The Friday Dose #24

419 Relax and Succeed - We make a living by what we get

We all see chances to do it every single day. Chance after chance after chance. If we only took one or two per day we would literally change the world. We would set a different kind of example for kids. Instead of teaching them to shop for more stuff we could teach them to express themselves through kind and generous acts. This isn’t hard. And it’s far from painful. It feels awesome. Generous people aren’t generous because they’re stupid. It’s because they’re selfish. They know it feels fantastic to help another human being. Or even an animal or the planet itself. Despite what advertising tells you, it feels good to share and to not be driven all the time by want. Take a look at these wonderful examples. And I hope you’ll use them as inspiration in your own life:

Random Acts of Kindness

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I have a lot of people come to me on SSRIs or other pharmaceuticals that they would like to stop taking, either because they feel dependent, or because they can’t make certain connections in life, as in cases with people who are artists but cannot access their creative self, or people who lose interest in their relationships or in sex. I only have my own views on this subject and I can certainly clear the air in the sense that if people learn to control their thinking better then they do tend to know more certainly what they want to do about medications. But there are a lot of datapoints worth taking in in the debate. Here’s a recent interview on the subject. If you’ve been thinking about quitting too, this will likely interest you:

Robert Whitaker on the Evidence Behind Antidepressant Drugs

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There’s a lot of you that think you’re pretty clear-headed. That you’re pretty kind and fair-minded and that you’re a do-the-right-thing kind of person. But the difference between us is that I know I fall into ego all the time and I say and do and chase and avoid all kinds of things that are entirely foolish. But because I know that, I do that less than you. I’m humble. I’m on guard. I know I’ll slip, so I aim toward keeping my attention—my consciousness—focused on the moment I’m in. Here’s one example of something that might make you too uncomfortable. Something that you would have thoughts about that would prevent you from relaxing into love. It’s worth thinking about. There’s a lot of life experience on the other side of our fears.

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Focus on the many things you have to be grateful for. Share your gratitude with the world through your smile, your kind words and your thoughtful gestures. Cause the world to be a better place because you are making it that way with the verb of your life. There’s nothing like it. It truly feels wonderful even when it doesn’t. Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

peace. s

The Friday Dose is a collection of cool, interesting and surprising things that are chosen for their potential to distract you away from any painful thought loops that may currently be disrupting your sense of perspective. Save these for when you’re feeling low and you want to change your perspective. They’ll help Enjoy. And please let me know if you bump into any broken links. Thanks!

Tortured by Weight

Can you write about over-eating? And I don’t mean eating disorders or people with actual medical issues, I mean people like me. People who eat as a way of coping with stress. I’m sitting here again at my desk today with a drawer full of unhealthy food and this really
has to stop before I start looking like the hippo my dragon mom is so worried about.

signed,
Tortured by Weight

Dear Tortured,

You have my condolences on having the Dragon Mom. I’m sure she’ll whip you toward some material success but, as you note, she might kill your spirit in the process. You can’t manufacture kids to meet specifications, you can only cultivate their seeds in an effort to help them realize their potential. All else will carry the sort of tension that leads to one having a drawer full of candy.376 Relax and Succeed - What a strange illusion

Let’s start with your Mom. Over time she has implanted ideas in your head that you are not worthy as yourself and you must achieve certain physical or material or social status and then you will become worthwhile. But your Mom is crazy and she’s lying to you. She didn’t mean to be crazy or to lie but she absolutely is. But she’s doing it just as innocently as you are. She got taught to do it and now you’re learning it too, and if you’re not careful you’ll extend that to your potential children in the very same way, so I’m glad you wrote. Let’s stop this unhealthy manufacturing before it pollutes too much of the environment.

I’m not worried about your weight. If we get you mentally healthy your weight will become whatever is natural for you. If people outside of you want to judge that then the problem isn’t with your weight—their problem is their judgment. So forget about weight and focus on health. What’s important is that you’re experiencing stress. Your reaction is just a symptom. We don’t battle symptoms on this blog, we focus on root causes.

