How Deep Relaxation Can Transform Your Life

There is a zone of relaxation where the mind is at its most powerful, intuitive and creative. This is the ‘Alpha State’, where the two halves of the brain are in balance. Being able to reach this restful, deeply relaxed state is a life enhancing skill, because the mind works best when you’re cool and calm. And it’s easily learned.

Deep relaxation is a state of calmness which allows the mind to idle and drift. It is a profound state of calmness in which all physical and mental tension is released.

Regular deep relaxation brings about a state of enhanced harmony in your daily life. Benefits include:

Greater peace of mind and mental calm

Improved health, greater vitality

More economical and productive use of energy

Protection against stress and stress related disease

Enhanced intuitive and creative abilities

More rapid healing and pain relief

Improved digestion and lower blood pressure

More refreshing and satisfying sleep

Better concentration

Improved ability to handle important occasions

With daily practice, deep relaxation also improves relationships. It’s easier to get on with others when you are relaxed and it’s easier to get on with yourself too). It also enhances self-awareness and self-esteem.

Young children have no problem relaxing, but it seems that most of us lose this ability as we mature. We become more tense, and tension may disrupt our social and working lives, sexual activity, digestion, sleep and brain-body coordination. It can also result in a variety of fears and phobias.

Deep relaxation can help relieve all these problems. Many people with chronic health problems benefit enormously. For instance, Alain suffered from severe stomach cramps and a nauseous feeling for years. Doctors had no idea what was causing it, but within two weeks of learning and practising deep relaxation twice-daily the pains were much reduced, and after six weeks, they’d gone altogether.

Calm

Practical Ways To Relax

Try this:

Sit up straight in a chair with your back and neck supported. Place both feet on the floor, legs uncrossed, hands resting comfortably in your lap. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and let it out slowly.

Take another deep breath. Hold it for a few moments, then slowly exhale. Allow yourself to be completely relaxed and comfortable.

Once more, take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment and slowly let it out. Relax.

Now simply sit in silence, breathing slowly, for five minutes without moving any part of your body. Concentrate on being quiet, still, peaceful and relaxed. Then open your eyes.

Always start by finding a time and place where you will not be disturbed. Don’t attempt it if you  need to pay attention to what you’re doing.

If you want to have music quietly in the background choose something slow and calming, such as gentle classical music or specially composed relaxation music. You’ll find it seems much louder once you’re relaxed.

A relaxation session comprises four stages – induction, deepening, autosuggestion/imagery, and termination. Don’t rush your relaxation sessions, and don’t worry about whether you are succeeding or not; this is counter-productive.

Induction

Start by picking a spot on a wall or ceiling and focusing your gaze on it. When your eyes start to tire, count five deep breaths backwards. When you get to one, your eyes will be closed.

Next, focus on your breathing: allow yourself to relax a little more on each out-breath. If your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the breath.

Then select one of the following:

  • Sigh breath: take a very deep breath. Release it suddenly, sounding a prolonged ‘aaah’ as you do so. Allow a wave of relaxation to sweep down your body. This is excellent for relaxing very quickly.
  • Three deep breaths: take a very deep breath. Fill your chest and lungs completely (but not so as it becomes uncomfortable). Hold for a count of four, then slowly release. Do this three times. Think the word ‘calm’ or ‘relax’ as you exhale. Increase the count to six, eight or ten as you become more practised.
  • Imagine a cloud of peace and calmness filling your body as you breathe in. When you breathe out, imagine it taking with it all stress and tension. If you like, imagine the cloud having a soothing colour of your choice.

Deepening the relaxation

Next, take your attention to different parts of the body/groups of muscles in turn and consciously relax them. (This is called ‘progressive’ relaxation.)

Relax your toes and feet

Relax your calves and ankles

Relax your knees and thighs

Relax your buttocks

Relax your stomach muscles and solar plexus

Relax your back and spine

Relax your chest

Relax your neck and shoulders

Relax your upper arms

Relax your lower arms and wrists

Relax your hands and fingers

Relax your eyes and face

Now try one or two of the following techniques. Everyone has their own style of relaxation, so choose those which work best for you:

  • Rag doll: Imagine your body as a rag doll, limp and floppy, muscles soft, loose and without tension.
  • Count down: Slowly count down from ten or twenty to one on each out breath. Imagine yourself descending a flight of steps, a lift or escalator one level at a time, letting go a little more with each step or level.
  • Affirmation: When you are deeply relaxed, slowly repeat the following affirmation:  ‘I relax easily, quickly and deeply. Each time I relax, I go deeper and deeper. I am at peace.’
  • Relaxing place: imagine that you are somewhere tranquil such as a garden, beach or special sanctuary. Images and sounds of water can be very soothing. So can imagining the feeling on the warm sun on your face and body.

