Our life, our reality occurs in the present moment, but our mind seeks to live in a recreation of the past or some made up, worst version of our future.
The most difficult part about emotional wounds is our resolute inability to spontaneously stop ruminating over every little detail; perpetuating the suffering we so wish to transcend.
Shakespeare said: “there is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.” Marcus Aurelius declared that: “if we are distressed by anything external, it is not due to the thing itself, but to our estimate of it; and this we have the power to revoke at any moment.”
If we are resolutely interested in eliminating the emotionally debilitating cacophony of detrimental thoughts from our reality, what we need are tools and exercises to build our mental resilience so that we may wrestle our minds away from such preoccupations.
There are 3 things we need to reclaim control of; our thoughts, our time, and ultimately our lives. Here are the simple steps to ascend this summit of emotional healing.
Take Control Of Your Thoughts
Buddha describes our mind as a drunken monkey. Our thoughts can be our worst enemy or our greatest ally. The ability to put your thoughts where you want them, when you want to, may be the most valuable skill we can ever develop.
When you have destructive, self-defeating thoughts, on repeat, you must move your mind to a more empowering environment.
Meditation is to mental prowess what dumbbells are to your bicep strength. As you sit meditating, your thoughts attempt to wander to a location you don’t wish to explore (emotional pain). As you endeavor to exercise control over your locus of focus and seat it firmly in the realm of happiness, you will gain a greater ability to do so.
Your wandering thoughts are the gravitational equivalent to a dumbbell falling to the floor. As you endeavor to focus your mind, it incessantly attempts to move in another direction, similar to the dumbbell that you try to curl and its penchant to seek the earth.
Do not get discouraged! This is the process; focus, lose focus, bring your mind back to focus. Think curl, relax, curl again. This is how we develop our ability to take our thoughts and direct them to where we want them.
Begin to notice those thoughts that don’t serve you and replace them with those that do. As you develop greater awareness that your thoughts are under your abject control, you will purposefully move them to the place where they serve you…you are your own placebo. The cognitive pills you consume, contrary to their chemical counterparts, will have an inverse tolerance. The more you swallow the greater the benefit.
Once we have control over where we place our thoughts, we need to occupy our time with worthy pursuits in order to prevent those ever pervasive, emotionally poisonous thoughts from manifesting.
What are you occupying your time with? Is it high calorie, low nutritional value sensory activities (e.g. browsing the internet, discussing people, gossip, TV) or are you filling your time with enriching activities like a healthy hobby, exercise, or a creative pursuit such as writing, painting or creating?
If you have time to berate yourself over some past experience or event, then you have time on your hands that could be better suited to a more empowering activity. May I suggest that you create a list of things you have a desire to pursue? This may sound trite, but ask yourself these 2 questions: what would you do if you knew you would not fail, and what would you do if you had all the time you needed and money was no object?
That’s a start. Find something creative to fill your time and you won’t have the opportunity to pine over emotionally hurtful transient events.
Take Control Of Your Life
The final level is to now take control of your life…
There is a Greek word; arete that means excellence. To live in excellence is to live above reproach. We must pray for the wisdom to know what represents arete in our lives and the courage to always take that path.
Author and spiritualist Don Miguel Ruiz came up with 4 agreements that we ought to make with ourselves. These are: make your word impeccable, don’t take anything personally, never assume anything, and always do your best.
If you live by these principles, and subscribe to the previously discussed concepts, then you will give yourself the greatest chance to escape from emotional pain and insulate yourself from inevitable future suffering.
Life is a journey; it can be our teacher or our tormentor. The decisions we have made, and the decisions we have been subjected to by others, have done nothing but provide teachings. Use your newfound ability to frame your Odyssey-like experiences positively, and savor the lessons learned in these unique tales of adventure for they have made you the fascinatingly resilient person you are today.
Are you struggling with an emotional wound? Will you try the approach shown above? Leave a comment and let us know.
Dr Thomas Kavounas is an Army veteran serving 6 years at Ft. Campbell, KY as a combat medic and a chiropractor with 15 years service to the spine industry. He is a graduate of Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis, MO. Thomas loves mountain biking, running and body weight training. His interests include the tiny house movement, struggling with a guitar he swears is broken and trying desperately to edge out his wife in either darts, pool, golden tee or bags. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org