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Posts Tagged 'resilience'

How to conquer the destructive force inside human nature

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

 

Do you have a death wish?

Freud claimed we all do. The Death Wish, he said, is a destructive force inside human nature that shows its face whenever we consider a challenging, long-term course of action that might do for us, or others, something that’s actually good.

Others refer to this as resistance. How many do you recognize as true for you?

• Self-sabotage

• Distraction

• Allowing others to sabotage your success

• Something else that stops you moving forward?

“Speak to your darkest: and most negative interior voices the way a hostage negotiator speaks to a violent psychopath. Calmly, but firmly. Most of all, never back down. You cannot afford to back down: The life you are negotiating to save, after all, is your own,” writes Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat. Pray Love, in her book, Big Magic.

The more important taking action becomes to our personal growth and soul’s evolution, the more resistance we can feel toward committing to it. This is why, so often, we know we’d be better off not having that extra drink, but we have it anyway.

The following activities, most commonly create resistance:

• The launching of any new venture

• Any kind of education and learning of new ways of thinking and being

• The pursuit of any life purpose or calling

• Any act that requires devotion or total commitment

• Taking a stand in the face of setbacks or adversity

• Any acts of courage, including the decision to change for the better some negative habit or toxic pattern or thought or behavior in ourselves

 

Take heart—resistance is normal! While you may have your work cut out for you, resistance, rather than being a personal failing, is a normal part of the change process. And you can beat it!

 

Tug of War

Have you ever held two magnets in your hands, holding them close but not touching? You’ll know then, the energy it takes to keep them apart. Resistance works in the same way. To resist is to struggle, or fight against something you are drawn to be or do. Think of it as a war—a war against your heart. A war against yourself.

A magnet creates an invisible area of magnetism all around it called a magnetic field. Your heart is your body’s most powerful magnet. The heart, like the brain, generates a powerful electromagnetic field, McCraty explains in The Energetic Heart. “The heart generates the largest electromagnetic field in the body. The electrical field as measured in an electrocardiogram (ECG) is about 60 times greater in amplitude than the brain waves recorded in an electroencephalogram (EEG).”

Numerous studies by the HeartMath Institute show this powerful electromagnetic field can be detected and measured several feet away from a person’s body and between two individuals in close proximity.

So you’ll appreciate that it takes a tremendous amount of energy to resist what you know in your heart you really desire.

The feeling of resistance reminds me of a young foal called Venus we were looking after on our rural property. Her owner came to take her to a new home where a young girl was happily waiting to care for her.

But Venus didn’t know what the future held. She wanted to stay where she was and with who and what she knew. It was all she would ever know—unless she surrendered and moved to new, fertile pasture and loving home.

I watched as her owner, unable to coax her to move of her own accord, dragged her from the field. Was it fear, a primal instinctive resistance that she found threatening?

Resistance can be traced to its evolutionary roots in genetics. The cure for humankind is to connect with a “higher realm.” To let love, not fear, be your guiding light. This is the place where inspiration, or being in spirit, resides. It’s the purpose and passion zone, and the place where magic and manifestation miracles really do happen.

 

Why are You Resisting?

Now you know that pursuing the best outcomes often meets with the greatest resistance. The things that you feel most scared or apprehensive about are the things that matter most.

Resistance is fueled by fear. It has no strength on its own. Gently accept and acknowledge your fears and then send them on their way and you will conquer resistance. In the previous chapters, you’ve discovered some helpful techniques.

Perhaps like Venus, you find change threatening. Perhaps like my client Richard, a past story—one of hurt and disappointment—keeps replaying in your head. Or you may be like Katherine who has embarked on a journey of sobriety before and failed. She was worried about what the future held.

Failure is not fatal—plenty of people have fallen off their sobriety wagon. But, just like people have fallen off horses, they didn’t let a fall from grace, hold them back from another ride.

Will you have to be dragged kicking and screaming, rather than walk forward with confidence that you are in safe hands and all will be well? Have you forgotten the consequences of denying your path with heart? By resisting change are you suffering in the process, like Venus who tried to make a great escape and leaped the fence, hurting her leg as she fell?