Once relaxed, create visual images, sounds and feelings and repeat the affirmations that will help you to get what you want from the session.

Triggers

You can easily create a trigger or ‘anchor’ to help you to relax at will. This is how:

When in deep state, gently put the thumb and fingers of your dominant hand together and whisper the word ‘Alpha’. Then silently affirm, ’Whenever I put my thumb and fingers together and say ‘Alpha’, I will instantly and easily relax deeply.’

Within a few days, with practice, whenever you close your eyes, put your thumb and fingers together and whisper ‘Alpha’, you will feel yourself easily drifting down into relaxation.

My mentor became so proficient at this he was able to go deep into Alpha in seconds while leaning on a traffic barrier in London’s Piccadilly Circus. If it can work there, it can work anywhere!

Termination

To finish, first affirm that beneficial changes have taken place in the unconscious as a result of the session and affirm that you are using your deepest inner resources to bring about the changes in thinking, attitudes and behaviour that you desire.

Then, if you are relaxing during the day, count slowly from one to five and open your eyes. Wiggle your hands, shrug your shoulders and move your feet. Tell yourself you’re fully alert, and when you are ready, resume your normal activities.

Alternatively, if it’s last thing at night and you wish to go to sleep, simply drift off (telling yourself that you will wake refreshed and re-energised in the morning).

Conclusion

Relaxation has many proven benefits – studies carried out by leading doctors and psychologists show that this is not in doubt. It is a skill easily acquired through practice. If you find it hard to begin with, don’t worry, just persist. Most of the early problems you encounter will soon disappear, and you’ll quickly find you feel better, happier, more content and more peaceful.

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.10.2018

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Taking Charge of Your Life

Before we can take charge of our lives, we must acknowledge some basic truths:

Everything we are is the result of ‘causes’ laid down in the past; what we will become will result from what we are now and from ‘causes’ still to be laid down. This is the universal Law of Cause and Effect.

These ‘causes’ are primarily our own thoughts, imaginings, words and actions. If we ‘sow’ the right ‘seeds’ from now on, we change, and consequently our life circumstances change too, irrespective of what has gone before.

We are in charge of what we think, believe, imagine, feel, say and do. Once we acknowledge this, we know we always have choices, and we can use this power once we know how to use certain life transforming tools and techniques.

  •  It’s not what happens out there in the world that shapes our lives, but what happens in here between our ears! This is not what most of us were taught as children, but it’s true. We cannot alter our genetic make up, nor can we go back and change out early programming and conditioning. But for most of us of sound mind, our thinking is within our control.

We can choose what we think about.
We can choose where we allow our imagination to go.
We can choose what we think, say and do in response to what happens around us.

In other words, we can consciously lay down the ‘causes’ that create our future lives and then watch and enjoy the results unfold. Indeed, we are doing it all the time whether we are aware of it or not. So learn to become aware of what you think, say and do in every moment and how it impacts on your circumstances.

Since your thoughts are the prime causes, take responsibility for your thoughts, and you literally take charge of your life.

Once you know this, the door to the best possible future is wide open. Only an idiot believes that thinking, feeling and doing what you’ve always done will bring different results!

That’s why Dr Napolean Hill, author of ‘Think and Grow Rich’, the most influential book on happiness and success ever written, said:

‘The vast majority of people are born, grow up, struggle, and go through life in misery and failure, not recognising that it would be just as easy to switch over and get out of life exactly what they want, not recognising that the mind attracts the thing it dwells upon.’

From the time you reach adulthood, nobody else can make your life happen for you. Blaming circumstances (however unfortunate) and other people (however unpleasant) won’t change anything; in fact, it makes things worse – you become a victim.

See whatever happens in your life as the world’s response to your state of mind

Here’s an illuminating exercise. Sit comfortably. Close your eyes and take a deep breath. Relax your body and let go of all tension. In this relaxed state, reflect on the events and circumstances of your life. Don’t judge. Don’t blame. Just reflect on how your thoughts, beliefs, imaginings and actions have created your life and how past decisions have affected you.

As I said,you’ll find this very illuminating!

Copyright David Lawrence Preston 22.9.2018

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Your Inner Power

We all have a unique and wonderful power within us which holds the key to our ultimate happiness and fulfillment. It originates from the way we think, and what we imagine, say and do.

