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Your Divorce" from
The Detox Solution: The Missing Link to Radiant Health,
Abundant Energy, Ideal Weight and Peace of Mind
Patricia Fitzgerald DHM.
TO A FRIEND
It is truly
empowering to eliminate any emotional stressors that you realize need
not be a part of your life. At the same time, realize that our perception
of a circumstance is a major factor in whether or not we experience it
negatively. In his famous play Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote, "There
is nothing bad or good, but thinking makes it so." Our perceptions
are so powerful that changing our thinking about something can even turn
a negative stressor into a positive one.
Yes, there can be positive stress! Perhaps your frustration about an unfulfilling
job or relationship will give you the extra push you need to move on.
Instead of allowing your unhappiness to create obsessive thoughts about
how bad things are, try using that energy to think of how to make a change.
See your emotional messages as clues to what you need to do. Don't permit
your feelings to drag you down. Acknowledge them, let them go, and then
take action. Remember, responding in this way is not only a step toward
creating a happier life. You will also be moving toward living in an emotional
state that supports good health. Every thought we have has a powerful
effect on the body.
In her booklet, "How to Heal Yourself from Toxic Emotions,"
medical authority Christiane Northrup, M.D., agrees that shifting your
response to a stressor is key. She also suggests reducing the frequency
of your exposure to those stressors that seem unavoidable. The example
she gives is visiting inñlaws. If a woman is experiencing stomachaches,
panic attacks, or headaches when she spends time with her spouse's family,
one thing she can consider is simply seeing them less often. Perhaps fewer
exposures will give the woman the time she needs to change the way she
views these individuals. She could also work on improving her responses
to emotional situations and developing coping skills.
AT YOUR EMOTIONAL HABITS
chapter so far, ideas about the importance of enhancing emotional health
have been presented. You now understand the powerful link between your
emotions and your physical health. You've identified your own particular
stressors, and have some strategies to use to reduce their impact. Now
let's dig a little deeper. It's time to assess the quality of your particular
set of emotional habits.
Awareness is crucial to emotional management. How long does it take for
you to realize that you've had an emotional reaction? Do you know at the
time, or only realize it later? Each reader of this book will be at a
different level of self-awareness.
Don't rush through the following assessment. It may take you a while to
come up with an honest evaluation of your emotional response habits. If
so, pay attention to your emotional patterns over the next week, or two,
or three. Jot down any insights that arise along the way. As you observe
your responses, note whether your behavior most often fits what is described
under Column A or Column B. If you feel it's about even, jot down A/B
as your response.
hard for me to relax.
let go and relax easily.
have a short fuse.
myself to be very patient.
takes a lot to upset me.
tend to share my emotions.
my emotions productively.
often leave me feeling let down.
aware of what I can expect from others.
assumptions and get disappointed.
clear arrangements with others.
reluctant to express my needs.
people what I need from them.
hard for me to say no.
behavior patterns -- such as overeating, smoking, substance abuse,
or overspending -- are a part of my life.
with my emotions directly.
to stay busy all the time.
my life -- working, resting, playing.
not very organized.
and organize regularly.
unaddressed issues linger.
conflict as it comes up.
thoughts are often negative.
in a very positive way.
feel very good about myself.
hard for me to prioritize.
set priorities each day.
mind is too busy.
mind is often calm.
feelings overwhelm me.
handle what I feel.
compromised in many situations.
sure I take care of myself.
live in emergency mode.
in control and take proactive steps to manage my life.
you find that you mostly identified with the statements in Column A, don't
be too hard on yourself. You have a lot of room to grow! For those of
you with fewer Column A considerations, recognize these as the areas where
you need to do the work. In either case, for each A answer, look at the
choice given under Column B. Think about how you could be responding differently.
Begin to incorporate these new behaviors into your life. If you had no
A responses, think about the ways you can reinforce your positive behavior.
One of the most powerful forces in humankind is that of emotional expression.
Emotions have led to destruction, artistic creation, war, peace, killing,
healing, fighting, and making love. It's crucial to be aware of our emotional
responses in order to live in harmony with others.
