The Balanced Approach for Making Plans.

Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.

Quote originally by: Allen Saunders but popularized by John Lennon.

Life is always happening. It is happening in the present and will also be happening in a future present. Finding a way to stay present while still being prepared when that future present arrives can be difficult. But finding that balanced approach to planning is also important.

Plans Book

Why are Plans for the Future are Needed?

I spent much of my life not expecting to live very long and I acted as such. I squandered resources, burned bridges, and developed a complete lack of healthy imagination. What I found through the process of irresponsibility is how important planning for the future is. The amount of opportunity I missed out on is staggering as I continue to understand the ramifications of not being present for life all those years. And today even though I am a responsible and productive human being, there are still opportunities for success that I’m simply not present for. Or never dreamt up because I wasn’t aware of their possibility. Nothing like the way things used to be, but there is always room for improvement.

Having plans in place for our future lives is critically important. We may continue living quite a long time. And to maintain a healthy and success filled life for as long as we are around we will need to make plans for the change life brings.  Healthy and effective planning for our futures can help us see difficulties on our paths. It can also allow us to see where we should place our efforts to build the type of lives we desire to experience.

When future moments for success arrive we will want to be ready for them, or we will miss out. Maybe our lack of imagination and foresight will have us blind to what we are missing. Or maybe it will be clearly screaming in our faces, waiting to beat us down with regret for many years. Who wants to be blind to what is coming or loaded with regret over missing out?

It is a shame to waste the ambitious energy us human beings have at our cores. We need healthy plans to lead a healthy life. Being in the moment with no plans may feel good from time to time, but to me is not enough.

Staying Focused Solely on the Moment is Not the Best of Plans.

Living life in the moment is of course critically important to maintaining our own sanity and be successful. But a life lived solely in the moment without regard for the future will leave us ill prepared to capitalize on future opportunities when they arrive.

The inner driving force of a human being is tremendous. And I don’t believe that driving force is meant to be solely for the present. If it was then why in the hell do we have the ability to imagine what we cannot already touch or see? Our brains developed the ability to do this for a productive reason. Whether it developed it for security purposes to bypass danger or whatever. It can just as easily be used to plan our ways into success beyond keeping our interests safe.

Of course we need to stay grounded when making plans for the future. We need to be mindful of the inner workings of the present moment. Awake to the opportunities that are around us. When awake to the opportunities around us we are in a better place to see the opportunities that are off on the horizon.

Balanced Plans

Finding the Balanced Approach to Making Plans.

Having our future selves set up for success when the moment arrives is an absolute blessing. It helps me feel a great deal of gratitude for the baton being handed over smoothly from a past me that doesn’t exist anymore. The type of plans I find best to make are those that are grounded in reality. But how do we go about doing this?

1. Staying Rooted in the Present Moment While Planning for the Future.

I find the opposite of rooted in the present moment is being lost in our minds. Lost in the process of thinking and imagining. Being lost in this process is a complete waste of energy. Though I suppose maybe we might obsess our ways into something productive. But there is much more evidence in my life that it will take me where I don’t desire to go. And fill me with fear and a body full of unproductive stress.

The way I stay rooted in my planning is to bounce ideas off of the healthy people I trust most. I also make sure that I meditate. Giving my brain the freedom to process the information I need to, without my interruption. After I do some talking and meditating, then I will do some planning.

But don’t get me wrong, I am going to obsess and find myself floating away from the moment. This is to be expected. The trick is to not judge ourselves too harshly, then get ourselves back into the moment ASAP.

2. Set Intentions for Future Success.

To attract the types of life we desire, we also need to have a little bit of a grasp on what we desire. Then we need to set the intentions that might open our minds to their possibilities. It is only at this point that we can set our plans and our lives to go in that direction.

Our healthy ambitions are important for having lives that we enjoy. All of the energy brewing up in a human being needs direction. Set the intention, do a little planning and allow that energy to create the path.

3. Make Flexible Plans.

Being flexible is one of the most important principles to healthy life experimentation. Just because we make plans that doesn’t mean that these plans are going to work. When they don’t work we might need to go with the flow and make small revisions to the plan as we feel our way through.

Having plans that are too rigid may end up causing unnecessary pain and frustration for ourselves and those around us. I agree that once in awhile opportunities might require us to bulldoze our way into them. But for the most part there are many ways to achieve a goal and be flexible. In the moment re-planning will work out even better than forcing results.

4. Trusting our Ability to Evolve.

We need to be able to trust ourselves. As well, put some trust in the world around us. Us human beings are resourceful beings. We may desire something and not see the way to plan for it. That certainly doesn’t mean that it is not ours to desire. It also doesn’t mean that we won’t get it.

Our desires take us places, whether we know they do or not. They work in the background of our consciousness. I don’t know how many times in my recovery I have been struck with gratitude when I realized that unbeknownst to me, my life was guided exactly where I needed to be. Though while on the path to get there, I had no clue that is where I was going.

Life is much easier when I remind myself of my uncanny ability to adapt to my surroundings.

5. Keeping our Minds from projecting Emotion Onto the Future.

When planning for the future it can be easy to slip into many emotions. When anticipating what we will need to face we can feel, fear, humiliation, anger, gratitude, happiness or any other emotion. These emotions are important in the planning process. They help prepare us for what is to come.

Though it is also important to remember that we need to be careful with these emotions. Remembering that we cannot imagine exactly what will be on the path. We can shut ourselves down to a path just because we perceive things to be too difficult. All the while as we keep our minds in the present, our ability to evolve to meet the needs of the moment made life much easier than we could have ever imagined.

Closing Thoughts.

There is a balance to be found between staying in the moment and planning for the future. The more we find that sweet spot, I believe the more balanced and healthy we become.

The quote to begin the article can be interpreted in a couple different ways. First it might be telling us to quit planning so much because life is passing us by. It also might be saying that while we are planning we end up with meaningful lives as life goes on and we have been meeting out goals.

My take is both. Balanced is best.

I wish you well in your journey to keeping your plans for the future, in reality. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.

1. Please like and leave a comment below.

2. Share this article on your social media.

3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.

4. Follow our Facebook page!

 

 

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Advertisements
Managing Feelings of Rejection.

Managing Feelings of Rejection.

Any individual that is making an effort at building a life worth fighting for is going to have to face rejection. Through life we are going to have our efforts pushed back in our faces from time to time. Maybe in ways that are meant to hurt, possibly in gentle ways. The rejection could just be from simple misunderstandings.

Lets look a little closer at rejection and see if we can discover some ideas for how the feeling begins. As well as find some helpful solutions for moving through it as smoothly as possible.

Any Relationship Offers up a Good Deal of Rejection.

Whether the relationship is with family, lovers, children, co-workers or whatever form the relationship has, the feelings of rejection are going to happen. There is no way around it. Life is always changing and that is the nature of relationships as well. Everybody has their own worlds of creative energy coming to the surface. And we won’t always have the same ideas in mind on how to move forward in our relationships.

Sometimes rejection is flat out rejection. Simply put, not everyone in this world wants our time, our thoughts, or our presence. Other times the rejection may not be so simple.

Relationships are such a difficult thing to manage, they are complex. They require negotiation, compromise, hard work and continuous communication. We agree on terms for the relationship, then the terms change.

Growth is needed to keep relationships alive. Boredom happens, making it necessary to leave some of the old behind. We may end up expressing ourselves in different ways, forcing others into the position to respond. To play along or not. Not playing along can be a retreat to the old by the rejectee, or a refusal to move into the new by the rejecter. To much rejection and not enough growth can be the death of a relationship. In any relationship we are a part of this is the case.

Another time that rejection may occur in a relationship is when the other person or we are just not in the mood. In this case even the everyday expected actions may not be acceptable. Most everything may be annoying and all others may need is the look on our faces to feel rejected. A close friend told me that it’s okay for one person in a relationship to be in too sensitive state for a little bit, but not both. Probably because there ends up being too many rejections for a relationship to handle in a healthy way.

Rejection man

The Feelings of Rejection.

What it really comes down to is that anytime we introduce ourselves, speak our minds, offer or request support, give a gift or give a damn, there is the possibility of being rejected. So beware and remember that certain emotions may follow.