Are you struggling like she did until she no longer had the strength to resist and surrendered? Are you waiting for someone to make the decisions for you until you have no choice but to change?

Perhaps you can relate to my story. When I stopped struggling and quit boozing because I finally got so sick of feeling shitty, tired and afraid. Maybe you don’t want to wait until you’re so fed up and stressed that your health is compromised.

“The enemy is a very good teacher,” says the Dalai Lama. Whatever your situation you’ll find it helpful to clarify your sources of resistance and learn what needs to change. The following resistance quiz will shed some light so that you are better able to navigate the road ahead.

 

The Resistance Quiz

Increase your awareness and prepare to take some empowered steps by taking the following resistance quiz.

How committed to achieving your best life are you? Do you:

1. Know what you want in your heart, and your gut, but resist taking action

2. Spend time doing anything but the thing which inspires you (drinking, watching television, hanging out with toxic friends etc.)

3. Allow your thoughts to be contaminated by fear, doubt, and other negative emotions like anxiety

4. Sabotage opportunities by breaking promises or not following through

5. Want certainty and absolute guarantees before committing to action

6. Opt for the comfort rut and ‘easy fix’ rather than embrace a new challenge

7. Do what’s practical at the expense of what inspires you

8. Let laziness control you, suffocating your aspirations

9. Procrastinate, dither, make excuses and justifications to explain your lack of progress

10. Have a shopping list of reasons why you can’t cut back or stop drinking

11. Consciously try to ignore or repress positive thoughts, feelings or experiences

12. Take a stand against and actively oppose or block people, things, and situations that could help you achieve your dreams

13. Pursue or fight for opportunities that don’t excite you

14. Other

 

Or do you:

1. Know what you want in your heart, and take steps, even small steps to make your dreams a reality

2. Feed your thoughts, and nourish your dreams with love, faith, and clarity

3. Answer the call for change by saying ‘yes’ to opportunities and following through

4. Act, despite uncertainty, and trust that when you do what you love all else will follow

5. Believe and tap into spiritual supply and providence to manifest your desires

6. Want to make yourself proud and live your best life

7. Proactively exercise good self-care and maintain a healthy balance

8. Regularly do what energizes you

9. Whip laziness into shape by taking inspired action

10. Work with a sense of urgency, knowing if not now, when?

11. Do what you love

12. Surround yourself with a vibe-tribe who inspire and support you

13. Pursue or fight for opportunities that do excite you

14. Other

 

Your answers to the above will help boost the necessary self-awareness to embrace positive change and design a plan of inspired action.

 

Overcoming Resistance

To find success the following things are important:

• An overriding sense of your purpose for being here—your authentic calling

• A vision and an idea of the right direction for your work and life

• Consistent action and continually taking steps, i.e. doing what lies before you today, tomorrow, next week…

• A willingness to show up every day with your gifts and talents, often in the face of fear and resistance

 

Begin with The End in Mind

A very powerful strategy to overcome resistance is to begin with the end in mind. Tap into the power of your heart, see your end goal as already accomplished. Allow your body to feel the exact feelings you sense you’ll feel when you have achieved your end goal. They may be, love, excitement, joy, satisfaction, or pride.

Draw a timeline. Mark on it the year and date when you would like your business to go live. Feel that goal as already achieved. Then look along that timeline and note all the steps and things you did to achieve your end goal. Note these on your timeline.

A timeline helps you see and feel the end result before you begin. It’s a powerful and simple way to free up any perceived or real fears and blockages.

I like to think of all my goals as projects including sobriety. And I always like to visualize what it will feel like when I’ve actually finished a project. I don’t want to wait until the project is finished. I want that feeling of achievement and excitement now! I’m also rewarded with a big juicy dopamine hit!

 

Building the Home of Your Dreams

I applied this strategy when I visualized building a house on the back of my old villa in Wellington many years ago. At the time, everyone thought achieving my desire was an impossible dream. Even I knew it was audacious—I was a single working mother with no savings.