"EMOTIONAL RESPONSE SYSTEM"
who we are, there will be situations that challenge our ability to manage
our responses. However, learning to manage our emotional reactions is
empowering. Here is a seven-step system for keeping an emotional outburst
in check. Let's call it our "Emotional Response System." The
point is to experience and deal with the emotion without indulging it.
Observe how you're feeling (rather than being consumed by it), and take
near the emotional response:
Recognize the shift in your physical state. Do you feel as if you're
about to cry? Are you in a sudden state of alertness? Do you have an aggressive
desire to scream at someone or to attack him or her physically? Having
this initial awareness will help you to become more of an observer to
the situation; you'll eventually feel less consumed or overpowered.
2. Start to breathe more slowly and deeply. Gentle abdominal breathing
will help you begin to calm down. Most emotional are preceded by a period
of poor breathing. By spending a few minutes working with your breathing
patterns, you will slow down your nervous system. This will give you a
chance to reevaluate the situation.
3. Gain perspective with a time out. Go into another room, step
outside, or call a sympathetic friend to vent your feelings. It's virtually
impossible to resolve problems when either party is in a charged emotional
state. However, time heals and gives us an opportunity to see the truth
in any situation. Why not use the blessing of healing time and avoid an
4. Spend time in quiet contemplation before confronting anyone.
You could meditate, pray, or spend time in nature. When you quiet your
mind, solutions, truth, and clarity naturally unfold.
5. The power of affirmation can help to change your perception of the
situation. Phrases such as "Things aren't always as they seem,"
"I am open to seeing this situation differently," or "I
choose peace in this situation" allow your awareness to shift. With
this new perspective, you create an opportunity for a healthier emotional
response. There are always at least two sides to everything.
6. When you're ready to talk, make sure you listen to the other perspective.
There might be a misunderstanding. Through dialogue, you may be able to
develop a plan of action together.
7. Make every effort to resolve the issue cleanly. Don't give up
until you get a resolution, or feel you've explored all the alternatives.
so much better when we consistently deal with our emotions in a healthy
manner. Holding onto our upset without giving it clear thought or taking
tempered action is a recipe for continued aggravation. On the other hand,
slamming another person with the full force of our emotions can result
in a severed relationship. The next time you feel a charged outburst about
to pop, try the Emotional Response System. You will notice over time how
you will feel empowered with healthy emotional expression, as opposed
to powerless over your outbursts.
IT WORKS WITH
EMOTIONAL HEALTH TOO!
many tools that you can incorporate into your daily life to help yourself
avoid toxic emotional eruptions. Many of the tools listed below will assist
you in gaining perspective. Once you start to see potentially upsetting
situations as a small pieces of your life, it will become easier to respond
in a more productive way. You've probably heard the expression "This
too will pass." This is true for most of the situations that challenge
us emotionally. Think now of earlier times when you were upset. The chances
are great that you have moved on. Here's a list of twenty-five proactive
tools for preventing extreme emotional reactions by creating a balanced
relationship with your feelings:
within. It's important to consistently engage in meditation, prayer,
or some other form of introspection. These activities will help you tap
into your inner resources. You'll find yourself producing creative solutions.
You'll also become better acquainted with a Very Important Person (V.I.P.)
2. Rejuvenate yourself with a nature break. Many people sit for
hours each day in front of a computer, and their energies are slowly drained.
Engaging in outdoor activities can replenish you. Don't let yourself become
emotionally zapped. Recharge your emotional batteries by strolling through
a park, watering your garden, or Iying back in the grass and taking in
the sky. When you have more time, take a contemplative walk in the woods
or by a lake or the ocean.
3. Watch out for information overload. According to The Longevity
Strategy, a book by David Mahoney and Richard Restak, M.D., one issue
of the New York Times contains more information than the average
person in the 17th Century encountered over a lifetime! With the development
of the Internet and more electronic media available than ever, it is important
to take inventory of just how much information your brain is processing
daily. Be selective about how much and what kind of data you allow to
permeate your being. In the Judaic tradition, the practice of the Sabbath
discourages the use of electronic stimulation. Try a break at least once
a week from the newspaper, television, and the Internet.
4. Let your media influences be uplifting. It is not just the amount
but also the type of information that affects our emotional health. If
you find yourself watching the news before you sleep and frequently viewing
violent movies, these practices will tend have a negative residual effect.