Powerful feelings may be triggered when we feel rejected. They can range from deep agony and loneliness, to all out blind rage. The feelings could also be as subtle as a little irritation, to really no problematic feeling at all. Some of these emotions can bring great pain. Especially if there was great emotional investment in and great expectations for the relationship.

When we offer up our needs, desires, and assistance we are putting ourselves out on a limb of sorts. These efforts are an investment toward a way of life that we may want. As well as a bit of a lifeline at times to see that we aren’t alone in this world. It can suck to have our efforts rejected since other people are so important for our successful personal development and often times our survival.

The pain from rejection is very real. In this Psychology today article it talks about how feelings of rejection piggy back on physical pain pathways in the brain. Another hint at this is that pain relievers like Tylenol have actually been shown to dull the pain of rejection.

The feelings of rejection don’t seem to be just in our heads. They stem from somewhere. It’s very possible that a strong rejection I feel today, could stem from a situation that happened in the past. It could have taken place many years ago and here I am feeling as if it is all has to do with this very moment. Or it could be that we just had a proverbial knife stabbed into our backs, or maybe right in our faces.

Risk personThe Importance of Risking Rejection.

In any relationship, in order for it to grow and ourselves to grow in it, we must risk rejection. We must confront issues that arise and offer new ideas and new efforts to continue adapting to the changing world.

If there are too many problems in a relationship eating up our conscious or unconscious energy we are missing out on further adaptation. Energy that would be better used tackling issues head on tends to fester into anger, worry, resentment. The relationship risks rotting from the inside out.

Problems in relationships need swift action to remedy them. But when confronting problems in a relationship there is always risk of rejection. It is almost as if we need to be willing to risk losing the relationship at times when confronting tough issues. But I have found that it is the avoidance of the issues, that is even more damaging.

I have lost many relationships and great opportunities throughout my life because I was not willing and possibly not able to deal with rejection. I am truly grateful that over the years I have learned a great deal about this process.

Dealing With The Feelings of Rejection and Finding Healthy Ways to Risk.

1. Know What We are Risking Ahead of Time.

Taking risks in relationships is critical to their growth and our personal growth. But we should try to understand the risks we are taking before we take them. This can help curb undesired consequences and maybe save some pain.

Of course rejection can be felt any time new little risks are taken that we don’t even think about. If someone doesn’t laugh at a silly joke of mine I sometimes feel rejected. Though life wouldn’t be much fun if I constantly measured my risk of rejection before every time I opened my mouth. I am not talking about constant monitoring, but just having some awareness of the big moves that are coming up in life. Thinking about them in a healthy way and preparing accordingly. It is also important to have an awareness of when the fear of rejection comes up.

2. Understand Level of Risk Aversion and Test for Balance.

Some people are completely cool with taking crazy risk after risk. Others like myself need to come out of the shell to balance out high risk aversion. Some people may risk too much, and others are way too uptight.

If you are on the too risky side and are troubled with feeling a lot of rejection, maybe slow down a bit. And if you are too risk averse, finding yourself feeling stuck in life, jump out there and get your feelings hurt a little bit. It’s going to be alright. It is entirely possible for people with both tendencies to find a balance.

Some individuals recommend going out and actively seeking opportunities for rejection to help squelch the fear of rejection. This is not something I have actively tried. But over the decade I have spent in recovery from addiction I understand the need to take risks and prove our fears of rejection wrong.

3. Have Healthy People Around Often.

Without healthy people around to talk to we are essentially swimming around in an ocean of uncertainty all alone. It is more difficult to see our personal strengths and weaknesses. They can help us see the pieces of our reality that we currently may be blinded from.

Having healthy people around to bounce ideas and emotions off of has a great deal of benefits. They can keep us in finding solutions instead of allowing us to complain. As well as build us up and remind us of how capable we are when we are doubting ourselves. And they may be able to point out when we are in way over our heads and don’t see it.

4. Timing is very Important.

Not every time we want to make a change in our lives and in our relationships is the right time. Sometimes striking when emotion is high is the answer. Other times waiting for the emotion to cool down can keep us from overwhelming those we wish to grow with. Acting too fast or too slow may snuff out the fire of a new opportunity.

I like to take time out to meditate, talk to my trusted people and then meditate some more. Then I generally find that balance I am looking for. But don’t get me wrong, sometimes decisions need to be made quickly and that’s why it’s important that my thoughts and emotions are in a good place as often as possible.

5. Keeping Our Thoughts and Emotions in Check.

Life is unpredictable and without keeping ourselves in healthy mental and emotional states we can get tossed around like ragdolls. The feelings of rejection are much easier to handle if we are in stable mood states. We will not be able to predict all of the times that people will not be emotionally, mentally or physically available to us. Nor can we predict when someone will decide to maliciously attack our characters.

Of course even if we are mentally and emotionally stable, rejection can hurt. But maybe we can stop that hurt in it’s place, then feel the rejection responsibly. Allowing us to keep the rejection from hurting us more, or winding up hurting others.

Closing Thoughts.

So yes, rejection is unavoidable. But this is no reason to avoid living our lives. Life goes on after rejection, coming with many more opportunities for interpersonal connection and personal growth. Step up and take some of those upcoming risks everything is going to be okay.

I wish you well on your path of navigating rejection. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.
  1. Please like and leave a comment below.
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

 

 

 

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Giving Up Complaining.

Giving Up Complaining.

I’m sure if you are anything like me, then you find yourself complaining about this or that throughout your day. It comes easily when we are upset about how something played out. Or maybe the way that someone treated us at work or in any other of our relationships. We all do it from time to time and some complaining is normal and even healthy. But, with that being said there is a line that can be crossed that takes complaining from blowing off steam to using it as an unhealthy coping skill.

And just an FYI Complaining in this article is not just about any time we air grievances to people for the purpose of creating change. It is mainly for finding the healthy ways to catch ourselves when stuck in a routine of complaining just for complaining’s sake

Why do We Complain and is there anything good about Complaining.

So why do we complain? It might seem like a complex question but I believe it is more simple than it seems. We complain when we are upset about something, when something internally does not feel right. When upset, our inner tension seeks to find relief. So we discuss what is giving us displeasure about this, that, and the other thing. Not discussing what is bothering us is a recipe for bottled up stress and more dissatisfaction. But taking complaining too far can become like a drug in the wrong hands, giving instant personal gratification but long term undesired consequences.

There is a problem at hand when complaining and we may be looking for a solution. Granted there are those who complain all the time no matter what. But generally there is irritation and we either consciously or unconsciously seek to understand what is bothering us. Like if there are problems that need grievances aired to create change.

Is there anything good about complaining? I can think of only one good reason why complaining could potentially good. When we complain we may talk to several people or just a few and hopefully somewhere along the lines we are given what we needed to hear. Whoever is on the receiving end of our complaints just might be able to snap us out of it. Then we can get busy looking for creative ways to better our lives.

Grumpy ComplainingWays that complaining negatively impacts life.

There are numerous ways in which complaining impacts our lives. Whatever the situation may be, repeatedly complaining about the same thing increases negative feelings and adds more stress. When this takes place we are generally not looking for a solution from those who are listening to us, but rather to receive sympathy, attention, or validation.

And what happens to the people that we consistently complain to in order to find relief from what ails our minds? What we may not realize is that listening to complaints can be draining for the people we are unloading this on. It erodes happiness as well as the ability to feel good will towards others. And it certainly doesn’t bring any positivity to our peers.

Another way that complaining can impact us negatively is that it keeps us stuck and unable to move forward. Ruminating on the same situation harvests negative feelings over and over again. There is a certain amount of acceptance we need to have over certain situations we can’t do much about. Acceptance has taken the back seat when we don’t allow ourselves to move on from whatever it is that we are complaining about. It doesn’t matter if it happened two hours ago or two days ago, continuously talking about it will not help to let go.

My experience with complaining.

Now, I know that this is something that I struggle with at times. I find it easiest to complain and dive right in with coworkers complaints while I am working. Working in retail is not always the easiest thing and I encounter a variety of people in a day. As you can imagine not all of them are the nicest. Not having a positive experience with them makes complaining about them seem effortless. Going through our work day we end up sharing stories mostly of the things that went wrong or upset us. There are plenty of positive things that happen throughout the day but those stories are told less frequently.