This inner power is non-physical. When we are attuned to it and allow it to guide and support us we are enriched in every way. We are happy, prosperous and at peace. We have the courage to follow our dreams.

There’s a Native American parable about an Indian brave who found an eagle’s egg when out hunting. He took it back to his village and placed it among some eggs being hatched by a hen. In due course, the eaglet was hatched along with the baby chicks. As it grew, it scratched the earth with its claws and pecked at worms on the ground. It learned how to flap its wings like the other baby chicks. It even clucked like a chicken.

Then one day when he was old, he looked up and saw a magnificent bird gliding across the clear blue sky. He was in awe. ‘What’s that?’ he asked the chicken next to him. ‘That’s the Golden Eagle, the king of the birds,’ came the reply, ‘but don’t you try that. We can’t fly. We are chickens.’ The old eagle never gave it another thought and died, as he had lived, thinking he was a chicken.

You are an ‘eagle’. But do you think, feel and act like one? Or do you think and behave more like a chicken?

Oprah Winfrey once said: ‘People do what they know how to do, and when they know better they do better.’ In other words, we all have the means to raise our consciousness, improve our lives, be happier and play our part in making the world a kinder, more loving place.

Some find this a rather frightening prospect. At the start of a recent seminar, I promised participants that they would feel happier, more fulfilled, less stressed and more at peace with themselves if they took on board the ideas presented that day. Immediately a smartly dressed lady rose from her seat and left. ‘I’m sorry,’ she said, ‘I’ve made a mistake. This isn’t for me.’

Down the years I have acquired a vast number of insights and shared them with thousands through my teaching, speaking and coaching. They have worked for everyone who applied them. But don’t take my word for it – find out for yourself. You will soon find out how powerful they are.

What Do You Really Want?

When it comes to deciding what we want out of life, most of us set our horizons low. Generally people want to be happy, healthy, prosperous and secure; to feel good about themselves, have a circle of friends, good family relationships, peace of mind, and work which is personally fulfilling and makes full use of their talents; a variety of social and leisure pursuits, happiness and fun. They also want to be respected by others, to love and be loved, and be free.

Does this ring true for you?

  • Do you love what you do?
  • When you feel frustrated, do you still maintain a deep feeling that what you’re doing is right for you?
  • Is there anything you’d rather be doing?
  • Do you cope easily with the stress in your life?
  • Do you have a positive attitude most days?
  • Are you prosperous?
  • Do you enjoy rewarding relationships with most of the people you meet?
  • Do you feel enthusiastic about life generally?

In the past, a sign of success was having time that wasn’t committed to earning a living. Do you find a deep sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from your, or do you work mainly for the money?  If you work only to earn money, you will always feel poor! There are many unhappy millionaires, and many relatively poor people who enjoy contentment and peace of mind.

Imagine the kind of life you would like to lead. Think about this carefully. Be aware that one of the main reasons why people don’t get what they want out of life is that they’re not clear on what they want.

Which of these are these important to you?

  • Being able to live as you choose and do what you want, making your own choices, not beholden to others.
  • Being able to use your time as you wish.
  • Knowing that life has some meaning for you and that you feel good about what you do.
  • Health – being free from illness and having sufficient energy to carry you through each day.
  • Enjoying the people you live with, including your partner, your children and wider family.
  • The pleasure that comes from an active, varied and fulfilling social life.
  • Interests and pastimes that provide enjoyment and take your mind off the pressures of life.
  • The satisfaction of knowing that you have made a contribution to society. You don’t have to make a global impact –  helping those around you is just as important.
  • Enjoying life and trusting that things work out for the best.
  • Feeling good about yourself and growing as an individual.
  • Being comfortable with yourself as a spiritual being.
  • Have I missed any?

Many people have never given these questions much thought; but without clarity our inner power is stifled, like the eagle that thinks it’s a chicken!

©David Lawrence Preston, 6.5.18, all rights reserved.

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6 Tips for Inner Peace

Inner peace if destroyed by mental tension. The source of most mental tension is the ego – that part of our psyche which constructs the image of ourselves we like to present to the world.  Your ego is your idea of who you should be and who you would like others to think you are.

How do we put the ego in its rightful place and create inner peace for ourselves? Here’s six thoughts:

1. Give up the need to be right

Giving up the need to be right has nothing to do with whether you actually are right or not (which is often a moot point), but avoiding making others wrong.

Let everyone have their say and keep your counsel. Unless you absolutely must (e.g. in a difficult negotiation situation), avoid arguments and disagreements and refuse to respond to provocation.