But I didn’t let that stop me from throwing my energy into seeing the house built. To feed my desire and overcome resistance I imagined how beautiful my home could be. I felt the evening sun on my face.

I heard the birdsong in the trees. I saw every aspect of what I wanted—the colors, the expanses of glass. I felt the lovely stone bench tops. I tasted the meals I would cook for friends. I fed my motivation to actually build a house from scratch.

To feed my desire, generate ideas, increase clarity and fuel a sense of possibility I created image boards and gathered clippings of what I wanted to manifest.

I also broke the project into manageable chunks to avoid feeling overwhelmed and also to counteract my fears around cost escalations. I sourced my team—builders, architects, and other pros. In short, I began with the end in mind and broke the project into manageable steps and drew up a project plan.

Don’t get me wrong—I am no passionate planner. I am naturally organic and spontaneous. But when the need and the desires arise we are all capable of mastering the skills we need. But first I worked to my preferences and strengths and began creatively.

I like creating projects because they make things seem more manageable. They usually have beginnings and endings, and often tangible concrete results.

Some of my projects have included things like publishing books, building websites, beginning a blog, creating companies and personal brands, generating products, and services, and customers.

As you start to surround yourself with tangible evidence of possibilities and to chart your progress, inspiration, desire, and love build. Suddenly your dreams are no longer dreams but living realities.

Be sure to include completion deadlines—these can flex if need be, but have a date to work towards. Reward yourself each time you complete a milestone; much like builders do when they have the roof shout.

Share your completion deadlines with a supportive cheerleader or nag buddy. This is the reason so many entrepreneurs use business coaches and mentors. Being accountable is motivating.

Unless you start taking action toward sobriety now, unless you’re closer to achieving it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow, your resistance will bury you.

Khalil Gibran said this poignantly when he wrote: “Verily the lust for comfort murders the passion of the soul, and then walks grinning to the funeral.”

Cast off from those safe, but dull shores. Break free of the comfort rut and embrace the most comfortable feeling of all. Being sober! You’ll discover your authentic self and your heart’s desire.

 

What Makes You Happy? Do it!

Revisit your goals and intentions and remind yourself why achieving them is important to you. Revisit your Sobriety Journal and add more inspiration to feed your heart and fuel your dreams.

Crack on and do what it takes to whip resistance into shape. Do more of what makes you happy and less of what no longer fills you with feelings of love. Do this with a sense of urgency before it is too late. Trick yourself if need be by imagining you’ve been told you only have a year to live. Be life—don’t just dream it!

“I am a writer,” proclaims Elisabeth Gilbert, the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love, in her book, Big Magic. “This proclamation of intent and entitlement is not something you can do just once and then expect miracles; it’s something you must do daily, forever.

“I’ve had to keep defining and defending myself as a writer every single day of my adult life—constantly reminding and re-reminding my soul and the cosmos that I’m very serious about the business of creative living, and that I will never stop creating, no matter what the outcome, and no matter how deep my anxieties and insecurities may be.”

 

Wage War on Resistance

I never met Anthony Bourdain, but his death shocked me. It shocks me still. As does the death of Amy Winehouse and other great artists and people who made the world a better place with their devotion to their craft.  I wonder, did Bourdain and Amy harbor death wishes. Did they really want to die?

In Bourdain’s case, John E. Richters, Ph.D. wrote an article entitled, “Anthony Bourdain’s long-burning suicidal wick— in his own words.” In his article, Richters summarises numerous instances where Bourdain referred to hanging himself. Heart-wrenchingly this is exactly the way he ended his life.

“As Bourdain continued to struggle publically with his demons over the years,” writes Richters, “he also became increasingly comfortable with the idea of suicide as a potential exit strategy. He became particularly comfortable with the idea of hanging himself as an option and was especially drawn to the idea of hanging himself in the shower. Sufficiently comfortable that he referred casually and explicitly to killing himself in this way throughout his professional career. Not occasionally, but frequently. A cursory review of his public statements over the years reveals 19 separate occasions— in writing, during interviews, and on camera—on which he refers to suicide by hanging. On the vast majority of these occasions he refers explicitly to hanging himself in the shower, on 1 occasion more specifically to hanging himself in the shower of his hotel room, and on 1 occasion even more specifically to hanging himself in the shower stall of his lonely hotel room.”