Recently at work I was focusing on complaining less and a customer told me that my spirit was very refreshing. It was nice to hear and we both had a positive experience. But, I know for a fact that had I not been focusing on not complaining that our encounter would not have gone as it did. This got me thinking about some of the positive consequences that might continue to show up in my life as a result of less complaining. It also excited a new desire to stay more mindful about the ways I complain and finding ways to stop.

Stop Complaining

Stopping the process of complaining

1. Have People in Your Life that Stop You From Complaining.

Having someone to talk through issues with rather than fueling the complaint will get you better results. We recommend having close relationships that will not allow our complaining to control our conversation with them. This way you can reach needed solutions rather than spinning in circles, hyper focused solely on the problem. These people can seem like complete pains in the ass but in the long run the way they help us take responsibility for our current situation is priceless.

2. Practicing Acceptance.

Nothing will ever change if there is no acceptance for what is at hand. We complain because we have not accepted and moved on from whatever issue we can’t change. Again, this is what keeps us stuck. Once a level of acceptance has been reached then we can stop ourselves from continuing to complain about the same thing. Then maybe we can find a place to put in some productive action.

3. Positivity and Gratitude.

Focusing on gratitude and pulling out positive thoughts can stop complaining in its tracks. For instance thinking about that one really nice customer instead of complaining about the bad one can help to keep negative feelings out. When we are practicing gratitude it becomes easy to let complaints go to the wayside.

4. Don’t Engage in the Complaining of Others.

When hearing others complain about something don’t dive in and add fuel to the fire. We can amp each other up while we complain. It may feel good in the moment but overall there are no positive feelings to bounce off of each other. Knowing that I do not have to participate in negative conversations allows me to choose gratitude verses other negative feelings.

5. Take Productive Action.

Putting energy into not complaining is not the easiest thing to do. But having put a stop to the complaining there is finally an opening to take productive action. Productive action is using that upset energy and putting it to work to take care of what is causing our problem. It definitely takes more work to take a productive action than it does to complain. But there is no better way to release our creative energy from focusing on the problem.

It is true that the more we complain the more hardwired the behavior becomes in our brains, the same as any other behavior we learn. It is also true that well worn habitual behaviors are able to be changed if we are willing to put in the work and feel the discomfort of not using them. For me it has been challenging but I find that with practice I am getting better about not giving my complaints the light of day.

I wish you well on your path to lessening the amount of complaining you do. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.

  1. Please like and leave a comment below
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Developing Healthy Personal Boundaries.

Developing Healthy Personal Boundaries.

There is a truth in my life that is unavoidable and has taken much pain to learn. As difficult as they can be to navigate, I need healthy relationships. But in order to have healthy relationships personal boundaries need to be established.

In this article we will discuss what healthy personal boundaries tend to look like. As well as discussing some manageable ways to develop them.

What are Personal Boundaries?

DIviding Line

A simple definition of a boundary is that it is a “dividing line.” Not surprising for you to hear, It is the place where one thing ends and another begins.

With relationships comes boundaries, there is me and then there is the other. Sure we may share in a relationship. Though we are most certainly our own individuals.

Any one of the many relationships I am a part of do not make me, me. I am not my marriage, my family, my job, or the recovery program I attend. These are relationships I am a part of, and though they are extremely important to my healthy world, they are only a part of my world.

Without personal boundaries any relationship could turn into a distraction from the rest of life. Meaning that they will get way too much of our time, attention and effort. We can engulf them and them engulf us. Leaving other areas of our life to suffer, which in turn causes suffering for ourselves. As well as harms the relationships we end up neglecting.

Why Our Personal Boundaries are Important.

Our personal boundaries set the parameters for the type of lives we are going to live. They decide what we do, who we do them with, where we do them, and how often. If we do not figure out the proper boundaries we need to live the types of lives we deep down desire, well then we are set for some disappointment in life.

To progress in the multitude of areas in our lives, we need balance and proper time management. We need to learn to say no when we need to say no, and yes when we need to say yes. Understanding that we are the only individual in control of our next moves is crucial in seeing the importance of personal boundaries. Only I can let my work know that I cannot pick up that extra shift. And I don’t think anyone else is going to let my wife know that I need that next recovery meeting.

Detaching from what we think, others think we should be taking care of, is a difficult thing. But it’s the only way to properly care for the dizzying amount of responsibilities all us productive folks human beings have.

Without personal boundaries we may also end up with not enough personal time. Becoming resentful as people seek too much of our time and we don’t have the boundaries to say sorry but I can’t help with that. We also may end up allowing unhealthy people too much freedom to mingle in our worlds. And may end up taking advantage of us in return.

There are many reasons that personal boundaries are important. But where do we begin with creating the healthy version?

Developing Healthy Boundaries is On Ourselves.

First of all when it comes to healthy personal boundaries, they are of course personal. They are our own. Nobody can set up our personal boundaries for us. That responsibility falls squarely on ourselves.

Since healthy boundaries are personal, I take that to mean that they may look very different from person to person. This is because we all have different values and beliefs, and different levels of comfortableness with stretching our boundaries. Nobody can tell us what is important to us or what is manageable for us. They be able to give us some hints, but ultimately we have to find all this out through our own trial and error.

Finding Boundary Balance.

To handle the responsibility of developing healthy boundaries it is important to understand a few things. It’s important to know whether our boundaries are currently too rigid and keep too many of our relationships shut out. Or do they seem to be nonexistent, not allowing ourselves to stand up for ourselves. If we can’t be sure on our own, then we can ask a handful of trusted friends and they should be able to help find valuable info.

Having too rigid of boundaries may make us seem a little scary and ward off potential opportunities to grow. Whereas too loose of boundaries may have us all over the place, tossed around by the requests and attention of others. Both of them have their dangers and their rewards. What we are looking for here is a balanced approach, one that neither makes us too scary to others. But also doesn’t leave us looking and feeling like pushovers. And of course allows ourselves to have our own personal decision making space to feel in control of our lives.

Developing a balanced approach may not be easy if we are entrenched in a certain boundary pattern. It will require experimentation with new habits. As well as feeling all sorts of emotional energy that fuels the old habits.

What Healthy BoPersonal Spaceundaries May Look Like.

A lot of the time when my personal boundaries are on point, I don’t even need to let others know what they are. They just get a feel for them.

But that is not always the case so learning to communicate boundaries effectively is the only way to ensure that they will be respected. The assertive approach for letting others know we are busy and unavailable is best. This means respectfully but promptly letting requesters understand why we are unavailable.

But I feel even most people with already assertive natures will go a little too far in teaching others the lessons of their boundary breaking. Or they may try to sneak off, avoiding requests they would rather not partake in. I am guilty of both of these. Honestly though I think these tendencies are just part of being human. There is nothing wrong with them as long as they don’t become our primary approaches.

I feel the next important aspect is that they are set and shown consistently. This speaks to integrity. If I am going to tell people I have certain boundaries, then that is something people should be able to expect in the future. And if we are going to break them, then we better have a damn good reason. Because believe me, people are going to notice.

Of course life changes often though, and as responsibilities change so do priorities and boundaries. I know this well since my wife and I welcomed our beautiful baby girl into the world. Through the process I have come to find that as long as my boundary changes are reasonable and well communicated, my relationships seem to be understanding.

Conclusion.

Setting healthy personal boundaries can be a difficult thing to do. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier to avoid relationships altogether. But having healthy relationships is very important to building a healthy life. Learning to develop healthy boundaries can ensure that we are able to balance out our relationship workloads. Getting the most out of them while still having our presence enjoyed.

I wish you well on your path to finding healthy personal boundaries. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us.

  1. Please like and leave a comment below
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

Much Love, Travis

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Trusting: Finding a  Healthy Path for Giving Our Trust.

Trusting: Finding a Healthy Path for Giving Our Trust.

Trust and Being Actively Trusting.

Life without being able to give our trust to others is a lonely undertaking. Of course trusting others can lead to painful situations when things go badly in relationships. But it also an ingredient that is entirely necessary to maintain healthy relationships.

Lets take a little deeper look at the this topic and see if we can find some ways to avoid some of the pain of trusting. And of course, find healthy ways to give it out.

A definition for trust I found describes it as a ” firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Trust is so important to the health of our relationships and for maintaining our mental and emotional health.

But it is not enough to simply believe in the reliability, strength, etc, of this or that relationship. We must put our trust into action and be actively trusting to receive the full benefits.

