Posted by Jill Whalen | Posted in Psychology, Relationships, Thought | Posted on 06-15-2016
Tags: 3 Principles, Anxiety, Forgiveness, Wellbeing
[Jill’s Note: If you prefer to listen rather than read, please scroll to the bottom of this post for the audio version.]
I was recently at a seminar about mental wellbeing facilitated by Dr. Bill Pettit and his wife, Dr. Linda Pettit. They are a psychiatrist and psychologist with many decades of clinical experience. What makes them and this seminar interesting, however, was rather than focusing on the mental illnesses and diagnoses of what’s wrong, they are more interested in the opposite. That is, the innate wellbeing inside each of their patients. From the schizophrenic to the bipolar, to the average couple having marital problems, this pair of Docs (paradox!) are able to see right past all of that. They zero in on the natural mental health that resides deep within their patients (and all of us).
For their clients, having someone (especially one in a position of authority) who doesn’t think they’re broken, is nothing short of amazing! That alone often has the power to start them on the road to recovery.
It’s no different for any of us.
Whether we are a “normal” person who often feels crazy, or a manic-depressive, or even someone in a catatonic state–deep down inside of us, we’re all the same. Wellbeing resides there, underneath any perceived craziness. If/when we start to Know this, our psychological symptoms start to lose their hold on us–and in some cases–disappear altogether.
To me, there’s so much hope in this, not only for those diagnosed as mentally ill, but for the average person on the street who’s stressed out, burned out, depressed, anxious, lonely and what have you. So much hope for me and so much hope for you.
Because let’s face it, we’re all a little bit (at least) crazy on the inside.
This is fairly evident when we lose our shit over the tiniest of things. Our day didn’t go as planned. Our co-worker did that thing she always does that pisses us off. Our spouse seems to be ignoring us. Our kids are being rude. Someone in the supermarket gave us a disapproving look.
And on and on it goes.
It seems that we don’t have to look too far to find something that seems to upset our peace.
And yet. And yet. And yet…
What if I told you that our peace really can’t be upset by those things happening in the outside world? Before you stop reading because you think I’ve finally lost it, hear me out. I’ll try and explain what I mean logically.
First it’s important to see that there’s mental wellbeing or what we might also refer to as “peace” inside of all of us. I realize that in our crazy, stressed out world it may not feel that way much of the time. But it’s really true. Our mind is sort of like a snow globe. It gets all shaken up when we are experiencing what we perceive as “the bad stuff of life.” That snow in the globe is like our thoughts–all stirred up and kinda crazy. But at some point when we stop shaking it and let it settle, like the snow in the globe our minds/thoughts do generally settle down as well.
You can see this for yourself when something bad happens.
Have you ever noticed how when we’re right in the middle of it (let’s call it a “thought storm”) it feels like whatever is happening is the worst thing ever and it’s never going to stop? And yet, most of those bad things do eventually pass, or we get used to them and have a new normal. But the key point here is that the thought storm aspect of it always settles down if we let it.
Problems arise, however, when we act when in the middle of one of these storms. Just like if we go out and drive in the middle of a blizzard we’re increasing our chances of getting into trouble, it’s the same with our thought storms. While we’re in the midst of it, it feels like something most definitely needs to be done to rectify the situation. We can’t let those others get away with whatever it is we feel they did. And if we go ahead and act from our stormy state, chances are we’re in for some slipping and sliding and sometimes even sadness.
Our stormy state isn’t coming from clarity.
It’s coming from fear. A clear head comes when the snow has settled. The more we can let it settle, the more we’ll know what to do in any given situation. Did the lady who gave us a weird look in the supermarket really need us to say, “What are YOU looking at?” Or did our coworker really need that sarcastic remark about them getting up on the wrong side of the bed? Because those actions came out of the thought storm rather than a clear mind, it’s highly likely they didn’t go over well.
So your next question is probably: “How are we supposed to settle our crazy heads when the shit hits the fan?”
How do you settle the snowglobe?
You can try all sorts of ways of moving it, but that’s not going to work. It’s simply a matter of putting it down and letting it settle all by itself. And it’s the same with our minds. If we can have the fortitude not to act in the middle of the blizzard and simply wait for our minds to settle–as they have done every single time we’ve been in similar situations–we’ll be good to go.
Then, with a clear, less reactive head, good ideas will come to us about how to handle things. It might be that nothing needs to be done as the situation has simply melted away. Or it might be that a conversation with someone is necessary. But whatever it is, the fact that it’s coming from a clearer state of mind, will give it more credibility in the eyes of others, and there’s much more chance of things working out more positively than they may have otherwise.
Make sense? Let me know below!
Prefer listening? Click the green arrow below!