Bourdain was very transparent about his battles with addiction. It remains unclear if he had been drinking the night he ended his life, but what is clear is that he had embraced a comfort rut of the worst kind—becoming comfortable with suicide as an exit strategy.

A great many people have contemplated suicide.I have. Many people close to me have. Tragically, some have succeeded. Most often suicidal thoughts and intentions occur during or following periods of extreme stress. Everything seems out of balance. It’s easy to give into despair. Easy to try and kill our pain by anesthetizing with alcohol or drugs to try and numb the unbearable hurt. But this numbing only serves to silence our will to live, to block out our faith and hope that we can get through the worst of times, and the belief that tomorrow will be a better day.

 No one is immune to suicide. Even Bourdain’s mother said her son was the last person she thought would commit suicide.

According to Dr. Anne Schuchat, Deputy Director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “depression is not a condition that’s related to success or failure.” Depression is not a disease. It’s a feeling. A very heavy feeling that is sometimes hard to shift. But shift it does. Sometimes quickly. Sometimes it seems to last forever. But there is always, always a cure.

People like me, and those I know who have contemplated suicide, have found the will to live or reached out for support, or by some divine stroke of lucky intervention have been saved, have found purpose and sometimes joy, despite our wounds. In my case, as perhaps it was Bourdain’s (and certainly was Amy Winehouse’s) a relationship meltdown, accompanied by far too much alcohol, was the catalyst that led me to contemplate ending my life. 

No relationship is worth ending your life for. None. Bouncing back from destructive relationships brings with it much-needed healing. Reach out for support, you can and will find love again.

Boost your immunity—wage war on the resistance to live another day.  Commit to your soul’s evolution. Accept yourself as you are, the good and what you may perceive, or what others may tell you, are the not so good parts.

Bourdain, for example, was told that he was a narcissist. He later referred to himself as one, and said that nothing could be down. He wore his label with guilt and shame, yet what if he’d embraced that part of him, made friends with it, accepted it—or shunned it as just not true? Would he still be walking amongst us, delighting us with his journeys into “Parts Unknown,”  uniting cultures through food? Instead, depression claimed another beautiful soul.

Depression is often your spirit’s way of telling you something needs to change. That there is something within you that needs to grow. To grow you may need to let somethings, or some people, go. The more you resist, the more you try and mask the symptoms, the more prolonged your pain. Popping pills, or downing more jugs of booze, may often short-term respite, but never a long-term cure.

“Consider this single fact: According to the U.S. National Institute of Health, 11% of Americans over the age of 12 are on antidepressant drugs! And 1 in 4 women in their 40 and 50s are also on antidepressant medication. If you don’t believe this doesn’t indicate deep societal problems, you’d better start smoking marijuana. We are a mentally sick pill-infected nation,” writes Dr. W. Gifford-Jones, in an article about Anthony Bourdain’s death, ‘Why did Anthony Bourdain commit suicide?’

“It’s also ironic that antidepressant side-effects have been linked to sleep disturbance, brain damage and suicide. The other irony is that there is little evidence they benefit patients suffering from mild to moderate depression. And that in 80% of cases, they work no better than a placebo sugar pill,” says Gifford-Jones.

Could medical treatment have saved Bourdain’s life?

“Maybe,” says Gifford-Jones, “but I doubt it. If this were possible, Ernest Hemingway, a famous author, and Philip Graham, owner of the Washington Post newspaper, both treated at a famous clinic, would still be alive. Great wealth and expensive care cannot heal a brain that’s dedicated to eventual self-destruction.” 