To be trusting is to consistently show this belief to ourselves and to our trustworthy relationships through our actions. It is to push doubtful thoughts to the side when we are fed untruths. As well as to remind ourselves that the intentions of the other party are good unless clearly proven otherwise.

Trusting PainWhy Trusting can be Difficult.

Trusting others is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Why? The obvious answer that comes to my mind is, pain.

To give our trust, is to let our guards down, to be vulnerable. So the same essential element to maintaining a healthy relationship also leaves us open to the potential for great pain.

Most of us have no doubt had our trust disrespected. Trusted friends may have gossiped behind your back. Close romantic relationships may have shown themselves to be unfaithful or abandoned us. The business you work for may not have given you the raise you were expecting and deserve. Any of these examples and many more are a cause for disappointment and emotional pain. They may have us trusting that relationships are not worth trusting since all they bring is more pain.

Allowing ourselves to give our trust to someone and having them take advantage of our vulnerability is a real possibility. In fact it is going to happen many times throughout our lives. So what just wander up into the hills and denounce all relationships?

Few of us will seriously think that is the answer. What is needed is a balanced approach to trusting others, one in which we still get healthy relationships and less chance of having our trust abused.

Actively Trusting and Healthy Relationship.

It is easy for me to see that without trusting others there is no foundation for a healthy relationship. Giving our trust is needed to be able to let our guards down, and let other people into our lives. It is also necessary to keep them in our lives and in our confidences.

Without trust the mind tends to question the goodness of most intentions. It is left to wade around in an endless sea of mistrust. All of those past relationships that either betrayed us or where we perceived betrayal, can fuel suspicion in our current thoughts and perceptions. This is close to the death of any healthy relationship.

Being actively trusting in a relationship does not mean keeping our heads in fairytale land, thinking others will never betray our trust or hurt us. But it does require us to leave the pathway for communication open to allow others to make amends and correct the pain. And also to eventually leave the relationship if the behavior does not improve. It also means not expecting that all the things that went wrong in the past are destined to repeatedly happen again.

Trusting PathFinding the Healthy Path to Trusting.

Trusting others of course comes with it’s risks as well as it’s benefits. Though in my mind as long as some self work is done healthy path to trusting can be found.

1. Develop Self Trustworthiness.

All through my recovery I have heard an important statement about trusting others. I was told that the way to trust others is to be trustworthy myself. But what does my own trustworthiness have to do with trusting others? The answer lies in the fact that when I am able to trust myself, then I will generally judge the trustworthiness of others more effectively.

This Psychology Today article outlines the problem of jealousy in relationships. It gives some evidence that jealous and overly suspicious partners in a relationship are much more likely to be the unfaithful ones. The article focuses on romantic relationships and cheating but there are many types of relationships in life. In any of these relationships, when we are trying to get one over on the other individuals involved, we are very likely going to be suspicious of their actions. Whether they are faithful to the relationship or not.

Our own lack of trustworthiness gets projected onto others, hurting relationships. When we feel deep down that we are trustworthy we are more likely to project the opposite, and give a healthy relationship a chance to grow.

Thankfully over the years I have learned many skills that have led me to develop self-trustworthiness. One of them is practicing forgiveness towards myself and others.

2. Forgiveness of Self and Others.

In order to develop self-trustworthiness and actively trust, we must also learn how to forgive. Working on forgiving ourselves of our past and present. As well as doing the same for the individuals surrounding me.

Throughout my recovery from addiction I have had to dissect my past to recognize painful emotions coming from experiences where I felt wronged or wronged others. I have had to forgive myself and feel those emotions. This has allowed me to be more trusting, spending less of my creative energy reliving the pain of past emotions while trying to live in the moment.

To forgive is not necessarily to forget. Our pasts and our pain has a great deal to teach us, they are not to be forgotten. Though often times I have found that as healing happens, the unimportant tends to disappear from the memory anyway. Forgiveness tends to put our relationships into a healthy perspective. But all this forgiveness only works when we are living respectably.

3. Living Respectably.

Living respectably to me means simply living in ways that don’t cause ourselves unnecessary guilt. Ways that are inline with OUR OWN moral compasses.

As I said above when we live and think dirty, we tend to expect others to be doing the same. But when living respectably, we wind up projecting less of our own negative intentions onto others.  It frees our minds up to be less critical, more kind and better judges of the characters of others.

Also when by living respectably we tend to attract more trustworthy people into our lives. People that are more able to be trusted. But of course there are days where I am feeling tricky emotions and I may feel unsafe and more likely to not give my trust out. Though as long as I continue to live in a way that I won’t regret, the emotion will pass and I will return to a more trusting self.

Trusting LedgeConclusion

So yes, being trusting can be a complicated issue. But even though it has it’s risks, the rewards are incredible. It doesn’t really matter if you have been too trusting in the past or scared to trust at all there is a balanced way of giving out trust that can be learned. One that is backed up with boundaries with others and still isn’t isolationist. It may take work and it may require lots of healing from painful emotions, but it is entirely possible.

There are many amazing people out in the world to be met, and new depths to be discovered in already intimate relationships. Each of these requiring us to put our guards down a little bit more and allowing ourselves to trust.

I wish you well on your path to finding healthier ways of trusting. And thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!
  1. Please like and leave a comment below
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

 

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Waking up to Unhealthy Distraction.

Waking up to Unhealthy Distraction.

Every single responsibility we have in life could turn into a distraction. Work can take attention away from the family, friends can take attention away from studies, cleaning can take attention away from valuable time with children. Each individual experience prevents us from giving full attention to something else.

Our minds have a limited ability to be attentive, we cannot focus on everything at once. Distractions in themselves are not necessarily all good or bad. It comes down to how they are being used. Lets dive in a little deeper on this topic and see what we can find.

How distraction has been active in my life

It’s fair to say that I can be an easily distracted person at times. My attention becomes divided and my ability to focus decreases. When the balance in life is feeling off, I find that I become distracted quicker and more frequently.

I am finding that the balance in my life has been off. As a new mom, this role has been getting most of my attention. Of course taking care of Ada is of the utmost importance. But, so is taking care of myself as well as other aspects in my life.

Being someone who balances being in recovery, mental health, work, being a mother, etc, I need to make time for just me. With everything going on lately it is easy to get distracted. Getting distracted has taken attention away from feeling my emotions. The focus has solely been on being a mother and it’s taking a toll on me mentally. It has also been easier to put neglect my own emotions. And for a while I didn’t even realize that it was something I was doing.

My attention is much less often on doing things that are therapeutic for me such as playing guitar, writing, baking, reading, and getting to the recovery meetings I regularly attend. These are things that are important for me to do because they bring comfort and peace. I also haven’t allowed myself much time to just do nothing.

The Distraction of Inner and Outer Demands/problems.

Distraction Hands

It’s no secret, the demands of life can be very distracting. This includes both inner and outer demands.

Some of the outer demands that I experience include work, being a mother, and relationships. When I go to my job I am expected to show up and perform to the best of my ability. With the relationships in my life I have to be attentive and present so that I can keep them healthy. And, as a mother I must care for my daughter Ada. These are just a few of my examples and I’m sure that you have a list of your own. Anyone of these things can take away from the next.

And, then there comes the inner distractions or demands. These can be expectations that we have of ourselves or things that we think we ought to be doing, or even things that we think we have to be. We may place rigid ideas on ourselves and become distracted from just being who we are.

One downfall of distraction is the way that emotions can get turned off. When something feels uncomfortable or when emotions feel too strong it becomes easy to find something to take the mind away from them. Since the emotions are uncomfortable it can become desirable to avoid dealing with them. Distraction is a way to escape the current reality. This is where problems arise and things become unhealthy.

How distraction can be helpful

Like I said not all distractions are bad, in fact they can be quite helpful.

The other night Travis and I where playing with our daughter and she tipped over and hit her head. She started crying right away. We started to make happy noises, smiling, and clapping our hands which quickly made her stop crying. We realized that we had just created a distraction for her that got her mind away from hitting her head. It was a matter of seconds and she was smiling right along with us. This is one simple way that distractions can be useful.

