There are times when we can’t make our minds up. Faced with a tough decision, we are torn by the options available.
Should I do this? Or should I do that?
We spend hours spinning round the options and getting nowhere.
We hear competing voices and arguments. It’s like we have several people inside us, jabbering away. It can feel like we are going crazy.
In a recent article (Why You Feel Down and What To Do About It), I made a link between feeling down and not getting our needs met.
To recap, when we don’t get our needs met, we feel a negative emotion. When we do get them met, we feel positive (or at least okay).
As we pass through life, we’ll encounter wise, helpful people.
They touch our life in some way.
Perhaps during a tough time, they helped us see things differently. Or gave some good advice.
They may be a loved one, or a professional, or even a kindly stranger we crossed paths with for a brief moment.
Even when we want change, another part of us can find it scary.
Better the devil you know, and all that.
The good news is that, often, change doesn’t need you to change. Weirdly, change tends to be about doing more of the same.
When we want things to be different, we don’t like how things are. We want something else instead.
Stan Lee was a creative genius. He built entire universes in his head. And he inhabited them with ordinary people who transformed into superheroes.
Take Peter Parker. One minute he was the shy, introvert news reporter.
The next? Spider-Man!
Imagine if you spent your day talking to people who you knew were superheroes.
A few years back, I was on an improv course in London. It was run by the world famous improv theatre group PGraph, from Texas.
They led exercise after exercise where we’d get on stage, and do scenes where everything was okay.
In drama there’s often conflict. But here, they wanted us to play characters who found everything fine.
When I browse through old posts in this blog, I often have a light bulb moment.
“Oh yeah!” I’ll say, as I remember an old strategy that I used to find useful.
I have forgotten my own advice. And when I read it again I recall that it’s super helpful.
There’s a town in Belgium called Geel. For centuries, its residents have opened their homes to people with severe mental health problems.
Over 200 people with mental health difficulties live there. They are in “foster relationships” with local families.
These boarders have good outcomes. Better than at the hospital they would otherwise be in. For instance, they take less medication.
I want to let you in on something. There’s a lot of score draws in therapy.
This approach works, but only as much as that approach.
This philosophy works, but only as much as that one.
This technique works, but only as much as that technique.
Forty years of research says so.
When we get anxious or panicky, our breath changes.
Instead of regular breaths in, and regular breaths out, the rhythm changes.
We take a loooooong breath in, and a tiny breath out. Then we repeat.
Look at someone in real distress. That’s what their breath is doing. Long breath in, tiny breath out. Over and over again. It looks like they may hyperventilate.