In the greater scheme of things, you and your adversary are at one, so look for ways you can both be right. That’s win-win.

2. Stop judging

A judgement is ‘a view or declaration of what is good, right or fair.’ Some judgements are necessary because they help us to make sound decisions. Take driving for instance: judging speed, distance and direction are essential for our safety.

But there are other kinds of judgements: judging what is good or bad, better, worse, right, wrong, moral, immoral and so on. These are judgements of the ego.

Stop judging other people. Who are you to judge them? How can you condemn the path they have chosen? What right have you to make statements about what they are doing and where they need to be?

 3. Get away from ‘what’s in it for me’

‘What’s in it for me’ is the mantra of the ego. Its first instinct is to protect and take care of itself.

The deeper, Inner Self has different priorities. It sees the bigger picture. It is concerned with what’s most likely to benefit all and how you can help.

4. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Ego-dominated people feed off others’ approval. They are preoccupied with their reputation and easily take offence. They are easy targets since they are easily upset and become aggressive when they feel under attack.

Learn not to take offence at what others say or do. Remember, when someone disagrees with you or criticises you, they’re judging only your outward appearance, not the real you. Step back – there’s always a lighter side!

5. Put a stop to jealousy

Jealousy is born of fear. The ego is dominated by fear. It begrudges others their talents and achievements, not recognising that one person’s success can benefit all.

In order to feel jealous, you must compare yourself unfavourably with others. Let go of the need to compare yourself with others. Take pleasure in their good fortune. Wish them happiness. What matters is not what others have or do, but how far you have progressed along your path.

6. Constantly remind yourself who you are

Constantly remind yourself you are Infinite Intelligence in human form. Stop looking outside yourself and instead look within to where lasting peace and joy may be found.

Before long, you won’t need to remind yourself any more – you’ll just know it.

The difference it makes

When you discover the truth about yourself, that you in essence are a spiritual being, your self-image is no longer based on your physical features. Your deepest values are non-physical – happiness, peace, love, truth and so on. You transcend your previous limitations.

You are equally aware of others as spiritual beings on their own journey. You see them in terms of their virtues, values and talents. Love is your predominant feeling towards them.

You take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions because you know they are the seeds of your future harvest. You approach problems differently. You know that if you want change you must focus on ’causes’ because it is absurd to expect ‘effects’ to deal with themselves. You are self-reliant, at ease with yourself and warm and respectful towards others.

Isn’t this what you want?

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.6.2017

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Attune yourself to Creative Intelligence by taking some quiet time for yourself each day

Creative Intelligence is the invisible energy that governs the universe; the Life-Force which suffuses everything and connects us to each other. It’s not a fanciful idea – it has a firm scientific basis.

Mahatma Gandhi described it like this:

‘Whilst everything around me is ever-changing, ever-dying, there is underlying all that changes a living power that is changeless, that holds all together, that creates, dissolves and re-creates.’

Be quiet and still, then you can feel it pulsating in every part of your being.

A student once asked the teacher, ‘How can I find G_d?’ The teacher answered, ‘How does a fish find the ocean?’

You are living in an ocean of consciousness. It is around you and in every atom of your body. Love, peace and happiness are not to be found in faraway places or unusual states of consciousness, but here, right now, when you look within.

Have some quiet time to yourself each day. Make it a priority. Reflect on spiritual ideas and meditate on the source of your inner power.

As your inner power grows, people will comment, ‘I want what you have. Can you show me how to get it?’ Tell them what you have learned. Share your experiences in a spirit of love and with humility. Explain to them that they already have what they seek and encourage them to develop a quiet, calm mind. Then they will discover it for themselves.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.1.2017

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Your Inner Power

Everything you need to build a happy and fulfilling life and become a force for good in the world already lies within you. You may not have been aware of it, but it is there, just as it always was. Look deeper: it may be buried under a mountain of negative thinking, false beliefs and emotional baggage.

You are charged with spiritual energy. It needs only to be released, and as long as you have the ability to think and act for yourself, you can do it. It’s never too late.

Your inner power is non-physical

Your inner power has nothing to do with your physical attributes. If it were, the world would be ruled by Olympic athletes and weightlifters. Elderly, impaired or diminutive individuals such as Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, Stephen Hawking and Mother Theresa would have been powerless and made little impact.

Your inner power is spiritual. Spiritual means ‘non-physical’. It reveals itself in your thoughts and beliefs, ideas, dreams, hopes, feelings and understandings. These shape your world, because your life is a reflection of what you hold in your mind.