They can serve as coping skills in the moments where we need to step back. Used as a self-soothing tactic distraction can be effective in helping to change a current mood and ease uncomfortable feelings. To step back from a stressful situation to take a few deep breaths or recognize a negative mood and engage in something that distracts from being upset.

When it comes to pain a little distraction is ok, but when emotions start to be numbed out that is when it turns unhealthy.

Dealing with distraction

Distraction Focus1. It begins with awareness.

It is important to become aware of how distraction effects day to day life. Focusing awareness allows us to pay attention which in turn helps us see clearly and in finer detail. Just like with any situation change cannot happen until you become aware of the current reality. You cannot become less distracted until you recognize that you are.

2. Focus attention on breathing.

I believe that no matter the situation you can never go wrong with taking a moment to step back and breath. It can help draw us out of what’s distracting. Breathing can help to interrupt negative thought patterns, ground us in the present moment, and help to calm the body and mind.

3. Make a list or reminders.

Making a list keeps things simple. It helps me to see clearly what needs to be done. Or leaving myself reminders to stay in the moment, let go, or check to see if I am distracted can also help.

4. Make time to do nothing.

We all need our own mental and physical space, so taking a moment to step away and disengage is important. And, when I say do nothing, I mean do NOTHING. Set down the phone, close the laptop, turn off Netflix, etc.

5. Do something that relaxes you.

If you are someone who simply cannot sit and do nothing, find something that relaxes you and takes your mind away from all other things. For me this could be breathing, listening to music, or playing guitar.

Conclusion.

It is helpful to determine whether the distractions in your life are healthy or unhealthy. There are too many important aspects of life that need attention for us too be constantly lost in unhealthy distraction.

Maybe the current distraction began as a healthy distraction and turned. However it started it is time to take life back from it. We need not be victims to either inner or outer distractions.

If you have been distracted too much don’t be too hard on yourself, it’s bound to happen. But waking up to it and deciding to find balance with all our responsibilities can be started right now. I hope you take the opportunity.

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please like and leave a comment below
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

Love, Casey 🙂

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Worrying: What is it Good for?

Worrying: What is it Good for?

Right off the bat I have a question for you. How often do you find yourself worrying? I don’t care if it is worrying about your children, family, lover, finances, or the many other items in your life and mind.

Now just one more question. Is the worry worth it?

These are two questions that I hope linger in your minds as we dive into the topic of worry. Now lets look closer to find the possible good, bad, and purpose of worrying. As well as some ways to help smooth out this stressful process.

The Things we Worry about.

The reasons that we worry seem to be endless. Though there seems to be a common theme among this endless list of worrisome subjects. The theme is that we care about them, or we believe they are going to harm what we care for. If we didn’t care about losing something, if we didn’t feel something we cared about was threatened, what reason would we have to worry about it?

To care about something is to be emotionally invested. It is a very human thing to care. It is also quite human to worry about losing something that we care for. The world is a unpredictable place, full of unknowns that could potentially be dangerous. Our minds project a fantasy into that world of unknowns to up the survival chances of the things that have our care. Sometimes we predict well and ward off potential threats, and other times there is nothing we can do about it.

But lets back up a bit here. What is worry anyway? By clicking to read this article I am guessing that you are someone who has at some point worried. Like me, you know exactly what it feels like. You know the mind begins coming up with all sorts of stories to predict the future. I’m quite sure you also have felt the relief that comes from when the thing that’s worried about turns out to be completely fine. And you have probably had your worry be true.

To understand worry a little deeper, we need to talk briefly about it’s relationship to fear.

Worry and Fear.

At the heart of worry I see fear. I see a natural process that is preparing us for change. This energizes our creative process, accelerating our minds to problem solve and get our bodies to take action. In this process our minds and bodies are fighting change as well as preparing for the new, brewing up an incredible amount of creative energy. If the fear response is allowed to go on for too long it has negative consequences for the health of our bodies and our relationships.

You have probably heard of the bodies fight, flight or freeze response. This is a physical response in the body that is brought up by fear of potential threat. The brain begins cutting off the flow of energy to bodily processes that seem unnecessary for protecting itself from attack. That energy flows to the places in the body that will better protect us from said threat.

This response is a tricky bugger to deal with. Because the thing we are fearing, doesn’t even need to be real for it to kick up this process. Our brains and bodies can direct us to put out fires that don’t even exist. We can perceive threats that are not even there. And if we have a history of trauma, hidden internal damage can easily be mistaken as external threats.

The fear response is and has been extremely important for our species ability to move forward through time. And still important in relatively safe times today. Though for individuals that have made a habit out of worry, the response is left to lay waste to eat away at our bodies from the inside out. For not very good reasons at all.

When Worry Gets Dysfunctional.

It is difficult to look into the lives of others and say worry is dysfunctional for them. Maybe we can only figure out what type of worry is dysfunctional for ourselves.

Today I realize worry is getting out of hand when I am feeling unproductive stress and not doing much to solve the problem that my life faces. When my mind has been going in circles and the stress builds, I know I need to slow down and reevaluate my thinking. I need to find out if I am actively and productively problem solving or just driving myself crazy.

Finding Relief from Worry.

It is highly important to learn how to shut down worry. This is whether the fear and possible paranoia is about a real or imagined scenario. Even though each of these can feel equally real.

If we continue to feed the fear, threats that are not there are more likely to be dreamed up. And the longer we feed the fear the more easily it is to convince ourselves that we should be worrying. It is like a car that is stuck in mud, only digging itself in deeper when attempting to free itself.

So lets work on finding our way out of the fear of worrying to get our creative energies directed into the right places.

1. Slow down to Feel the Fear and Other Emotions Present.

The old saying is that “cooler minds prevail.” To me this means that we can find better courses of action when we slow down our fear based minds, emotions and actions. When we cut off the worrying we can find better solutions than we could while being directed by our fear. Studies have shown that when too much fear is present, our IQ’s actually shrink.

Where there is worry there is fear and there is also pain. Maybe it is pain from a loss that is anticipated but not real. Or maybe it’s the pain in ourselves that is connected to loss in the past. Whether the pain comes from anticipating our loss, re-feeling a past loss or experiencing loss in the present, it’s best to feel what is there.

Once emotion is felt, the energy that is fueling the worry just might get a chance to dissipate. Feeling these emotions isn’t always easy, there may be fear, sadness, anger, and much else to feel. This obviously isn’t going to magically fix a real fear induced situation, but it will put us in a better place to act from a more sane self. We may find that the fear we are sensing has nothing to do with the world outside ourselves.

Worry Perception2. Remind Ourselves of Times that Worry and Our Perceptions have been Wrong.

Have you ever worked yourself up into a mess of worry and had the relief that comes from having it not be true? I sure have. This reminds me of when I was younger and would get spooked by a shape in a dark room. Only to turn on the light and have the monster be a couple jackets hanging on the wall. Well I find this can still happen pretty easily in life, whether the fear is finances, politics or what have you. Not to say that all fears about these things are unfounded, but they don’t have to seem like such immediate dangers that have no hope.

These days I get a sense of peace from telling my worrying mind that all this fear right now may be full of crap. Reality is not always as it seems. I am truly grateful to understand that my world is much safer than my mind can lead me to believe.

3. Take Productive Action.

Worry can be a sign that some action needs to be taken. Maybe it is a clear action like getting out of the way of that moving vehicle or paying the electric bill. Though maybe the needed action is not so clear. The needed action might actually be to stop taking actions because we are creating unnecessary problems.

We need to find something to do with the energy that drives worry. If all I do is worry, I am not accomplishing a damn thing. But if I use my worry as a sign that helps me make an important change, then we are getting somewhere.

4. Let Go of the Need to Control.

Learning how to let go and trust is beautiful thing. Now I am not telling anyone to put their head in the sand, not protecting themselves and loved ones. But when we find out that we cannot do anything about the situation, we can let it go. When we find out that our worry was unfounded, we can let it go. And after we have taken the proper actions to make it through the the fearful situation, we can now let that go too.

Who in their right minds desires to stress themselves out with worry when they don’t have to. There is freedom in letting go of control.

5. Let our Trusted People Help with this Entire Process.

Talking to our trusted friends when worrying can have many benefits. They may be able to help us calm down if we can’t do that by ourselves. As well as help us come to terms with what is real in what we are fearing, and what we have some control over. They can help guide us into the next right action to take. If we are not able to come to terms with what to do on our own, we need healthy and trustworthy people to help us.