That doesn’t mean we should ever give up hope. We can dedicate our lives to self-preservation, and there are a great many interventions, many holistic, some of which I have shared above that can re-engineer our brains, breathe life into our battle-weary hearts, and rejuvenate our souls. The most important thing is to fire up your warrior spirit and battle those demons that drive you to despair.

And while you’re at it, lay off the booze. As I’ve already discussed, alcohol abuse and excessive drinking is a major cause of anxiety and depression, impairs mental reasoning and critical thinking—increasing the likelihood of making tragic and often impulsive choices. The risk of suicide increases for many people who turn to drink.

 

 

If a person claims to be a burden, talks about suicide, has increased anxiety, increased alcohol or drug use, sleeps too much, expresses hopelessness, or withdraws from activities, suicidal thoughts should be suspected.  Take it seriously and encourage them to seek help.

WHERE TO GET HELP

Below are some support services in New Zealand.

Lifeline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 354

Depression Helpline (open 24/7) – 0800 111 757

Healthline (open 24/7) – 0800 611 116

Samaritans (open 24/7) – 0800 726 666

Suicide Crisis Helpline (open 24/7) – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO). This is a service for people who may be thinking about suicide, or those who are concerned about family or friends.

Youthline (open 24/7) – 0800 376 633. You can also text 234 for free between 8am and midnight, or email talk@youthline.co.nz

0800 WHATSUP children’s helpline – phone 0800 9428 787 between 1pm and 10pm on weekdays and from 3pm to 10pm on weekends. Online chat is available from 7pm to 10pm every day.

Kidsline (open 24/7) – 0800 543 754. This service is for children aged 5 to 18. Those who ring between 4pm and 9pm on weekdays will speak to a Kidsline buddy. These are specially trained teenage telephone counsellors.

Your local Rural Support Trust – 0800 787 254 (0800 RURAL HELP)

Alcohol Drug Help (open 24/7) – 0800 787 797. You can also text 8691 for free.

For further information, contact the Mental Health Foundation‘s free Resource and Information Service (09 623 4812).

 

To learn more about my wellness-therapies, including how QTC can help you achieve rapid, lasting, transformational change click here >>

This is an edited extract of Cassandra Gaisford’s new book Mind Your Drink: The Surprising Joy of Sobriety (Control Alcohol, Discover Freedom, Find Happiness and Change Your Life), available in print and eBook from all good bookstores, including:

Amazon: getbook.at/MindYourDrink

Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Nook and iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/bQBLj0

Or direct from the author  http://www.cassandragaisford.com/product/mind-your-drink-the-surprising-joy-of-sobriety

 

NOTES:

You can read John E. Richters article about Anthony Bourdain here https://drive.google.com/file/d/1c25xJS6S-XvS8CXagIeQsg5D755vaWoW/view

 

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones’s article can be read in full here: https://torontosun.com/life/relationships/why-did-anthony-bourdain-commit-suicide

Powerful Creativity: How Making Room For Hobbies is The Ultimate Cure For Addiction, Stress, Anxiety, Depression and More

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Very few happy, healthy people are naturally born this way. Dig into their pasts and you will find that they have cultivated optimism by learning and applying techniques that help them transcend negativity and keep it at bay.

Throughout my book Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy I share a wide variety of ways to overcome adversity, build resilience and find joy. Regular exercise, good diet, relaxation exercises, and rest are a few of the many techniques covered. Holistic and self-empowered strategies to feed your soul and achieve your highest potential also including following your passion, engaging in activities you love and ways to bounce back from setbacks are also included.

As several reviewers noted:

“Loved the fact it is an easy read and is so incredibly comprehensive in its spectrum of tools covered: eastern and western/physical and psychological/science and esoteric. It’s hard to find books that capture this in one space–a comprehensive manual containing a tasting platter of techniques.”

~ Tina Drummond, Health and Safety Consultant, Wellness Motivator

“Cassandra has mastered the art of speaking in clear and simple terms and has presented Bounce as an easy to read, concise—yet completely comprehensive guide to overcoming all the obstacles that stand between yourself and your passion. She has taken a truly holistic approach and leaves no stone unturned. She lays out all the facets of overcoming your obstacles in a no-nonsense fashion and covers everything … Mind, body and soul … the physical, the spiritual, and the scientific. She evens touches on topics that may be considered ‘airy-fairy’ with believable and inspiring confidence.