Your thoughts, words and actions have real power. Take charge of your inner world and you take charge of your outer world too.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.1.2017

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The Creative Power of Thought

Thoughts are powerful things. They have impact. They lead to actions, which bring results. They are the building blocks of our lives. We literally create our experiences by the activity of thinking.

We can take control of ourselves in any situation because we, and we alone, control our thoughts. They determine what we become, what we achieve and the way we see others. When our thoughts change, so do our lives.

Thoughts come and go, but do you always make wise decisions about your thinking? Do you act only on your highest thoughts? When you understand the importance of right thinking you become a creative force and potentially a force for good.

The Law of Vibration

There are vibrations in space related to the underlying energy and intelligence that holds the universe together. Everything is in vibration. Sound, light, energy, matter and thought are all forms of vibration.

Imagine tossing a pebble into a pond and watching the ripples spread out. What happens when two pebbles are tossed into a pond? Two sets of ripples spread out. Where they intersect, they create a variety of patterns.

Similarly, you continually send out thought vibrations. The mind is constantly radiating energy – and so does the universe itself. It emits a constant wave of thought energy. Where the two sets of thought waves intersect, a pattern is created. This is how your world is formed.

Imagine your thoughts intersecting with the universe. What kind of pattern do they create? Align your personal vibrations with the vibration of the universe, then you align with the best life has to offer.

Thoughts have substance

Thoughts have substance. Thinking produces energy. The longer, more intensely and more often you think something, the stronger the energy waves sent out. When your thoughts centre on higher things, your entire being rises to a higher rate of vibration.

Higher thoughts attract good into your life. You can think yourself into health, happiness, friendship and prosperity; similarly, you can think yourself into ill-health, depression, loneliness and poverty. If you repeatedly think, ‘I can’t do it,’ your thought becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. (The antidote for this disempowering state is to affirm, ‘I can’, loudly and often).

Negative thoughts are nothing to fear as long as you know them for what they are – not the truth, just thoughts, and swiftly replace them with higher thoughts. There is no reason to think that any negative thought reflects reality.

Thought stopping

Get into the habit of observing your thoughts. Isolate unwanted thoughts and let them go. Say, ‘No!’ ‘Go away!’ ‘Stop!’ or similar. Alternatively, tell yourself, ‘That’s an old thought. I no longer choose to think that way.’ This technique is called ‘thought stopping.’ Persistent application of the thought stopping technique soon stems the tide of negative thoughts and weakens their power.

Drop unwanted thoughts quickly – the longer you cling to them, the harder they are to get rid of. Most of us never take control of our thinking – which is why most of us don’t achieve as much as we would like.

Words

Thoughts are expressed in words. The Buddhist text, the Dhammapada, emphasises this. ‘Just a single word that brings peace is better than a thousand useless words. Just a single verse that brings peace is better than a thousand useless verses.’

Become aware of the words you use. Use words and phrases which make you feel good, inspire others and align with your vision and purpose, and avoid any which are self-deprecating or disempowering.

Mental resistance

When you first become aware of the power of your thoughts and decide to change, you may notice a persistent voice in your head resisting your new way of thinking. This comes from the conditioned mind, the centre of your old habits, which hates change and feels threatened by it.

Give it short shrift. Talk to it. Tell it you recognise where it is coming from, and refuse to take any notice. Tell it to be quiet and go away. Negative thoughts create resistance to the universal flow of life and goodness. You don’t want to think those old thoughts any more.

If you want to transform any aspect of your life, start by changing your thoughts about it. Decide the kind of world you want to inhabit and think the kind of thoughts that will draw it towards you. Fact: when you change the way you think about something, what you think about changes. Not just your perceptions of things, but the things themselves.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 10.11.2016

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How to Become A Positive Thinker

How you think matters.

There is a direct connection between what you think and what you say and do, and what you get out of life. As long as you keep thinking as you’ve been thinking, you’ll keep feeling as you’ve been feeling, doing as you’ve been doing, and getting what you’ve been getting. So if you want something different, do something different; and if you want to do things differently, change your way of thinking. Your behaviour will follow suit. It’s the way we’re made.

Fortunately becoming a habitual positive thinker is no more difficult than learning to ride a bicycle!

The Cycle of Thoughts

You have approx. 50,000 thoughts a day, but where do they come from?  There are four main sources:

a)      Your unconscious. All the experiences you have ever had, whether real or imagined, are recorded in your unconscious mind. When any of this material floats to the surface, you register a thought. This is where the majority of your thoughts come from.

b)      Sometimes a thought is triggered by a feeling. A feeling of hunger, for instance, can trigger the thought I’m hungry, I want food.

c)      Your intuitive self, including your imagination.

d)      You can consciously, purposely and deliberately create them.