Some people run absolutely everything in their lives through the minds of those around them. This doesn’t happen to be my approach. For me I am much more comfortable doing what I can do and then enlisting the support of others when my efforts prove to not be enough. Whichever level of support you require or desire, the truth remains that healthy relationships are essential

Worry ReliefConclusion

The question I care to answer here is in the title of this article. What is worrying good for?

I cannot say that worry is good for absolutely nothing. Because there is something important happening for us when worry arises. It is telling us that something is not right with our world with a lot of energy to solve the issue.

Worry may be telling us there something wrong with our outside world or our inside world. Which one it is isn’t always so clear but by implementing the list above, you may find your way to the answer. That worry is present is an important sign to fix a problem, correct. But finding a way out of the worry is of even greater importance.

To be worrying is to be unproductively stressing out. It is a thief of creative energies when left to it’s own devices. But worry does not have control over us if we can catch ourselves in it. And it is possible to find gratitude and healthy solutions even in times where it feels uncontrollably powerful. Relieving ourselves of the habit of worry is a very real thing.

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please Like and leave a comment below.
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

Much Love, Travis Hagen

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Feeling Sadness: Creating Space to Heal.

Feeling Sadness: Creating Space to Heal.

Sadness is an emotion that any human and likely every other being on this planet experiences. To most, including myself, the feeling of sadness is an emotional experience that would rather not be had than had.

Either way feeling sadness is immensely important for adapting to our lives in responsible and healthy ways. Here is a take on getting the most of it.

What is Sadness.

As far as the physiological processes in the brain and body in regards to sadness I do not know. What I do know is the way the emotion feels, when I am actively working with it. I also know the stress I feel when I am distracting myself from it.

Sadness in my mind is inextricably linked to the experience of loss. That loss may be because of a change in relationship with loved ones, deaths, crushed hopes and expectations. As well as seeing the hardships of those we love and even strangers. It is an essential piece in the grieving process. Sometimes the source of the sadness is clearly seen. But just as often for me I can’t tell why the sadness is present.

This emotion is not to be confused with depression, even though persistent feelings of sadness are a definite symptom for a depressed individual. No, sadness is it’s own beautiful, sometimes pain in the ass experience. It is a normal human response to undesired change. ACTUALLY feeling this emotion has been pivotal in recovering my life.

Sadness allows connection to the moment by letting go of what is no longer real, or what no longer can safely be continued. It requires surrendering our thoughts about how our realities should be so we can see how they actually are. This process may range from aggravatingly painful to eerily enjoyable. But even though the process can be painful, the pain of unproductive stress and extra life problems of fighting it is much greater.

For me there is no responsible adaptation to change without letting go and allowing myself to be vulnerable to feeling sad. Without feeling our sadness there is no healing, there is no healthy grieving. Which inevitably leaves us with unfinished emotional business to deal with later down the road of our lives.

The Relationship Between Sadness and Anger.

The relationship between sadness and anger can make surrendering to sadness tricky. It sometimes seems as if the two emotions don’t get to be in the same room together. Though at a closer look a healthy relationship can be had between one another.

The emotion of anger is an energy that compels us to make creative action happen. We can do this in healthy ways, or not so healthy ways. Depending on how much emotional pain is involved, ability to cope, and willingness to bend the rules of society.

Anger is also a protector, it protects hopes, expectations, our bodies, our self-image, and of course our relationships. If any of these is harmed, pain is felt and our anger seeks to rectify the situation. Sometimes the use of anger can be productive in bringing about a positive outcome. Though other times we can take it too far, causing even more pain to be felt once we slow down and reconnect with our saner selves.

To feel sadness is to be processing this emotional pain. But even though this process that heals the pain can be mistaken as the source of the pain itself. So our anger may end up protecting us from our own healing process. The truth is that the pain was already present, and probably fueling all sorts of unproductive anger, fear, and resentment.

Sadness is the experience that creates healing. The healthy relationship between anger and sadness is developed when we can teach ourselves to not use our anger to run from our pain. And learn to use our anger to set healthy boundaries to create a safe space for the healing process to work it’s magic.

Important Things to Remember When Surrendering to Healing Sadness.

When surrendering into our sadness there are all sorts of things that make it difficult. To make sure we are able to convince ourselves and our anger that it is okay to let go there are some important things to remind ourselves of.

1. This Emotion isn’t Going to Feel Itself.

Putting off feeling our emotions has negative consequences for all aspects of our health. We may try to convince ourselves that we are okay without feeling this uncomfortable thing. It’s as if we think the emotion will magically take care of itself. It will take care of itself but not until we sit with it and allow it to process. Only we can set aside the time and find a safe place, only we can let our sadness heal the broken pieces.

2. We are Safe.

Of course there are individuals in the world that are literally fighting physical safety almost all the time. For me and most likely many of you reading this, there are plenty of safe places to get to.

Our brains may be convinced that surrendering to the moment isn’t the safe thing to do. It would rather have our head on a swivel, paying attention to every other thing in our minds or surroundings. Sometimes our brains need to do this. But we cannot go on like this for too long, the internal consequences from neglected feelings is too great. But the only way to settle the brain down is to convince it that this moment is safe and we can let go.

Even though allowing sadness allows the feeling of pain. The source of the pain is likely long gone in the past. When feeling gets rough, I remind myself that this moment is not trying to harm me and that feeling this emotion is only going to bring a better life.

3. The World can Take Care of Itself for a little bit.

There are many responsibilities in living a productive life. I know this now more than ever with a new mortgage and a 7 month old beautiful girl. But even when in a position to not have to take care of these relationships, my mind still does it. All these responsibilities can become a distraction in the moments that we should be allowing ourselves time to heal.

What I tell myself in these moments is that these relationships are safe without me for a moment. This is my time to heal and make sure I am in the best possible health for them in the long run.

4. Feeling is Not Weakness.

There is a strength that comes from feeling our emotions that cannot be gotten anywhere else. Feeling emotion provides mental and emotional flexibility. It allows us to not snap when the littlest things in our lives don’t go our way.

Many of us spend years running from feeling, this to me is the true weakness. Settling in and confronting the emotional pain in ourselves is courageous, not weak.

5. It is Okay to Cry and Okay to not Cry.

There is an immensely important quality in allowing tears to happen. But this is not to say that tears need to be had to feel emotion.

I am the kind of person that can get emotion out in this way privately. Other people are much more open with their tears than I am. Whatever way you find to get some tears out, as long as it isn’t hurting ourselves or others, is cool in my book.

So dudes, you aren’t a punk if you let a few tears out!

In Summary

Allowing ourselves to feel sad can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. Surrendering to sadness can feel like giving up. And in a sense it is.

Surrendering to feeling our sadness is giving up what isn’t real, it is giving up trying to control what we cannot. It is also our healthy way into finding out what we can control and what is real.

I don’t know about you but I have spent far too many moment running from reality. It angers me to know how much energy I have wasted protecting myself from my healing process. This anger is good though, I can use it to be a loving but stern voice as I attempt to run away from myself in the future. I get to use it to help me grow.

I invite you to do the same. If you are caught up in anger, or finding other ways to numb yourself from emotion, please stop. Set aside some time, create a sacred space to do some feeling. You will not regret it.

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please Like and leave a comment below.
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook page!

Much Love, Travis Hagen

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Healing Depression: Recovering our Repressed Creative Energy.

Healing Depression: Recovering our Repressed Creative Energy.

Depression is a familiar state of being for many individuals in the world. I have visited this state many times. And no doubt you are close to someone or are someone for whom depression is a danger for.

The “World Health Organization estimates that more than 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It’s also the world’s leading cause of disability.” This is what a healthline.com article reports.

With my tendency leading to becoming another one of those more than 300 million people, this is how I keep myself not depressed and continuing on with living a successful life.

A View on Depression.

Psychologist Sigmund Freud referred to depression as “anger turned inward.” But what does that mean?

In My Life Experiment’s last article we described anger as an expression of our creative energy attempting to break free from resistances.

The more of our energy that doesn’t find it’s way into the world through us, the more aggressive the energy becomes. And the more aggressive we may become.

Now there are many ways to dysfunctionally attempt to express aggression. It can be taken out on others in a way that produces more shame and anger toward ourselves. Or we can just skip the middle man and take it out directly on ourselves.