It’s highly likely that the sneaking of food (it is in a drawer, hidden after all) was also taught by your Mom or someone she influenced, like a sister. It doesn’t really matter what the specifics of the math is, but the formula is essentially the same: if your mom was made to be ashamed of her weight and to feel guilty about eating then she would hide her eating and in doing so she would subtly teach the behaviour to you. You likely hold the phone the same way as your Mom, you likely speak, walk and stand like her too. You’re likely to buy the same brands—or avoid them—for the very same reasons. So this action isn’t you, it’s what you were programmed to do.

376 Relax and Succeed - I need to be skinnierEating is done for nourishment and/or joy. You have the caloric and nutrient value on one side, and you have taste and social interaction on the other. So there’s nothing wrong with eating per se. It’s necessary, important and worthwhile. But you want to eat in a way that enriches your life and not in a way that detracts from your life.

What you essentially have is an addiction. Not to food, but to the act of eating. This is much more like smoking than you might realize. Nicotine isn’t why most smokers can’t quit. The chemical aspect is relatively short-lived, the problem is in their thinking. They have triggers that will cue them to smoke. Times of day, collections of co-workers or friends, locations etc. etc. Smoking is weaved into their lives and they feel odd and “wrong” if they’re not doing it. This “wrongness” is merely a reaction to a thought dead-ending. It’s an actual sensation. You can feel it, as though you have left something out. If you always drive with your seatbelt, it’s like when you go to a foreign country that doesn’t have them—you almost feel naked riding in a car without one after the habit is formed. We wouldn’t say I’m addicted to seat belts and we wouldn’t run out to find a seat belt dealer on some dark corner, but it’s really the same thing. I have something my brain is used to and if it’s not there it notes the absence and I interpret that notation as discomfort.

So it might be helpful to figure out what your triggers are. Work stress, maybe mirrors, maybe a slim co-worker, maybe even a phone call from your Mom. However you slice it, your brain is very selectively collecting information all day long, and something you collect incites you to eat. Maybe you and I walk down a hallway where you work and I notice the pattern of the tiles on the floor and you notice and analyze the weight of the girl walking in front of us and you use your thoughts to compare yourself (likely unfavourably) to her. Start paying more attention to your thinking and you’ll find your triggers. But you need to get into the habit of actually actively listening to the narratives that make up your ego.

376 Relax and Succeed- Food is the most abused anxiety drugUsually before someone can simply Be healthy they need to un-ego their ego by arguing it out of existence. This act is meditation. You see that you are not over-eating, you are free and you are choosing to eat out of a kind of mimicry and blind repetition. You need to recognize this freedom and slowly break the habit by doing otherwise. This can be done in a variety of ways—maybe your reaction to these motivating thoughts are always met with a debate. Maybe you substitute another behaviour like exercise. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, as long as you’re breaking the unconscious pattern and challenging it, then you are rewiring the matrix in your brain that is this habit. You won’t be “getting healthy” though, you’ll just be “living differently.” The value judgments exist only in your consciousness—they are not things in and of themselves. Someone can eat creme pastries for every meal and die of heart disease at a young age, but if they enjoyed every minute of that then they got more joy out of life than most people do. There’s no right or wrong way to live, there’s just the way you choose and its consequences.

Can you see that you can’t sit there are try not to eat? Because that’s another way of thinking about eating, and that’s your actual problem. You have to change your thinking, not your eating habits. Otherwise you’re getting the cart before the horse. Simply put, you eat because you tell yourself to. You stop by telling yourself to do something else instead. Everything works that way. And yes, it really is that easy. The reason most people don’t try it is because they think the solution must be hard because they perceive that they have a big problem rather than a small thought issue.

I’m sorry your Mom got loaded with these crazy ideas and I’m sorry she downloaded them into you. I don’t even have to see you know you are divinely beautiful and worthwhile. You don’t need to achieve anything to be acceptable, you were acceptable when the universe deigned to collect a bunch of atomic-star-bits and 376 Relax and Succeed - You are beautifulassemble them into the energy-being that is you. Your existence alone is proof of your value. There is nothing you need from outside yourself, you just need to have a true sense of how miraculous it is that you exist at all. It’s a stunning gift that we all take so much for granted.

