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How to stay rooted in Emotional Well Being

“What you focus on, grows “

At the dawn of 2022, I have made a pledge to stay rooted in my own emotional well being. As I learned last year, in the difficult moments of a global pandemic and its individual repercussions, that the only thing that made a difference to me and to those who I was in touch with through my sessions, therapy and speaker engagements, was a deep-rooted belief that “ I and only I am responsible for my mental health care.

That daily reminder and mental flossing helped me remain sane, resilient and hopeful, on the toughest days. 2022, will be a year of post-traumatic growth for almost all humans, as there is a rare individual who remained completely unaffected by these 2 years. Fortifying own emotional ability and building emotional stamina is no longer a luxury item. It is a dire everyday necessity.
So, what questions do you need to ask yourself and introspect on, on a daily basis? Make a personal list that you can refer to and relate to and which defines your personal day to day reality.

Some of the questions, which have been shared by my trainees, students, clients, readers and participants are :

  1. What went well today?
  2. What did not go well today?
  3. What can I change?
  4. What cannot be changed and I need to let go of?
  5. What motivated or empowered me?

Another daily habit that helps maintain equanimity is writing a gratitude journal. It helps me to take 2 steps forward, every time I am forced to take a step back due to challenges, toxic relationships or difficulties.

Research and writings of learned people have elucidated a simple fact – ” When we write what we are grateful for daily, we are actually, releasing natural opiates in our brain. Further, we are engraving and neurologically setting pathways of positive experiences, in our mindset. We train our brain to bring our conscious awareness to simple joys, instead of threats and negatives. This is perceived as difficult, unless, we indulge in a daily practice like journaling.
Our emotions are deemed to be signals of what is going on within us. Usually, we keep our emotions on high alert for negatives like fear, anger or disgust. Further, this is rooted in our evolution- we are hardwired to focus on the negatives as it helps us remain alert to threats and dangers in order to survive.

Our ancestors, who were forest dwellers and did hunting for basic survival and food, needed to be prepared for sudden threats like an attack by a ferocious tiger or a vicious wild animal. Yet, today, over the generations, we do not face such threats. But, each time, we are in a chronic difficult relationship, financial trouble or any health challenge, our neurotransmitters go on high alert and our defensive emotions get activated and we notice the slightest discomfort, rude remark, toxic behaviours or alarming news items.

When we understand this process, simply and instead of denying it or trying to snub it, just focus on diverting our attention to more positive experiences, overall, over a period of time, life starts to feel, less threatening.

When we do a daily ( not sporadic) practice of counting our blessings and pleasant experiences, we start collecting emotional ability resources. Brain chemicals called peptides, start to release natural tranquillisers or opiates or relaxants like serotonin, instead of threat hormones like cortisol into our bloodstream, at the slightest rub.

So, overall, our bloodstream and brain cells, tend to be dominated by soothing and problem-solving neurotransmitters and hormones, instead of being flooded by debilitating ones. Day by day, we learn to take care of our mental health and slowly but steadily, our focus shifts to the positive experiences in our life and invariably, our inherent survival fixation with threats and discomforts go down, automatically. The ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) tend to diminish, to be replaced by PETS (performance enhancing thoughts). This helps one navigate difficult waters and also empowers us to grow and thrive, in spite of difficulties.

Buddha says “What you focus on, grows”.
Robin Sharma takes this axiom a step further and adds to it, saying “ What you focus on grows, what you think about, expands and what you dwell upon, shapes your destiny. “

Do you agree?

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