Whichever way our angry energies don’t find a way out they will still begin or continue the growth of a depressive cycle.

Too Hard on Ourselves?

On many occasions while navigating my way through a chemical addicted life, people would tell me the same thing. “Travis, you are way too hard on yourself.” And honestly, I couldn’t even comprehend what that meant.

It is as if the hyper self-critical voice inside of my head was so convinced that life could only be an anxious mess that I couldn’t even see that I couldn’t comprehend what lightening up was.

I understand the problem for myself now though. I was stuck. Stuck in a cycle that never ended up releasing the powerful energies that grew inside.

Almost all the ways I found to help ease the inner tension, were dysfunctional and bore very little helpful fruit. Yet all the dysfunctional ways found themselves to be much easier than the healthy.

Many individuals in this world have either never found out how or have forgotten how to be healthy and happy. It is a sad thing to realize how many people are stuck on being too hard on themselves. But thankfully I know there is a way out, mainly because I have found mine.

Depression Man

Turning the Volume Down on Depression.

With a state called Depression it would seem that there shouldn’t be all that much mental activity happening. But I for one know that in a depressed state, the mind is painfully loud. I say painfully because the messages being repeated are about all of the unfinished emotional business that has built up over the years.

Every ended relationship, passed love one, thing that wasn’t said or was said, and unmet expectation, desires all of our attention. Desiring it so badly that it feels almost impossible to think of something else.

The pain and built up anger fuels the harshness of the internal voice. It desires to be heard so badly as if it is a victim of bodily torture saying anything to find a way out of its present moment.

I paint a desperate internal situation here because it certainly can be. But even though, there are certainly ways out of this seemingly hopeless situation.

But there is hope and the volume can be turned down. It may seem impossible but I believe that is depression doing the talking.

More on Depression and How to Turn the Volume Down.

Before I show you a list on how to turn the volume down on depression I first need to tell you that these are only my personal insights. Though I find them to be true and helpful, they are not a prescription from a trained professional.

Also it is important to know that depression and sadness are nowhere near the same thing. Sadness is a normal emotion, and to me is very important to healing and moving on with our lives. And even though constant feelings of sadness are a symptom of depression, depression is it’s own beast altogether. For more on the symptoms of depression and difference between depression and sadness check out this Healthline.com article.

Lastly it is important to know that there are different types of depression. Some forms of depression are more situational and may be easier to find our ways out of. Others are clinical and are more persistent than situational types. Both types are serious and need immediate attention. For more information on the difference between situational and clinical depression check this article out.

Now on to our list for getting on top of depression and turning the volume down.

1.Talk to a Trained Professional.

If you are feeling deeply depressed or don’t know if you are simply feeling sad more often than usual, please get your yourself checked out.

A trained professional can help ease the pain of all that pent up energy. They may prescribe a medication, give advice about taking care of ourselves and just as importantly as both of those, give us an judgment free zone to express feelings. Though even if we visit a professional we are the ones that have to put in all the hard work.

2. Follow the Doctors Orders.

So you went to see a trained professional and they gave you some ideas for taking care of yourself. I advise to do them. By visiting a professional you have already admitted there is a problem that you didn’t have an answer to. Many of us don’t want to feel controlled by the orders of a trained professional. We may think they are just trying to make money off of us, or numb out our creative potential by giving us drugs. And maybe on some occasions this may be the truth but for the most part they create a safer atmosphere for healing than we can conjure alone.

There may also be shame and self-anger involved in not being able to fend for ourselves and needing the support of another. But just remember. Who made the visit to the professional? And who is deciding to go along with the prescribed plan? Nobody is being forced into anything here. Though I definitely gained a great deal by not fighting the suggestions that were offered to me throughout my mental health recovery.

For my recovery, I took meds when they were needed. Later on when in a very good place I decided that I wanted to see what life was like without them. I went to the Dr. and expressed my desire to wean off. They said that it was worth a shot, so we came up with a plan to come off of them safely.

Depression community3. Join a Community of Healthy Like Minded Individuals.

As a recovering addict a huge part of the health of my being has been showing up to 12 step recovery fellowship. In this fellowship I have found my wife, a mentor, many friends, and helpful acquaintances. These people have helped me expose my anger and have supported me as I find new ways to express my energy.

My family has also been crucially important and can also play the role of a helpful community. Though I feel I have learned how to be a healthy part of that dynamic by having a large fellowship in recovery to spread my energy through. Many individuals that suffer from depression have a painful dynamic with family. Having a larger community to be a part of can relieve the stress and pain that the family might go through as we recover.

Please find your way into a 12 step program, a church ,a large group of close knit friends and family, or all the above. Being connected to these healthy supports can help us navigate our way through depression. And our continued connection with them will help whenever the symptoms of depression rear their ugly head once again.

4. Get on the Path of Self-Discovery.

It is easy to become completely disconnected from who we are as human beings. From birth we are told who we are and what we should believe. As life goes on the battle with self continues as we judge ourselves against the paths of others and think less of ourselves as a result. Coming back home to who we are is of the utmost importance. Although it is a path with many heavy emotions, it is also the path opening up our repressed energy to find it’s way into the world.

In my recovery I have done this by sharing about myself in hundreds of recovery meetings and many hours of one on one work with a trusted mentor.

There are ways I have gotten more in touch with myself that don’t actually require other peoples input as well. Meditation has been a very important part of getting in touch with my body. Another immensely important part of my recovery today is what I call Therapeutic Writing. Here is a link to check out the Therapeutic Writing process I use to get in touch with what I am feeling and find out more about myself.

By discovering more about ourselves we can find out what behaviors only fuel anger, shame and depression. Then we can finally leave these behaviors that don’t work for our spirits, behind. As well as come to understand what new behaviors would work better for us. Whatever way you end up learning about yourself, get on it immediately.

5. Stay Active with Multiple Hobbies.

As we leave our old Depression causing ways behind, we need new outlets for our energy. As human beings we have far too much creative energy to just be wasting it. Whether that means finding new hobbies or getting in touch with hobbies we enjoyed in the past we need to be using them as an outlet. Not finding outlets for our energy will only enhance Depression.

To me a hobby is simply an outlet for our energy. So whether you hit the gym, hang out with friends, read, under water basket weave, or whatever get busy with them. That is unless your hobbies are harmful to yourself or others. In that case, please find some new hobbies!

6. Find Ways to Give Back.

In recovery I have been able to get in touch with and release a great deal of that built up creative energy that was fueling depression, anxiety and obsession. There is soo much repressed energy that lies latent inside a depressed individual. Finding ways to use this energy for the individuals that have helped us when we couldn’t help ourselves can be extremely gratifying. It can also be very rewarding to help those who are currently unable to do much for themselves.

We can give back to a community that helps us, our family, our career or society as a whole. Helping others is an important piece of staying aware of our importance in the world. All of that energy that has been locked inside of our bodies for years may be pleased that is getting used for something meaningful.

Keep up the Fight. Whether you Battle Depression or Simply Desire to Feel Better.

Depression Strong CoffeeIt is important to understand that we need to stay grounded and in the moment to maintain our mental and emotional health. This is something that the above things on this list will help you do. But it is also very important to remember that us individuals that have become acquainted with depression, risk relapse when getting too comfortable. We must remember that recovery and maintaining a healthy, happy and content life requires a commitment to find healthy avenues for our creative energies.

When we don’t feel so hot, we must keep moving forward. Also when we are feeling on top of the world we need to continue moving forward as well. We must never give up, vigilance is key in maintaining our own sanity.

Just navigating the world is tough enough as it is for the average human being. I believe anybody can benefit from the message and tips we have given here today.

So whether you are prone to depression or not, stay strong your life is worth fighting for.

 

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!

  1. Please Like and leave a comment below.
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook Page!

Much Love, Travis Hagen

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

Anger: An Unsung Emotion for Moving Forward.

Anger: An Unsung Emotion for Moving Forward.

Anger has a bit of a bad reputation. And many of us do not have a healthy relationship with anger but it is never too late to turn that around. We can develop a healthy relationship with the emotion and learn how to use the energy it carries in healthy ways. In ways that will free our healthy ambitions, enhance mental health, and lead us to our best lives possible.

So What is Anger?