On the other hand, if you tend to view programs that are entertaining
and uplifting, you will be adding positive influences to your experience.
5. Make sure you get enough sleep. It appears that Americans are
working more, sleeping less, and feeling more tired than ever. You could
be eating healthy and exercising regularly, but if you neglect the basic
need of restful sleep, it is virtually impossible to create optimal health.
People who skimp on their sleep usually feel emotionally vulnerable. If
you have a "to do" list that is too long, cut some items and
make getting more sleep a priority.
6. For an uncluttered mind, create an uncluttered environment.
When our environments are cluttered, we tend to experience more frustration,
confusion, or anxiety. Make a point of periodically getting rid of things
you don't use. Emphasize beauty in your environment by keeping a vase
of fresh flowers where you spend most of your time. If you need help with
creating an environment that is conducive to emotional stability, you
might consult with a feng shui practitioner. Feng shui is an ancient
Chinese art of placement for the home or office that emphasizes balance
and harmony of surroundings.
7. Make a commitment to a regular yoga practice. An underlying
purpose of all the branches of yoga is to create a sense of balance and
harmony in those who practice it. While your day might have been chaotic
and rushed, performing yoga can assist you in finding your peaceful inner
Eden. Eventually becoming centered through yoga, you will be able to respond
in ways during your day to day life that are healthier emotionally. You
won't be as easily jostled by challenging situations. In addition, breathing
techniques used in yoga can help you release long-held tension. Chapter
12 on circulation includes information on the various yoga disciplines
as well as other forms of exercise.
8. Learn how to set healthy boundaries. Many people feel "overbooked
for life," but forget that they had a choice about making the appointments.
When you set boundaries clearly, life doesn't overwhelm you. Perhaps you
need to work on your assertiveness skills. Learn to spend more of your
life doing what you actually want to do, and less of what you think
others want for you.
9. Make looking at the positive side a regular habit. We all know
least one person who seems to be able to find that silver lining in every
storm cloud. We are lifted by their very presence because of this great
attitude. This could also be you! To begin to put a more positive spin
on life, try to look at the positive aspects of situations at every opportunity.
Then when a more challenging circumstance comes up, your brain will be
trained to look for the bright side. You'll be less likely to engage in
a toxic emotional response.
10. Just say "no!" to procrastination. Instead of procrastinating,
adopt a "take charge" approach. Procrastination can contribute
to low self-esteem and anxiety, as you put off facing something but still
worry about it. The pent-up tension can build up so much that it finally
bursts! How much easier it is to just deal with it early on! If you find
yourself avoiding taking action, explore the real reasons. Then find ways
to become motivated about taking responsibility rather than dreading it.
11. Cultivate a spirit of gratitude. Being thankful for all that
you have is a great habit. Unfortunately, many people focus on what they
don't have. It seems that what we concentrate on in life expands, so a
negative way of thinking can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. When you start
feeling thankful, you'll find you have more and more to be thankful for.
This is a very easy, fun, and effective tool for decreasing stressful
12. Watch the words that you use. Words that can cultivate toxic
emotions include "should," "ought," "stress,"
"must," "busy," "worry," "he made me
feel," "she made me do such and such," etc. Because it
is often used to imply victimization, this language can allow us to feel
powerless. Open up your options by searching for words of empowerment.
These include "can," "will," "want," "choose,"
"love," and "peace." I often suggest a thirtyñday
"diet" from the words "worry," "busy," and
"stress" for patients having emotional challenges. They learn
to find more creative and empowering descriptions of how they are feeling,
and their perception of difficulty often transforms. The results have
been remarkable, including stress reduction and a greater capacity for
joy and inner peace. The biblical phrase, "the Word was made flesh"
can be witnessed personally through our choice of language, for we tend
to embody what we speak.
13. Speak well of others. Avoid gossip. When discussing other people,
think of how you would like to be spoken about. I guarantee that it will
feel better to find ways to be happy for others rather than sharing resentments
about them. If you find yourself being tempted to say something negative
about another person, see if you're bothered by a characteristic you are
denying in yourself. When you accept that part of you, your feelings about
the other person are likely to change.