The Cycle of Thought goes as follows:

 

1. You have a thought

You cannot prevent a thought arising from the unconscious, but you do have the power to act on or ignore it, accept or reject it. You don’t have to be attached to any thought if you don’t want to.

2. You decide

Thoughts do not inevitably lead to action, although some people act and react without a great deal of conscious thought.

3. You act – or you don’t

You act. Or you don’t. You speak. Or you don’t. If you like what you get, you do it again. If not, eventually you try something different.

4. If repeated, a habit forms

Whenever you repeatedly place your attention on a thought pattern, you create a new habit or strengthen an existing one. And if you withdraw your attention from an unwanted habit, it will fade and die.

5. Habits direct your thoughts

Habits direct your thoughts – if you let them. But you can challenge them and change them if you want to and it you’re determined enough.

Becoming a positive thinker

How do you take charge of your thoughts?  Simple. By changing what you say to yourself. Remember, conscious thinking is really just talking to yourself.

Do this using the Four Step Method:

1.      Be mindful

2.      Interrupt self-defeating thoughts

3.      Feed in the positives

4.      Keep at it

Step One: Mindfulness

Mindfulness is paying attention to your thoughts – listening to your ‘internal dialogue’ or ‘self-talk’.

Try this: Every so often, pause. Break off from whatever you’re doing and be still. Withdraw your attention from everything around you and go inside. What are you thinking?  Is it  positive or negative? Where is it coming from? Why are you thinking that thought? Where is it taking you?

The more you do this, the better. It is the first step in initiating change – and it’s powerful.

Step Two: Thought stopping

You can only hold one conscious thought at a time, so if you become aware of a thought that serves no useful purpose interrupt it. Say something like ‘Stop!’, ‘Cancel!’, ‘Go away!’, or ‘Next!’. This breaks the pattern.

In addition, do something physical like clapping your hands, stamping a foot or banging a table.  You can also imagine closing a book, a symbolic gesture that that’s the end of it.

If you catch yourself thinking negatively, don’t be annoyed with yourself. This will only make you more likely to slip up again. Just let it go.

In time thought stopping becomes unnecessary. Negative thoughts don’t bother entering your head once they realise that they are going to be firmly dealt with!

Step Three: Feed in the positives

Having stopped the unwanted thought, immediately replace it. The simplest replacement for an unwanted thought is its direct opposite, e.g. replace ‘I can’t’ with ‘I can.’ Say it as if you really mean it.

Another option is to use an affirmation. Either make one up on the spur of the moment or use a favourite one such as ‘I like myself’, ‘I am strong and worthy’ or ‘I am cool, calm, and in control’.

If at first you feel you’re lying to yourself, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter if your new thought isn’t literally true (yet). This method is just a tool to help you change your way of thinking.

Make it your motto never to say or think anything that you don’t want to be true! You will be directing your unconscious mind to create the situations and behaviours you want.

Step Four: Keep at it!

Persistence is the key to success. It takes about a month to change an old thinking pattern.

Don’t let others put you off. Most people are unaware of how powerful their negative thinking is. Nor do they realise they have it within their power to change.

You can’t change others’ thoughts – only they can do that. But you can enlist their support by explaining what you’re doing. If all else fails, you may have to minimise your contact with negative people until your new thinking habits are firmly established.

These Four Steps are very powerful: in fact, properly used they can even help overcome debilitating fears and phobias.

Can you think of any reason why you can’t start applying these Four Steps right away?

And remember – merely reading through these materials without putting them into practice is like reading the label on the bottle without taking the medicine!

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 5.3.2016

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Humans are emotional creatures

We kid ourselves that we are intelligent, rational beings, but we’re not. Most humans are more inclined to act emotionally than ‘logically’, and emotions can ruin our ability to think clearly. Mastery of the emotions, especially the ability to stay calm under pressure and bounce back after defeat, is the key to success in many fields. We can all think of talented people who never made the most of their abilities because they lacked ’emotional intelligence’.

Emotions can bring us great joy, but they can also cause of misery, ill-health and frustration. But can we influence them? Can we change them altogether? Yes we can. But we must want to.

What Are Emotions?

‘Emotion’ comes from the Latin, ’emovere’, which means ‘to move’, ‘to excite’ or ‘to agitate’. An emotion is a strong feeling which involves both physical changes and changes in behaviour. It’s different from cognition (thinking) and from volition (willing and wanting), yet all three are related. Just as thinking and wanting involve feeling, so feeling involves thinking and wanting.

