Did you know?
One of the best kept secrets in the universe is that engaging in feelings and thoughts of gratitude and appreciation can change your life.
Of course it is easy to be grateful and appreciative when things are going your way, but what about when it is hard? Or when you are angry? Or scared? Or frustrated?
The truth is that gratitude and appreciation are even more powerful in situations that are perceived as unpleasant. Sometimes the only thing you can change is your perception - and when your perception of something changes even though the situation itself hasn't changed, that shows maturity.
Believe me, I know this can be realllllyyyyy hard to do, especially if you are really struggling. If you find yourself in a situation where all you can see is the negative, do your very best to find one positive thing about the situation. If you quiet yourself and breathe, you will see that one thing. And finding that one thing will shift your perspective, and perspective my friends, is everything.
I don't have much more to write today, but I did film a little video for you. Enjoy it, and find the joy in today!!
Dr. Sarah Wooten
PS = if you are interested in learning more about the virtual veterinary illuminating women's retreat that I mentioned in the video, click here!
Hello there my lovely humans!
Hope you are well and enjoying your down time. How is your self care? Self care is a survival strategy, and is so so important!
Self care can look like:
1. staying hydrated - drink 2 liters a day
2. breathing deep (check out this blog post for breathing exercises that can calm down your nervous system)
3. moving your body - walking outside, pushups, yoga, impromptu dance parties)
4. eating healthy food
6. limiting and being mindful about your social media and news consumption
7. going outside and getting Vitamin D
9. cooking with your family
10. hugging your family
11. virtually connecting with friends and family
12. being gentle with yourself, extending grace to yourself and others
13. noticing your thoughts and feelings, letting them be there, realizing you are not your thoughts
14. if the thoughts scare you, choosing a thought that feels just a little bit better
17. being the change you want to see in the world
18. loving your pets, walking your dog
Speaking of pets I made a short video giving you the most uptodate COVID-19 information I have. Give it a watch, and let me know how you are doing in the comments. Share your self care strategies!!
So much love to you all,
Dr. Sarah Wooten
Hello my fellow humans!
I hope you are doing well today - caring for yourself and your loved ones, resting, creating, reading, appreciating this day. It is certainly a weird time, but, as Olaf in Frozen II sings, "This will all make sense when I am older!"
(I thought the moment he whispered 'Samantha' down the hole was one of the funniest moments in the movie, but anyways...)
Enough about Frozen 2. Today we are going to talk about managing one of the only things you can in this present time and space, and you probably already guessed what that is...that ONE THING is YOU.
Let's talk about your mind.
So - bad news - you can not able to control what thoughts pop into your head.
Good news - you can choose whether you will focus on those thoughts, or not.
Our minds are constantly seeking solutions, responding to outside stimuli, learning, relearning, practicing mental habits that have been hardwired, etc. Our minds are dynamic, miraculously machines, and are constantly rewiring themselves in response to outside stimuli (don't believe me? Google neuroplasticity).
If you have a history of dwelling on negative or scary things, then crazy thing is that is what your mind thinks you want to think about. Wanting to please us, your mind will automatically start bringing you more of those nasty thoughts because that is the mental pathway you have prepaved with previous thoughts, feelings, and actions. Then, not wanting to be left out, your body gets involved and send you all kinds of messages that your sympathetic system (fight, flight, or freeze) has been activated - feelings like dread, or a pit in your stomach, or nausea, or increased heart rate and blood pressure, etc. THEN your brain will reinforce those bodily sensations with more scary thoughts, and the body will respond, and around and around you will go on the catastrophe merry-go-round.
Its an absolute mind-body-cluster fuck.
God's Honest Truth: If you are filling your mind with scary news, or if you are surrounded by fearful people, or if your social media is filled with negative, inflammatory doomsday crap or fake news then your mind is going to create a reality around that input, and it's not going to be pretty. In fact, it is probably going to drag you down into a cesspool of fear, negativity, anxiety, grief, overwhelment, and paralyzing panic, because that is what you have trained your nervous system and mind to do.
If you are like most people, you are conditioned to base your conception of reality and what will happen in the future on what the news or internet says. And you know what I say?
That is horseshit.
Look around you. Are you physically threatened right NOW, as you are reading this article? The answer is probably no. Are you worried about the future? The answer is probably yes...and I am going to tell you a little secret that only leading edge quantum psychologists know:
Fear of the future is a deep trance, and you are unknowingly caught in it.
Here is a truth about the homo sapien sapien:
One of the basic human needs is the need of certainty. We, as a species, don't like NOT knowing what is going on. It really irritates our root chakra (don't know what that is? Click here) and makes us feel anxious and unsafe. Then we get in our heads and start to imagine all sorts of awful outcomes. When this happens, in our mind we actually time travel to some awful future where our doom lies, and then we suffer. We suffer mentally, we suffer emotionally, which then manifests as physically suffering and a whole host of stress-related disorders because our bodies can't tell the difference between actual reality and our imagination of this awful future. We aren't present - we are mentally time traveling in some horrid future.
This mental trick actually has a name: it a type of deep trance phenomena called psuedo-orientation in time that many people are unknowingly living in right now. It's like a spell that is cast over us, and we mentally don't know how to get out.
We suffer when we mentally time travel, in the form of regret or loss when we think about the past, or in the form of worry or anxiety when we think about the future. If you suffered any kind of trauma as a kid, unless you have had a ton of therapy and healed, you unconsciously drag your traumas with you into the present, creating a blanket, negative association to the future.
Bad news AND good news:
If you are a chronic worrier about the future (like me) then you have built some pretty deep mental ruts in your mind that are going to take some conscious practice to overcome, but there are ways to do this, and if you are diligent, your mind will respond quickly. You train your own mind the same way you train a dog. If you want a different outcome, you need some different mental, emotional, and physical habits.
Here are some tips on how to get out of the deep trance phenomena of psuedo-orientation in time:
1. Realize that in reality, the only thing that actually exists is RIGHT NOW.
Anyone who has read Eckart Tolle's 'The power of now' knows what I am talking about. Want to stop worrying? Get out of your head, stop time traveling, and get PRESENT. NOW is the only thing that exists - everything else is in our collective imagination (and remember - worry is a misuse of the imagination).
If you find yourself anxious about the future, gently become aware of the thoughts and feelings (before they get carried away). Allow them to be present, don't fight them, just notice them, and then redirect your focus to your present environment. This involves forcibly directing your attention to physical things in your present space and noting them. Lamp. Shoes. Dog. Glass. Flower. Whatever.
By doing this, you are taking control of the power of your focus and redirecting it back to the present moment. While you are doing this, consciously breathe deeply (like I described in this post). Do this for at least 1 minute, preferably 2. The purpose of this is to retrain your brain to stop circulating shitty, scary thoughts about the future and instead, calm itself and develop new neural pathways and habits of thought.
2. Flip the Script.
Now that you know you are fixated upon some catastrophic future, train yourself to imagine the opposite.
So, I own restaurants, and they are currently closed due to state mandated health regulations in regards to the virusthatshallnotbenamed. These restaurants are our livelihood. I could imagine all sorts of awful things for the future (and believe me, I am good at that), but instead of catastrophizing, what if instead, I flip the script?
Instead of "OMG we are ruined. How are we ever going to recover from this" I could think "I am so grateful for this time to slow down. My family was exhausted. I know that we are all in this together, and we already have strategies in place to recover. We are going to come back better, stronger, and more prosperous than before".
Instead of "OMG the sky is falling and society is over and I better buy toilet paper!!" I could think "Wow. The earth really needed this. This could be the reset button that humanity needed to evolve, be healthier, and more cooperative as a species. I am thankful for this day."
See the difference?
So, when you find yourself riding the hamster wheel of some negative thought, challenge yourself to think the exact OPPOSITE thought (even if you don't believe it...do it anyway). You will have to do this a lot at first, but over time, it becomes your mind's new habit.
Really want to pour gas on this idea? Pair that thought with how you imagine you will feel having that in your reality. Ohhhhh. Feelssss goooooooood.
That's where the magic is, folks. You perception is 9/10s of reality, and in every situation, there are two polar opposite ways to approach it, and whichever approach you mentally take will influence the outcome. You are powerful. Get control over you mind, stop imagining a terrible future, and start imagining a beautiful reset and recovery. of both humanity and our planet.
Remember - when you worry about the future you are unconsciously projecting your own awareness into the future. When you have a constant fear of negative outcomes, you know that you have created a deep trance of pseudo-orientation in time that is running in automatic in the background of your brain. Control, alt, delete that shit.