 While Bounce is a concise presentation, do not be fooled by its quick two-hour read, it is incredibly comprehensive astoundingly holistic—and effective.”

~ Niki Firth, Amazon Review

Listed below are some helpful reminders of some of the many holistic coping strategies you’ll find in Bounce that you can call upon during times of current or anticipated need.

Physical

• Learn to listen to your body       

• Adequate exercise                 

• Physical touch/massage          

• Muscle relaxation         

• Sleep     

• Warmth

• Relaxation breathing                

• A healthy diet, i.e. reducing stimulants (coffee, nicotine etc.), increasing water, and eating organic non-processed foods

• Yoga

 

Behavioral

• Balanced lifestyle        

• Support groups / Counseling          

• Sharing with friends and family

• Humor        

• New interests / activities      

• Hobbies        

• Socializing

• Entertaining          

• Taking time out       

• Music / dancing / singing/creative expression    

• Meditating

• Yoga

• Being proactive and taking control of the situation

• Change careers

• Reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption

• Making time to do nothing at all

 

Cognitive / Perceptual (thinking)

• Rational thinking techniques to help change the way you interpret the stressful situation

• Positive thinking/cultivating optimism      

• Self-assertion training      

• Personal development

• Building self-esteem      

• Realistic goal planning      

• Time management

• Learning to say “No”       

• Priority clarification      

• Reflection

• Mindfulness

• Acceptance

• Hypnosis

 

Emotional

• Releasing emotions and expressing feelings (laugh, talk, cry, write in a journal, paint etc.)

• Learning how to “switch off”

• Taking time out          

• Solitude and space           

• Intimacy

• Counseling and support

• Challenging your emotional reactions to situations

• Passion/Joy

 

Social

• Scheduling time to spend with important people in your life

• Making plans with friends, family and loved ones in advance

• Sharing your experiences of stress with certain people in your life, especially letting them know the ways that stress has been affecting you, so they understand

• Practicing assertive communication within your significant relationships to decrease conflicts, while also continuing to find ways to show people around you that they are important

 

Spiritual

• Prayer and mediation—scheduling regular time

• Helping others (talking, writing, supporting)

• Reiki and other energy healing techniques

• Talking with a spiritual confidant or leader to explain any spiritual issues or doubts that you may have encountered

• Forgiveness (of self or others)

• Compassion / loving kindness

• Continuing to read and learn about your faith, belief or value system

• Connecting with others who share your beliefs

 

 

The above list is by no means exhaustive; however, you may note a reoccurring theme—the power of creativity.  Many people have that that making room for hobbies is the ultimate cure for addiction, stress, anxiety, depression and more.

Recently, after experiencing a tsunami of stress I realized my hobbies had been horribly neglected. But not anymore! What looked like a horrible situation of having to leave our home during renovations turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The accommodation we rented was owned by a wonderful lady and talented artist and jewelry designer.

I’m not sure how Anna Hamilton discovered that many years ago I had painted and exhibited my art but she quickly asked if I would be interested in exhibiting alongside her during the upcoming Koast Art Trail in The Bay of Islands—http://koast.org.nz/koast-artists-jewellers-potters-kerikeri/.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t say yes straight away. I hadn’t painted for years. “When was I possibly going to kind time to create? And where?” Everything was in storage. Nothing was organized. Everything was chaotic.

But Anna was persistent and persuasive. And my weary soul began to sing. I began to feel excited. I felt encouraged, excited…and Koast was still some few months off.

“Yes, “ I said. “I will do this,” I agreed, feeling a bit of fear and deciding to act anyway.

And then Anna asked if I had any paintings to share in her gallery?

And now I have three paintings hanging in her beautiful gallery. And I feel so excited. And all that stress and tiredness has floated away. And most exciting of all, I’m looking forward to creating a new body of work for the Koast exhibition in October.