Our emotional responses were initially programmed into the primitive part of the brain in early childhood, before the ‘thinking mind’ or ‘intellect’ started to develop. For our first few years, all our behaviour was governed by the emotional centres in the brain. This is why children are so easily emotionally aroused, and why they are able to switch rapidly from, say, anger or tears to smiles.

Every emotional experience we ever had was stored away in the unconscious and continues to influence us long after the original incident took place. Children who are fortunate enough to enjoy caring parents and a safe, loving environment grow up feeling confident and secure. Children who feel unloved and ignored often develop emotional problems which can remain with them for life – unless they deal with them before it is too late.

Sometimes, childhood emotional experiences are so painful that they are repressed deep into the unconscious: this is the mind trying to protect us from the anxiety they would cause if we were fully aware of them. When this happens, they are beyond our conscious awareness but can be released in various ways.

This certainly doesn’t mean that if we had an unhappy childhood, we’re doomed. Not at all. As we mature, that other part of the mind – the intelligent, rational mind – develops. We learn that displays of emotion are not always the best way of getting what we want. We learn more adult ways of functioning.

Deep seated negative emotions

Obviously there is a big difference between momentary emotional discomfort and deep-seated emotional problems. If we find our energy and motivation starting to sag, there’s a lot we can do to get back on track. Similarly, if we’re about to face a stressful experience, there are ways of taking control and coping with the ordeal.

But if old emotional patterns are preventing us from making the best of ourselves, we can use the ‘reflective’ parts of the mind to work through and move beyond them. We can learn how to gently let go of irrational feelings so they no longer upset us; we can train ourselves to look for and use the lessons they offer us. This doesn’t mean ignoring or suppressing emotions – suppressing emotion is extremely dangerous in the long term and can result in serious physical and psychological illness.

We can’t always make an uncomfortable feeling go away especially if it’s deeply ingrained. But we can learn to handle it more effectively. Do this consistently over a period of time, and the discomfort eventually subsides. For example, anyone who has experienced divorce or bereavement knows that time is the great healer. Eventually we adjust to our new circumstances.

Why emotions affect people so differently

A few years ago, a newspaper carried a story about a man who was in a panic. He’d received a letter from the gas company threatening to cut off his supply because he hadn’t paid a £200 bill. They’d threatened him with a court order which would have authorised them to gain entry into his flat. ‘I’m so upset,’ he told the reporter, ‘I won’t sleep tonight.’

The irony was, he lived in an all-electric flat! It was simply a computer error. But why did it affect him so badly? Some would find the idea of the gas company showing up to turn off his non-existent gas supply quite amusing! He was worrying about something that couldn’t possibly happen – and that he knew couldn’t possibly happen. Others would have simply telephoned the company, and calmly sorted it out.

So why the difference? It boils down to the fact that our emotional problems are not for the most part caused by events and circumstances, but by our beliefs, attitudes and reactions. A harsh lesson for some – but true.

Our emotions, like every part of our physical and psychological make-up, have a purpose. We wouldn’t have them otherwise. In essence, they are a fast response feedback mechanism. If things go the way we want, or expect, or are used to, we feel good. If not, we feel bad. Emotions steer us towards what seems safe, comfortable and pleasurable and away from anything which might be uncomfortable. They are born out of our perceptions of what is pleasurable and what could cause ‘pain’.

The important word here is perceptions. But what happens if our perceptions are misguided?

For example, say you are facing a difficult interview for a job you really want.  Your stomach is churning. You may want to ‘bottle out’ but if you do you may miss out on a golden opportunity. Scarcely anyone has ever been killed or injured attending an interview. The worst that can possibly happen is that you dry up or you can’t answer all the questions. Embarrassing but hardly life threatening. So you go ahead anyway, ignoring the emotions – because you know the benefits of getting the job will outweigh the ‘pain’ in the longer term.

We can easily be misled by our own feelings. Just because something feels wrong, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it is wrong. Similarly, just because something feels right, it doesn’t automatically follow that it is right.

Emotions often feel the same as intuitions. Both affect us physically, but there’s a world of difference between an intuitive feeling and an emotional response programmed into the brain when we were young. If it’s genuinely the intuition, we would be foolish to ignore it. But if it is merely emotional conditioning, we could easily be deceived. Sometimes it is best to just feel the fear and do it anyway.

How do you know whether it’s your intuition or emotional programming? That’s the question!

Can we control our emotions?