14. Discover mindfulness. This essentially is the practice of living
fully in the moment. One reason that children and animals are so therapeutic
and enjoyable to be around is that they focus on the here and now. They're
not worried about tomorrow or yesterday. They're just open to the joy
of the present.
15. Create community support for yourself. Since we do live
in a very reactive world, you'll benefit from reaching out to others striving
to live at a healthier emotional level. You'll find such support at twelve-step
programs, churches, meditation groups, etc. You'll also find kindred spirits
at self-help workshops and classes.
16. Foster your emotional growth through books, tapes, websites, and
seminars. There's such a richness of these resources today! For instance,
check out O. C. Smith's Mind Power site (www.ocsmiths mindpower.com),
and the books that are recommended there. After Smith's song "Little
Green Apples" became a hit, he began to research positive thinking
and the power of the mind. Since then, he has become an internationally-acclaimed
motivational speaker, sharing his findings on the amazing potential of
the mind. You'll find many useful tips on his site. Smith has also condensed
his ideas into an audiotape series called Mind Power that is available
through his site. Another excellent site loaded with tapes to foster empowerment
is Nightingale-Conant (www.nightingale.com). An additional way
to find ways to increase emotional growth is to browse the psychology
and self-help sections of your local bookstores periodically.
17. Journal your thoughts and feelings. This practice will serve
you in several ways. First, you'll discharge emotional upsets as you write
them down on the page. Secondly, you'll have the opportunity to clarify
your thoughts and feelings. And last, you'll have a record of your experiences,
which will help you decipher your patterns.
18. Schedule regular exercise on your appointment calendar. Although
a sure way to lift your spirits is to get your body moving, how often
do we abandon exercise for the sake of something that seems more pressing?
Writing your exercise appointments on your calendar will help you keep
the commitment. Also, choosing a nonstrenuous exercise, such as walking,
can help you avoid downtime due to injuries. For more information on exercise,
see Chapter 12.
19. Try kindness. The Dalai Lama says that kindness is his religion.
A kind attitude is so needed in our oftentimes insensitive today. Turn
up your compassion meter, and recognize those opportunities where you
can make a difference. Stepping into a stranger's or even a loved one's
shoes is also one of the best ways of gaining a kinder, gentler perspective.
20. Develop Gumby's flexibility. One way we set ourselves up for
an emotional upset is by remaining rigid despite changing circumstances.
Remember Gumby, the cartoon character? He's the one toy that didn't break
because he was willing to bend. Flexibility is an important skill when
21. Be a student of life; look for your lessons. As you grow stronger
emotionally, a helpful approach is to view situations that challenge you
emotionally as opportunities to make new choices. Is the salesperson rude?
Instead of getting angry, find someone else to help you. Is a loved one
inconsiderate? Instead of withdrawing, look for the right time to discuss
the behavior. Working through one situation at a time will lead you away
victim behavior and teach you emotional courage.
22. Practice patience. One cause of unhappiness is a reluctance
to wait for things to develop at their own pace. We can even steal some
of our own joy in receiving by acting impatient about outcomes. Doing
your best right now will further your best interests more than worrying
about when something will happen. Next time you find yourself growing
impatient, relax and let the tension go. Trust in the process of life.
23. Build healing rituals into your life. What rituals soothe your
soul? Is it a weekly bubble bath by candlelight? A break-of-dawn stroll
through your neighborhood? A quiet moment over herbal tea at the end of
the day? Take the time to nourish yourself emotionally by practicing healing
rituals regularly rather than falling into counterproductive, self-destructive
24. When making decisions, don't forget your heart! To create a
happy life, we must understand what is true for us individually. We have
this knowledge when we take the time to listen to our heart. It's important
to resist external pressures to make decisions based solely on the values
of others. What is it that you really want for yourself? What are
your values? What are your personal priorities?
25. Enjoy and note your progress. As you notice that circumstances
you used to feel upset by no longer have a hold on you, you will begin
to enjoy emotional empowerment. When you truly realize that your emotions
can be great teachers instead of overwhelming enemies, life takes on a
whole new meaning.
copyright 2001 by Patricia Fitzgerald
TO A FRIEND