Eat because it tastes good. Exercise because it feels good. Enjoy other people’s company while you do both. But your thoughts about food and your thoughts about your value cannot be fixed by changing things in the outside world. Health is an internal issue. It’s a state of mind. And you don’t achieve it by wanting to be healthy because want is the core of the ego’s problem. You don’t become healthy, you realize health. You do that by refusing to think the thoughts of a person you are not. You are not the computer program your Mother programmed into your memory. You are the computer itself, and you can change your software whenever you become conscious that you are the hardware and not the software.

You are a flexing, changing, malleable, incredible being and yet you are talking as though you are some weak and fractured creature. This is a classic case of thinking small. Yeah, your Mom will still have her thoughts about how you look. But that’s her issue. She lives with those judgments. Let her have them. But don’t consume them yourself without checking to see how healthy they are. Because that’s about as helpful as a drawer full of candy.

peas. s 😉

The Friday Dose #10 – Guides for Life

We’ll start this week’s Dose off with a nice concise listing of healthy approaches to life. I’m sometimes reluctant to post blogs because I often only read the one I am posting and I have no idea if I might entirely disagree with their other blog entries. But this one has a nice breakdown of some good information so no 335 Relax and Succeed - If you don't make timematter where you are in life, if you’re struggling you’ll find yourself on this list somewhere:

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

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And here’s a scientific breakdown of why the bad habits listed above are actually bad for you. There are important truths revealed here if you’re prepared to forget what you believe you know so you can discover what you do not know:

How To Trick Your Brain For Happiness

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And if you’re still not feeling like you can find a way to feel good then at least have hope that such a way exists. Because if this guy can build himself an enjoyable, enriching, rewarding life, then I’m entirely confident that you can too:

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Let this be the weekend you discover how strong you really are. Have a great weak-end. 😉

peace. s

The Trick to Happiness

178 Relax and Succeed - The cells in your bodyThere’s some parts that take longer, but about every seven years or so you’ll have grown an entirely new body. All of your cells would have split and died and there would be a whole new you that emerged cell by cell throughout that time. Take a moment to really think about that. Literally a new you every decade.

On each of those cells are receptors for the neurological-chemicals that are produced on instructions from your thinking. Think a scary thought, your hypothalamus produces the chemistry for fear, and your body reacts by changing your expression, your posture, and your awareness etc.  in a variety of fearful ways.

If you continually bombard yourself with a particular chemistry—your body is smart, it will make your body good at absorbing that chemistry. So in essence, as cells split, the new daughter cell will be better at what you’ve taught the parent cell you want to do. So if you’re in the gym and you’re working on your biceps, then that cell will be really good at gathering all of the necessarily chemical elements to facilitate the growth and strengthening of your muscles. Likewise if you constantly feel victimized, or afraid, or angry, your cells will split being good at that. So you can literally build a body that’s good at 178 Relax and Succeed - You can't live a positive lifebeing angry. Fortunately, you can also build one that’s good at being happy.

This week’s blog links to an article that was featured in UofC Berkeley‘s on line publication, The Greater Good. It talks about how our body naturally adapts to our requests, which in turn points to the importance of us maintaining awareness of our thinking. By making our thoughts more intentional, we can assume a much higher degree of control over whether or not we create and enjoy a full and rewarding life.

Enjoy.

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_trick_your_brain_for_happiness/

 

peace. s

Imagine What You Can Do

173 Relax and Succeed - Dergin Tomak
Video below

That’s right where it starts. Someone has a single thought. It’s probably the result of some fluke intersection of two or three other ideas in the person’s head, but emerging from that collision of dynamics will be an insight—a new idea.

Having imagined that, a person then realises there are some unforeseen hurdles. But in imagining those, solutions may also appear. This continues on until the person has the first notion to actually attempt to create an idea and then turn it into tangible form or patentable process. Everything starts as a thought. Including our egos. The less we think our selves into existence, the more brainpower we have available to both problem-solve and exercise creativity.

Here’s a case where a man named Dergin Tokmak chose to see a limitation as an opportunity. By developing incredible, artful, stunningly athletic responses to his creative needs, he has proven that every individual brings their own unique perspectives to every aspect of life.

163 Sun1 Relax and Succeed - The journey of a thousand steps

There is no way to live other than fully. Stop worrying. Dive in. It’s fun.
(PS-The second part is even more amazing than the first part.)

Pretty inspiring, huh?

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organizations locally and around the world.