From March 2013, to January 2014, I spent close to a year suffering from constant stomach-ache. I was tested in all kinds of medical ways: tubes down my throat, analyses of all types, and never-ending bland diets, buuut . . . no results. The pain continued. I was desperate, and was completely convinced that something was seriously wrong with my stomach.
I ended up moving to America, and as if by magic (despite the fact that my diet was so much worse), my pain vanished! No more stomach-ache, no more bland-diets, no more tests. It took me a year to discover that my stomach problems were just a side effect of a much deeper problem: Chronic Anxiety.
My experience taught me an important lesson: MIND AND BODY ARE INTERCONNECTED.
When your body is ill, your mind can be affected.
When your mind is ill, your body can be affected.
For years, like many people, I thought of health as a mainly physical thing! Although I have always had an interest in psychology… In the beginning, I didn’t associate mental wellbeing with health. For me, looking after my brain was more of a luxury and not a very necessary one! That perception changed quickly. I soon realised that exercising and eating well was not enough to feel good! When I was sad or angry I used to feel as bad as when having a head or stomach ache. In fact, both were often linked!
Today I am going to share an equation that is the sum of all the processes I have done over the years in order to feel healthier DAILY!
THE POSITIVE EQUATION
Emotion + Thought (x Belief) = Feeling ? Behaviour
Let’s Solve this equation step by step…
Did you know that your emotions are neutral? They are neither good nor bad. They are simply information that our body sends us. I think of E-motions as Energy in Motion!
For instance, let’s look at anger; an emotion that everyone thinks of as negative. Imagine you feel angry every morning, as you often miss breakfast in order to drag yourself into work on time. The anger itself isn’t doing any harm (it’s what you do with it after that can cause problems) and in fact, it is a signal, it is giving you important information about two things: 1. Breakfast is important to you so maybe it is worth waking up earlier, 2. You might not be happy at your current work position.
When you receive this information:
- 1.You could react to the emotion by becoming violent or subdued in the face of the unpleasant situation.
- 2. Or you could take some responsibility, setting new boundaries to yourself, like an earlier morning alarm, and you could become assertive and honest about your job, and make a plan to change your current situation for the better.
Do you think you would feel bad in both cases or only in the first one?
As we have seen, emotions are neutral. They become good or bad when we link thoughts to them. Thoughts can be positive and negative, but merely thinking positively is not enough to solve the equation and feel good. Why?
Important news…. Small daily thoughts are based on something much bigger: BELIEFS.
Beliefs are ideas that we have internalised as truth.
Some of our beliefs, especially ones we adopted in childhood, have been with us for so long that they almost define us as people. We think and we behave according to what we believe. There are some beliefs that serve us and other ones that stop us, so what can we do with the beliefs which are preventing us from living life on our terms? (If you want to learn more about how to live life on your terms you can read: ‘Life without Instructions, Life on Your Terms’)
So, when it comes to reacting to our emotions, changing our thoughts is a good start, but it’s not enough. Imagine an artist who needs some green paint for a picture, but only has a pot of yellow paint. When we change our thoughts, it’s like the artist adding a bit of blue to the yellow to make green. It works, but when he adds more paint from the pot, it goes back to yellow. Changing the belief is much more powerful, it’s like the artist changing his pot of yellow paint for a green pot that is the colour he needs.
Good news… You can change your beliefs!
- As always; Awareness. Identifying your beliefs is key. You can’t change what you don’t know.
- Question your beliefs (one at a time), ask yourself the following questions: Does this belief serve me or stop me? When did I start believing this? Where is the proof that this is true?
- Once these questions are answered, ask the most important question: Why did I create this belief in the first place. We developed all our beliefs for a reason, find out what that reason is. (eg. to protect you)
- For each belief that is holding you back, create an imaginary belief that you don’t hold yet, but that could serve you. The key for this to work is to create a substituting belief that fulfils the same function as the old one: In this case, to protect you. Practice acting as if you already held this belief and repeat it to yourself constantly.
Behaviours: Act as you want to feel
Transforming your beliefs is a process that takes time, managing your emotions and thoughts takes time too. You won’t master this positive equation overnight; it will take time. However, while you do all this process there is something that you can start to do today.
ACT AS YOU WANT TO FEEL.
Feelings are the sum of your emotions and thoughts, but they also influence your behaviours and vice versa; your behaviours influence your feelings.
We act according to how we feel (the emotional sensations that we perceive and the thoughts and beliefs that we hold)
What about flipping this, and changing the way we act in order to change the way we feel?
If you are insecure, your posture will probably show this, low head, crossed arms… You may tend to avoid socialising. What about this?
It is easier to change your body language and your plans than it is to change your feeling of insecurity.
Find a social event that you will enjoy, a Meetup, sports club, class, etc. And as always, take small steps, you don’t need to fly through the door with jazz hands and be the life and soul of the party, take it slow, bring a friend for support if you like. When you arrive, imagine how a self-confident person would act in this circumstance and do the same! Open your arms and lift your head, smile, and play the role of a person who is feeling really secure. If you would like to learn more about The Power of Language you can read: ‘The Power of Language: Express Yourself as You Want to Feel’
Warning: Solving this equation may lead to the feel-good life you have always desired!
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Love and Satisfaction,