
Another layer of our being is our “emotional body”. The result of how our system responds to the total of all input at any given point is our emotional state. Our being filters the energy in our field including food, sound, thought waves, and all other stimulus. The result of this filtration of energy is a physical response which ranges on a spectrum from positive and life-giving to negative and life-destroying, with neutral in the middle. We have many words to describe what it feels like when energy is flowing freely, elegantly, and efficiently through our bodies, feeding our organs and body parts. They are the positive emotions. There is also a lexicon for the overall feeling we get when sluggish death-causing energy stagnates within our being. They are the negative emotions. Yes, negative emotions cause disease. In fact, according to Lett et al, depression could be a causal factor for heart disease (2004).
Clinical neuropsychologist Dr. Mario Martinez does fascinating research on cultural programming and emotional causes of disease. In one of his papers, he demonstrates that women in different cultures experience menopausal symptoms differently depending on the cultural beliefs about them. You can access his research at Biocognitive.org.
We know that we have to bring in fresh, clean nutrients and cleanse ourselves of toxins through elimination processes to be physically healthy. We know that we have to build our bodies through moderate challenge. Although we can try to blame genetics and others if we are fat, the truth is hard to deny. We do have free will regarding what we put into our bodies and how much we challenge our bodies through exercise. I encourage you to take a stance of responsibility for your emotional body as well, for it is indivisible from your physical body.
You must feed your body with positive emotions on a daily basis. See the reference section of this book for research linking positive emotions and physical health. You must eliminate toxic negative emotions when they come up as well. Every behavior in which you engage has an emotional result. Through awareness you will know which behaviors are emotionally healthy and which ones are not. Just like exercise, building a healthy emotional body takes effort and can be uncomfortable. When you make the conscious choice to change from a negative pattern to a positive one, the change itself is uncomfortable but has an undeniably wonderful result. This book has exercises that you can practice to build a healthy emotional body so that in times of crisis and intense challenge, you have the inner resources to adapt, survive, and thrive.
It’s difficult to talk about the emotional body, the physical body, and the mind with its thoughts and beliefs because they are not separate. The scientific world tends to categorize and compartmentalize phenomenon that is actually connected. Even so, using words and concepts with which people are familiar will help me to illustrate a more integral understanding.
In the same way that we cannot survive without food, we need positive emotions to survive. Furthermore, we cannot survive with only negative emotions. That would be like eating a diet of poison and never eliminating it. The experience of negative emotions in our lives is inevitable, in the same way that the experience of toxins in our environment is inevitable for our physical bodies. Physical health is so straightforward; you just eat clean natural food and have regular elimination of toxins. But what about emotional fitness? How do we build our emotional body so that we can endure times of crisis and starvation of emotional nutrition?
Emotions are not the subject of as many scientific studies, so we have to work with limited understanding and create a mental model of how they work. It’s hard to imagine a problem with being too happy, too kind, or too positive. But drug, sex, and food addiction come to mind as ways that people seek to feel positive emotions in an unhealthy way. This is where the conscious mind has to step in and recognize that the initial positive emotion is just masking a longer-term negative effect.
A negative emotion is one that you would prefer not to feel. How do we release them? When you realize that you are feeling a negative emotion, that’s a good thing because you’ve taken the first step toward releasing it, which is realizing that it’s there. Here comes the counterintuitive part: the trick to releasing it is to keep your consciousness on it and feel it moving inside you. Follow it with your mind. Feel the breath slowly encouraging its release. Breathe into the area of your body where you feel the contraction, and consciously relax there.
When do you feel positive emotions such as contentment, confidence, and joy? What do they feel like in your body?
Which emotions do you feel victimized by?
When do you feel these emotions?
What does it feel like in your body when you experience them?
How do you deal with negative emotions?
What positive strategies do you have to work with negative emotions?
(ex: I count to ten when I experience a strong emotion instead of refueling it with my thoughts.)
What are the strategies you use that make things worse?
(ex: I yell at my son when I feel angry.)
How Beliefs Relate To The Emotional Body
Beliefs are pathways that allow energy to flow through our beings. It is a whole-body pattern, but I’ll talk a lot about the brain in this book because there is more scientific evidence available for it. How the flow of energy feels to us is called an emotion. If you believe that being alive is something to be grateful for, then you will feel a positive flow of emotion upon waking because you will realize that you are alive. If you believe that you have to go to work to survive and you don’t enjoy work, then you will feel the opposite way when you hear the alarm clock.
When I had depression, I had many beliefs that kept happiness at a distance or caused me pain. I remember when I first learned that we have the power to deconstruct our own beliefs. It was a major breakthrough for me. I started to watch my own thoughts and laugh at how unhelpful they were. Specifically, I remember when I got up the energy to go for a run. Even though I rarely exercised and I was finally doing something helpful for myself, I had repetitive thought patterns about how I should be running faster and should be able to run longer. I was abusing myself with these thoughts. As soon as I realized what my belief was and deconstructed it, I could run in peace. If the word “should” is in your thought, it is a clue that your thought is resistant to reality, and is therefore causing pain.
Take responsibility for the belief. It may stem from genetic predisposition or environmental conditioning, but the choice is now yours to tear down the pathway and build a better one that takes you straight to the destination of happiness. Just releasing a negative emotion is like taking an aspirin for headaches. Headaches are often relieved from headache medicine, but headaches are never caused by lack of medicine. It is YOUR belief that caused you to feel the negative emotion. By all means, take a pill to take care of the symptom, but then cure the disease! Many headache medications contain vasodilators that allow blood energy to flow more. You will see this trend repeatedly. Constriction causes pain. Relaxation causes happiness. Of course life is a balance between the two, but most people are too tense!
A belief is a strong pattern through your entire being. In Hindu tradition, the term is samskara. A compartmentalized way of looking at it is a pathway through your brain. Every time you use a thought pattern, it becomes more engrained and your brain gets better at using the pathway. When other pathway options come up, your brain likes to choose the highway because it is an easier, more familiar and well-trodden path.
Write down the top ten beliefs that bring up the most emotion for you (positive or negative). You can keep the positive and you can deconstruct the negative.
My strongest limiting belief about myself is:
My strongest positive belief about myself is:
My strongest limiting belief about my body is:
My strongest positive belief about my body is:
My strongest limiting belief about relationships is:
My strongest positive belief about relationships is:
My strongest limiting belief about my mother is:
My strongest positive belief about my mother is:
My strongest limiting belief about my father is:
My strongest positive belief about my father is:
My strongest limiting belief about money is:
My strongest positive belief about money is:
My strongest limiting belief about my career is:
My strongest positive belief about my career is: