Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Acknowledging Thoughts and Feelings

Acknowledging thoughts and feelings is an essential part of making changes. Health issues begin to emerge when we supress or ignore the prevailing thoughts and feelings.
That is what this video is all about

Monday, February 22, 2016

Apprehension {22 Feb 2011}

Today marks five years since the February 22nd 2011 Earthquake in Christchurch. For many it is a time when we are still feeling the effects of that fateful day and how that day has continued to influence so much of life. It is a time when feelings of apprehension can arise and steer out thoughts and feelings in ways that we would rather it didn't.

Having not been in Christchurch at the time of the quakes, I cannot begin to understand the level of emotion that must still be felt by many, and yet I feel it may be useful to share a few tools that have helped me regarding apprehension from my own personal experience.  

Many years back on a motorcycle trip from the Coromandel Peninsula I carelessly misjudged a corner and before I knew what was happening I was off my bike and sliding across gravel towards the edge of the mountain pass which terminated all of sudden into a 100 metre drop.

Similar to one of those not quite believable stories, my bike, and then I, came to a stop just before the ‘termination’ moment. The bikes front wheel ended up hanging over the edge of the drop and I lay in the gravel catching my breath thinking that I really need some more motorcycle training.

For many months afterwards there was a feeling of apprehension when riding my motorbike, and sometimes it would come even before I started the engine. The old memory was triggered by a bend in the road, or a bit of gravel that looks familiar to the mountain pass. The apprehension could arise simply by thinking about the ride ahead.

Apprehension is really another signal that there is is potential for a higher degree of caution - thats what we call a ‘reframe’. Similar to feelings that parallel anxiety, apprehension is about the future and wondering what the possibilities and probabilities are for the future, and this can lead to an unnecessary level of fantasising or imagining about all manner of uncomfortable possibilities.

If I feel apprehensive, the chances are I am thinking there is something up ahead that could cause problems or where I could be harmed or where I could feel out of control - or any other possible problem for that matter. I could also feel apprehensive if I really want to do well, or get something right.

The key to defusing the apprehension, if that is what you want to do, is to change the meaning we are giving the feeling that we are experiencing - or reframing those thoughts. Reframing thoughts is a powerful and often surprisingly fast way to change the way we are feeling about anything.

Heres a few to start with.

1. Apprehension is a sign that we are tuned into what is right for us and that we can expect to be using all our resources well in the near future.
     When starting up my Vespa for a trip through the hills, I expect to have to be alert and ready for any eventuality. I expect that I will have access to all my riding skills and resources if and when necessary.

2. Much like excitement, apprehensive feelings are a sign that the body is geared up and ready for action and that we can expect to be prepared.
     Once again, when starting up and preparing to take off, I picture myself at different points of the ride - kind of like ‘benchmarks’ of the trip. 

3. Feelings of apprehension are an amazing way of knowing that I am ‘switched-on’ and alert. That my unconscious processes are alert to all possibilities and that they are indeed worked very well and looking after me.
     Reframing the feelings of apprehension into a resourceful state has the potential to literally transmute those feelings into feelings of excitement. 

If the apprehension is about a specific event or date in the calendar - picturing ourselves after the event and in good health is a nice way to inspire the part of us that is wanting to ‘get there safely’ to dig deep and generate new strategies to make it happen.

Your imagination is an ally and using it fully can become a gift to the heart. Experiment with ideas that you would like to see happening in the future, or more simply, just picture yourself tomorrow night having dinner or brushing your teeth. If you have an event coming up that you have had feelings of apprehension about, change the picture to just afterwards where you can see yourself healthy and well. Start simple and before you know it, you will know that it is you that can take control of your thoughts and experience more good feelings.

Today is a day that may indeed have triggered thoughts and feelings from the past, and as we recognise that these feelings are a deep response and a sign that we are indeed functioning well and do know what is right for us, maybe we can also reframe these feelings so that they mean that we can move forward with grace and personal clarity.