I believe that at the very heart of anger is a being’s ambitious and creative energy seeking to find it’s way. When the energy doesn’t find it’s way into the world, it gets built up. This only generates more persistence to find liberation from the resistances against it. It means more anger to push us to get moving.

Anger is not necessarily a pleasant energy to deal with. It is also not an energy that will be easily ignored. It is not just going to go away. At first these angry thoughts and impulses may gently ask for our attention. With the asking turning to forceful demands as we neglect to respond and take action.

When we don’t take the actions we need to for too long the energy may take action into it’s own hands. It may create all sorts of problems internally and with our relationships.

The Battle with my Anger.

Anger Face

I would love to say that my history with anger has been rooted in nothing but healthy expression of the emotion. But no, it has been loaded with dysfunction and pain.

I had no clue that I simply had an abundance of creative energy that had no where to go.

Because of my lack of awareness of the crazy amount of energy in me and the anger I developed I damaged or destroyed many relationships and opportunities for success. It wasn’t until I began my journey of recovery that I began healing relationships and learning about the source of my anger. As well as doing work to heal the past that exists inside of myself.

Today, the ways I deal with my anger has mostly entered the world of the sane. My anger only sneaks in and causes problems once in awhile, and to a much lesser degree than in the past. Because over the years I have found a new way to live.

Lessening the Danger in Anger.

The danger in anger is clear. I am sure we all know someone or have been someone who has spilled this energy out in ways that cause embarrassment, humiliation, relationship loss or even jail time.

Dealing with anger irresponsibly doesn’t process the emotion. And unprocessed energy in anger leads to excess stress, anxiety, and diminished mental health

The Buddha likened holding onto anger to “holding onto hot coals.” So in order to process it we must find healthy ways to let this sometimes painful energy find its way out of us and into the world. To me this doesn’t mean that any form of acting on or communicating anger is harmful. But we do need to find the right ways.

In this study individuals were asked to respond in an either aggressive or non-aggressive way to a situation. The researchers wanted to see if either way of responding would  lessen the amount of anger felt in those individuals. The study found that not acting did a better job of lessening anger than trying to vent the anger aggressively.

The findings may run contrary to what our anger might tell us will work to release our tension. Anger may say I better yell at this person because they pissed me off. It might also say I need to quit this job because I don’t like the way the boss looked at me. There are an endless supply of probably dangerously silly decisions the thoughts that go along with anger can lead us to make.

Healthy Ways to Deal with Anger.

The study above may have said that not acting did a better job than acting aggressively. Though doing nothing too often, can lead us to being pushovers or to be in denial of issues we need to deal with. And acting out on anger in rash ways usually causes more problems than we started with. So what is the answer here?

We have compiled a list of healthy ways of dealing with the possibly misguided thoughts and impulses of being angry that don’t involve aggression or doing nothing. We hope they can help you process your anger and develop a better relationship with it.

1. Don’t make hasty decisions.

Far too often when I am feeling angry I think that something needs to be done right here and right now. Though more often than not, taking actions in haste when angry has created unnecessary problems.

If you are angry and the job, spouse or whatever else is the target of those possibly violent thoughts, please take some deep breathes and don’t quit. Don’t abandon the relationship just yet. Our judgment may be clouded and we need to step back to find out what is REAL! Then if you find out you actually are being taken advantage of then find a healthy way to leave or stay.

2. Chat with trusted friends.

After holding off on making quick decisions while too pissed off, allow a close friend to chat with. A trusted friend can help us calm down and may help us see the next course of action. But remember too much venting with the friend may actually not make things better so try and keep a cool head.

Keeping a cool head with your trusted people will allow them to give more sound advice. Otherwise they may just be pressured into agreeing with angry demands.

3. Do some Therapeutic Writing.

A lot of the time when I am angry I will turn to therapeutic writing. This is a process that has helped me keep from making many silly angry decisions. I sit down with pen, paper and calming music. I write to find my responsibility, not to simply vent my frustrations. I seek real feeling, and healing.

Sometimes simply jotting down a bunch of things I am grateful does great things for slowing my anger down.

4. Let go of Some Expectations.

The World not meeting my expectations for it can be a great source of my anger. This definitely isn’t to say that all expectations are unnecessary. Though some can be realistic and others just setting ourselves up to be pissed off. It is good to take a break from what we are doing and examine our expectations for ourselves and others when angry. Then we can let go of those expectations that are reasonable to let of.

5. Get some Exercise.

It always amazes me what a half hour pushing it hard on the elliptical can do for my anger and stress levels. By exercising, anger gets a nice outlet, though I recommend not thinking too angry of thoughts while working out. Then it just becomes an aggressive outlet which as I said above may be less effective than doing nothing.

Here is an article of “10 Exercises to Help Reduce Anger.”

6. Meditate.

When attempting meditation in an angry state, it may take a little time for the mind to slow down. There will be likely be a phase where meditating is the last we want to do. Our thoughts and energy may scream at us to get up and quit this stupid silence crap. Soon that voice and those impulses will subside and we will be returned to a more sensible state.

There have been many meditations that have completely melted away that anger I was once feeling. It is one of the most freeing feelings I have experienced.

7. Take a Nap.

Sometimes a nap may help immensely. Although naps may not be the easiest thing to have for someone that lives a busy life. Just a little nap can help me settle down the emotion I am feeling. This can give me a better perspective on what I currently see as a problem. And if the issue does need attention, I now may have a little more energy to take care of it!

8. Get a Bite to Eat.

I find it crazy to think about how many times I have gotten angry from things that seem like no real big deal then go have a bite to eat and have the aggression just melt away. Getting hangry is a real thing. So who knows maybe your not mad that an individual called you the wrong name at work, you may just be hungry!

9. Take Some Time to Stretch.

I am not talking about doing a bunch of yoga poses or anything like that! Sitting too much throughout the day builds up excess tension in the body. And for me tension and anger go hand in hand with one another. Just taking a little bit of time to bend down to touch my toes and stretch my back goes a long way to help me get some relief from feeling angry. It takes no time at all but I don’t remember a time my body didn’t appreciate it.

10. Pray.

Taking some time out to thank a higher power can help lift the stress of anger. Whether you believe in god, a helpful universe, your subconscious or whatever. Stopping to ask for some assistance or to express gratitude can be a productive solution.

The Creative in Anger.

creative anger

The list above is meant to get us back into a state of mind that isn’t having us controlled by our anger. It is to get us back in control of ourselves. When we are back in control of ourselves, we are much less likely to make destructive decisions. We will be in a position to allow that energy that is coursing through our bodies to do something productive.

Anger often leads the way in my creative process. I work on something, which could be anything complex, then I get confused. Then I get frustrated, and then pissed. After I use some of the healthy ways of dealing with my anger off the list above, I generally find myself feeling something and then moving on. Dealing with my anger in healthy ways has healed and enhanced relationships and brought me success I once never thought possible.

Anger is full of creative energy. Once we can get our thoughts and impulses under the guidance of our more sane self we can use them and the energy to create responsibly.

My relationship with my anger is not always a comfortable one. But I feel life isn’t meant for staying comfortable. Life is meant for creativity and growth, and anger will help us blaze new trails that will lead to amazing opportunities.

So I ask you today. If you are scared of your anger or are misusing it in ways that are hurting yourself and others, please join me in developing a healthy relationship with anger. Your stress levels and mental health will appreciate your decision. And you just may find that the deepest parts of yourself are using it to help you find the best your life can be.

Thank you so much for stopping in to My Life Experiment today. If you enjoyed what you read then I would love for you to do a couple things for us!
  1. Please Like and leave a comment below.
  2. Share this article on your social media.
  3. Join our email list, which will get you a copy of our Therapeutic Writing Guide, and have our new articles sent directly to your email.
  4. Follow our Facebook Page!

Much Love, Travis Hagen

My Life Experiment

Hello, we are Travis and Casey Hagen the writer's and owner's of My Life Experiment. As recovering Individuals, we are no strangers to leaving behind dysfunctional ways of living. Over the years we have become adept at managing our intense mental and emotional worlds to find healing from the past, peace in the present and new ways to bring about success for our futures. There is plenty for us to share with you about finding better ways to live. So please follow us on our journey as we share what we know, and continue to share as we invitably learn more.

%d bloggers like this: