Facebook Twitter

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Do You Realize How Powerful Your Own Mind Is?

After many years of commuting to the city for work, I grew to detest snow--period. I didn't even want to see as much as a few snowflakes on Christmas. I hated snow because it meant driving on treacherous roads, freezing at a bus stop or having to shovel my car out of it. I dreaded walking down the city sidewalks just to be splashed all over with dirty snow.
But today I actually like snow—even though I still have to drive to work in it as well as shovel and scrape it from my car.

How on earth did this transformation occur? Well, I re-programed my mind! Some days it’s still hard for me to believe it. Here’s how I did it, even though it was not my goal at the time…

One morning on a day off from work, I wanted to really, really enjoy myself. I wanted to relax, empty my mind, and spend a little quiet time de-stressing. I lit several scented candles and played some soft music. I dressed in something warm and cozy, poured a cup of fresh coffee and sat down in my favorite chair. As I sat there facing the window, I saw the snow beginning to fall. It wasn’t coming down hard and fast, but it wasn’t a light flurry, either. It was coming down steadily at a good pace and was “sticking.”

Here’s the amazing part: gazing at the snowfall, I felt so peaceful. Because of the comfortable atmosphere I had created for myself, watching the snow come down did not evoke feelings of anxiety or stress. To this day—years later—I get a sense of peace and relaxation whenever it snows. My mind continues to associate those positive emotions I had experienced that day with the falling snow.

And guess what? I purposefully reprogrammed myself to enjoy the rain, too. Despite the fact I had been stranded for six hours on the highway due to flooding, the feelings I had from that unpleasant experience are no longer triggered whenever it rains. Instead, I love listening to the sound of the rain and I enjoy watching it, too.

So what does this all mean? It means we can help ourselves feel better. We have the power to replace negative thoughts and feelings with positive ones. Now, I realize that feelings about rain and snow do not compare to things in our lives that are traumatic and frightening—unless you were injured or endangered by severe weather conditions. Nevertheless, the ability to recover, feel better and become healthy again is very real. Depending on your own situation, it may take longer to accomplish this.

If you suffer from depression, anxiety, constant worrying and negative thinking, you probably feel hopeless and desperate, like it’s impossible to ever feel better. I’ve been there and I empathize with you. But take heart—hope, help and healing are all within your reach. Asking for professional help is not a sign of weakness or lack of faith, but quite the opposite. It takes strength and courage! Changing is hard work but extremely well worth it. Living in denial and doing nothing is the worst thing you can do.