 

 

 

 

So what is it about creativity? Why is it such a potent tool of healing?

It’s not easy to overcome many of the things that hold you back. But you can do it—if you’re willing to be strong and fight for your dreams. Within many of us lies an innate seam of strength, which, when mined skilfully, will produce an endless source of pure gold. Part of this strength is our ability to create infinite joy—and creativity fuels that.

As Buddha once said, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.”

When you follow your bliss, do things you enjoy, seize the reins of control and take responsibility, you will empower your life, your joy, and your health.

 

Jumping with Joy

Joy has phenomenal energy and incredible versatility. In The Book of Joy the Dalai Lama shares that Paul Ekman, a longtime friend, and famed emotions researcher, has written that joy is associated with feelings as varied as:

• Pleasure (of the five senses)

• Amusement (from a chuckle to a belly laugh)

• Contentment (a calmer kind of satisfaction)

• Excitement (in response to novelty or challenge)

• Relief (following upon another emotion, such as fear, anxiety, and even pleasure)

• Wonder (before something astonishing and admirable)

• Ecstasy or bliss (transporting us outside ourselves)

• Exultation (at having accomplished a difficult or daring task)

• Radiant pride (when our children earn a special honor)

• Elevation (from having witnessed an act of kindness, generosity, or compassion)

• Gratitude (the appreciation of a selfless act of which one is the beneficiary)

 

Buddhist scholar and former scientist Matthieu Ricard has added three other more exalted states of joy: rejoicing (in someone else’s happiness, what Buddhists call mudita) delight or enchantment (a shining kind of contentment) spiritual radiance (a serene joy born from deep well-being and benevolence).

When you tap into your joy, you tap into an unlimited reservoir of energy and enthusiasm.

The French take it further—of course! Jouissance, literally means orgasmic joy. It’s derived from the word from jouir (“to enjoy”). Jouissance is to enjoy something a lot!

One of my favorite creativity experts Mihaly Czikszentmihaly, refers to this as a state of  “flow.”

In a popular YouTube talk, he asks, “What makes a life worth living? Money cannot make us happy,” he says. Instead, he urges us to learn from people who find pleasure and lasting satisfaction in activities that bring about this state of transcendent flow.

Many years ago I held an exhibition of the paintings I did after I participated in a Sumi Ink workshop in Maui with Max Gimblett. Our exhibition was held in Wellington, New Zealand with two other artists. We named the exhibition, Joy’ance. (One of the artists didn’t like the association with ‘orgasmic!)

 

 

Gosh, it was fun! And best of all I received wonderful feedback:

“Beautiful images for a dreary day”

“What a warm surprise: joyful! Thanks for an uplifting visit amongst this wonderful art!”

“Great to see and feel the enterprise and the energy.”

“Inspiring” 

“This has really made my day. I’m quite cynical—but you have achieved what I would expect from something like this (my sumi_e ink Gimblett inspired works). They are so beautiful and simple Their simplicity inspired so much emotion”

“Wonderful art in a wonderful city”

“What a surprise! Joyful! Thanks for an uplifting visit amongst this wonderful art.”

“Thank you, beautiful artwork! Love the bright colors – you have brightened up a dark, gloomy day.”

 

Find something that sparks joy and keep hugely interested in it by feeding and nurturing your jouissance every day.

It’s what I’m doing now—by planning my exhibition, reading books about art, and following some of my favorite artists. I don’t necessarily need to make my living from my art, but I do need to make room for creativity in my life. Do you?

This is an edited extract from Bounce: Overcoming Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Cassandra Gaisford

If you’re interested in reading more about how to boost your happiness and, overcome obstacles and elevate your success read the book here—myBook.to/Bounce.