It's going to take a bit to get this going, and you make not notice you are mentally time traveling until you are in it or after you did it, but as soon as you know you can start using the tools I listed above. Above all, do not get frustrated with yourself for being in a deep trance of fear - its just some outdated mental programming. Be gentle with yourself, don't get mad or frustrated with yourself, because that will reinforce the negative thought patterns. Instead, bring your attention to the tools I listed above, and watch your mind transform. A belief is just a thought that is constantly held in the mind, and the good news is that minds can be changed.
Consciously interrupt unhelpful mental patterns, and you will change your life. I look forward to hearing about how you are all taking control of your mental landscapes and thus changing our world for the better.
If you find you can't even with any of this, please contact a mental health professional immediately. You don't have to do this alone. I am NOT a mental health professional, I am just sharing what has helped me.
So much love to you all,
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Thank you for taking time to read my words. We are all being collectively challenged right now. While this is ultimately going to be good for our species, in the meantime it can be frightening, frustrating, and uncertain.
It is very important to care for yourself during this time. This means caring for yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. During trying times, selfcare can really fall off as not important, but that is the opposite of what you need to do. Your body and mind are some of your greatest assets, and you will need to keep your body healthy and your wits about you.
In addition, if you are constantly stressed and fearful, you are stressing your own body constantly with showers of stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline. This will weaken your immune system, your digestive system, your heart, your muscles, your ability to think clearly - pretty much everything will go to shit. Fear can also also create psychosomatic symptoms that can mimic the signs of flu, and can give you stress pooping (just like in dogs and cats after they are at the vet hospital or boarding! I had a lot of that during this week, which was just a sign that I was not mindfully managing my body.
So....you gotta calm down and take care of yourself. For the sake of yourself, and the sake of others.
Here are some things that you can do:
1. Go for 2 30 minute walks per day, while practicing social distancing to keep others safe. If you have a dog, walk the dog. It's good for you both.
2. Reduce social media and news consumption - check in once or twice a day, and that is it. If the news is very triggering to you, have somebody else check for you and give you any updates you actually need. If your social media has negative and triggering postings, feel free to snooze or unfollow people. You don't have to partake in collective negativity, and you are not designed to be a receptacle of constant global news.
3. Stay connected to friends and loved ones as much as possible, while practicing physical distance to keep others safe. Remember - you aren't quarantining yourself. You aren't sick. You are being socially responsible by keeping your distance for a little while.
4. Notice your thoughts and feelings. If you have anxious feelings, where are they in your body? How do they feel? Notice them, let them be, and don't judge them. They are just trying to keep you safe. Notice your anxious thoughts, don't judge them. Notice if they are paired with any feelings in your body or any emotions. Refrain from judging yourself if you have negative thoughts or feelings, instead just notice them and be extra kind to yourself in that moment. This is called practicing lovingkindness to yourself, and you really need it and deserve it.
5. If you notice anxious thoughts or feelings, BREATHE. Breathing is POWERFUL. It can ramp up your stress hormones, or it can put your stress system back to sleep. Deep, slow breaths send a signal to your brain that all is calm. Shallow or fast breathing tells your brain that it is being threatened and needs to run. You can put your own stress system back to sleep with just breathing. It's amazing. Just try it - you will be surprised at how much calm and personal mastery you can create with just your breath. You have to do it for 1-2 minutes for it to really work. Here are a couple of resources for different breathing techniques:
4 7 8 breathing
Remember - your body or mind may not cooperate with you at first because you have trained it to engage in fearful thoughts, feelings, and stress. You will have to overcome your initial tendency to jump into panic mode, and instead, MINDFULLY use your will to breathe and calm down.
You will not serve anyone, including yourself, if you are in panic mode.
Worry is a misuse of our imagination.
We can retrain our minds to respond differently in challenging situations. Look at this as an opportunity to develop self mastery - there is no better school than the earth plane, ammiright?
We will get through this and together, we will be better on the other side.
If you have any other resources you use to stay calm in this time, please share them in the comment section.
I will be posting here frequently. If this was helpful and you would like more encouragement and resources, please subscribe - just scroll up - it's on the right hand side.
So much love to you all.
Dr. Sarah Wooten