Think of a time when you were so angry you could quite easily have hurt someone, but you didn’t. What happened? The rational part of your brain clicked into gear, reminded you of the consequences and halted you in your tracks. You knew you would be worse off in the long term if you carried on, so you dealt with it some other way.

We can’t always prevent ourselves from feeling an emotion; the primitive part of the brain tends to click into gear without conscious direction. But unless we have a neurological condition we can control our response. Occasionally, emotions may appear to ‘just come over us’, but that hides the reality. Emotions come from inside. We create them. No-one else can make us feel anything without our participation.

We don’t have to – and shouldn’t always – go with our feelings. Follow them when warranted, and disregard them when you realise that they’re obstructing you progress or leading you into unwanted consequences.

And remember – the Law of Cause and Effect operates irrespective of your emotional programming!

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 1.8.2016

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Creativity and intuitive ideas

 ‘Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to look after them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.’

John Steinbeck

There are many ways of generate creative ideas. The first uses the mind as an information and data processing device, reacting to the environment to create new associations, connections and solutions. The others use the deeper parts of the mind as a source of inspiration and ideas.

Here are some ways of coming up with creative ideas by accessing your inherent intuitive capabilities:

1. The stimulus-response method

Place yourself in a sensory-rich environment – one which stimulates and arouses the senses. For isntance, mix with lively people; they spark off new ideas. When stimuli act on the senses, they set off a chain reaction in which each thought sparks off new ideas.

For example, what do you do if you’re stuck for something to buy your mother for her birthday? You could tackle it in a logical way: make a list of the things she likes, cross off the items you know she already has, whittle it down to two or three, and then go to the shops. The chances are, though, your range of items would be rather limited.

Alternatively:

  • Wander through your local shopping centre, looking in shop windows and visit her favourite shops.
  • Ask Dad for his ideas.
  • Think about what other people of her age with her interests enjoy.
  • Browse the internet and look through home-shopping catalogues, newspapers and magazines.
  • Recall what gave her the most pleasure when you were a child.

One idea may lead to another and you’ll eventually find something suitable, maybe something you would never have thought of otherwise.

The stimulus-response method works best if you put yourself in a child-like frame of mind and free yourself from rational, adult thinking. Fun and laughter stimulate the brain to come up with new ideas.

2. Ask your Superconscious

Ask your Superconscious for help. Relax mind and body into the Alpha State and focus on a specific question. Be patient; your mind will carry on working on it even when you’ve turned your attention to other things.

3. Sitting for Ideas

Allow an hour for this method. Go to a quiet place. Dim the lighting. Have a notebook and pen ready. Then relax your body and sit patiently, ask a question and wait for the answer to pop into your head. Jot down any ideas that come before you leave the room.

Some of the greatest minds have this and used it to the full. Thomas Edison, for instance, used to sit in a chair clutching as small object. When he was so relaxed that the object fell from his hands, he asked his inner self a question and waited. He claimed the method was virtually foolproof. He remarked, ‘When you become quiet, it just dawns on you.’

In similar vein, when they were stuck for ideas Albert Einstein often sat staring at the clouds and eccentric artist Salvador Dali relaxed on his chaise-longue clutching a spoon. The biochemist, August Kekule, claimed to have discovered the structure of the benzene ring whilst nodding off in front of his fire.

4. Sleeping on it

There’s plenty of evidence that the sleeping mind solves problems more efficiently than the waking mind. To use your problem solving ability this way, write down your problem, read through it just before you go to sleep, and ask your Superconscious to work on it. Keep a pen and pad at your bedside: you may find the answer comes to you during the night.

However, you don’t have to wait until nightfall or put aside special relaxation time to tap into your intuitive mind. Many good ideas may come when you’re walking in the country, relaxing in the garden or lying on a beach. While your conscious mind is idling, your unconscious is busy. Carry a small notebook with you so you can record any precious gems.

5. Tune In!

These and many other examples suggest that there is a deeper level of wisdom which we can access when we quieten the conscious mind by stilling the thoughts. Imagine it as a TV station transmitting 24 hours a day. If you switched on your TV and all you got was a blank picture, would you immediately blame the TV station? No, first you would you check your set and check it’s properly tuned in. Intuition is much the same. Plug in, switch on and listen. Then act upon it.

In truth, what marks out the most creative people is not so much the ideas they come up with but what they do with them. Have you ever had an idea for a product, story, service, play or film etc. and failed to act on it, only for someone else to launch it and make a fortune? Do you ever look at something someone else has produced and think, ‘I could have done/made/written that!’?

What’s the difference? Simple: they trusted their intuition and acted on it – you didn’t!

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 28.7.2016

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