 

For more tips to lift your spirits during times of adversity grab your free tip sheet

If you loved this post you may like to check out Justin Raj’s Journey to Joyful Sobriety

http://www.cassandragaisford.com/true-stories-your-beautiful-mind-control-alcohol-discover-freedom-find-happiness-and-change-your-life-justin-rajs-journey-to-joyful-sobriety/

Stress less—love life more. How to build real resilience

Saturday, August 19th, 2017

 

 

“He who is of a calm and happy nature will hardly feel the
pressure of age.” ~ Plato

 

Have you been unhappy at work for so long that some of the symptoms of stress, such as feelings of depression, anxiety or even anger, are really entrenched?

Or is the idea of making a change causing you to feel anxious? Whatever your current situation there is no doubt that managing stress is a key component of making effective career decisions.

Stress is something we all feel every day. It isn’t something that only happens when we’re under particular pressure. Some mild stress is good for you. It gives you a feeling of excitement and makes you want to strive to do better. It reminds you that you’re alive, and it can help you thrive.

But too much stress can do the opposite. Stress overload can make you feel overwhelmed and empty, devoid of enthusiasm; or worse, of a will to live.

Negative thoughts and feelings are a classic sign of too much stress. It’s hard to feel hopeful about the future when you are feeling down, overwhelmed or anxious.

So it’s not surprising that it can be hard to believe in yourself or to remember the things that make you happy. More often than not, during times of strain, your self-esteem and confidence can take an awful hit.

Biologically we’re incapable of sustaining prolonged levels of stress, no matter how great our will.  If you don’t address your stress, your body’s adaptive resources can become exhausted – making you sick. Too much stress can give you chronic headaches, affect your blood pressure, contribute to depression and cause ulcers and heart disease.

Thankfully there are simple but powerful strategies at hand to help you avoid too much ‘bad’ stress, so you don’t become ill, anxious or depressed during the change process.

And who knows, maybe once you have your stress levels back in check, or have found ways to proactively remove the sources of stress in either your work or private life, you may end up falling back in love with a job that you’d come to hate.

 

Heed The Early Warning Signs

According to a definition from The New Zealand Department of  Occupational Safety and Health (OSH), stress is a reaction to the excess pressures you face in your life and arises when you feel you can’t cope.

This feeling of not being able to cope is an important point I will come back to, but one of the key things to remember is that worrying about not coping, even if it is not actively voiced, triggers the promotion of stress messages in your brain.

You may be so busy trying to juggle everything that you are unaware of how much strain you are under. Like Roger, who hates his career so much he says he hates his life. Or Jan, who can’t relax, and is so busy being busy that she can’t remember the last time she felt real joy.

 

The Biology Of Stress

When your life lacks balance this leads to a state of brain chemical imbalance known as – OVER STRESS. These negative brain messages then flow to other organs in your body sending them into overdrive and a high state of alert.

People who are overstressed complain of being tired but unable to fall asleep or enjoy a restful night’s sleep. They have plagues of aches and pains, lack of energy,  and can’t remember what makes them feel truly happy. They feel depressed, anxious, tearful, snappy and irritable or just unable to cope with life.

Many people soldier on ignoring the signs their body is giving them. Some live to tell their stories and the lessons they learned. As I’ve already said, I was so stressed and unhappy at work I got shingles. Others aren’t so ‘lucky.’ One of my colleagues suffered a heart attack and later died.

Stress is an invisible killer, and the underlying cause of mental illness, depression, and suicide. It’s that serious – no wonder the onus on employers to help employees manage stress has been written into health and safety legislation. But don’t rely on anyone else to be proactive about your well-being. 

 

Listen To Your Body Barometer

The key to managing stress successfully is to heed the early warning signs. By nipping your stressors in the bud before they go to seed, you will avoid wreaking havoc with your body, mind, and spirit.

You’ll also avoid derailing your career and damaging your relationships. Increasing your coping skills can also be a wonder cure for dissatisfaction with your work or your life.

This is an edited extract from Mid-Life Career Rescue: (The Call For Change): How to confidently leave a job you hate, and start living a life you  love, before it’s too late

by Cassandra Gaisford. To purchase your copy and learn how to follow your passion to prosperity, click here to go to your online bookshop.

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