Dear Friends,

Have you ever found yourself on the cusp of happiness, feeling genuinely good, only to have worries or anxiety come crashing in, uninvited, shattering your moment of joy? I often muse over why this tends to occur just as we’re settling into a positive vibe.

Throughout my years of working with clients and reflecting on my own life, I’ve observed this pattern time and again. Let’s consider a hypothetical scenario to shed some light on what I’m talking about:

Picture a session between a client and me. They begin to relax, noting, “I can feel my body relaxing and softening. My breath is getting deeper.” I encourage them, “Good, stay with that feeling. Where in your body do you feel that softening and relaxation?” As they concentrate, their breathing slows, indicating a deeper relaxation.

Then, suddenly, they confess, “I don’t know why, but I suddenly feel overwhelmed and helpless again. It’s as though I’m losing grip on that good feeling. During Covid’s peak, my dad was ill. We had a distant relationship; he never seemed to hear me out. I longed for his acknowledgment, but it never came. And at work, it’s as if no one cares, everyone’s glued to their phones. I’m left wondering, how will I manage on my own?”

In this dialogue, the client’s brief touch of peace is quickly overshadowed by feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.

It’s a common experience, driven by our nervous systems’ default to survival mode, where any hint of threat gets top billing to keep us safe. This instinct, while crucial in actual danger, means we’re on edge even with everyday stressors (like work deadlines or daily chores), preventing true relaxation and limiting our capacity for joy, curiosity, and love. Like in the example above, just as the client begins to relax up pop all the things that feel unsafe.

I’ve found a personal strategy for when my nervous system kicks into high gear at the wrong times: establishing a mental boundary against worrisome or anxious thoughts/sensations that something is wrong. I tell them firmly but with love, “Not now. I am choosing to relax. There’s no danger. I am safe.” I then consciously observe my surroundings, even looking behind me, to reassure myself and my nervous system that all is well.

This approach has taught me that I hold the power to veto certain parts of my psyche, choosing instead the experiences I wish to immerse in. By setting internal guidelines, I permit myself to steer clear of unwanted emotions or thoughts, opting for those I truly wish to embrace.

I’ve come to see myself as the sovereign of my internal realm, where my emotions, thoughts, and beliefs must align with my chosen direction in life. I think I am finally becoming an adult!

How do you feel about this concept? The idea of prioritizing desired experiences over habitual reactions—have you ever tried it? Adopting this method has allowed me to break free from the confines of my internal dialogues and fears. It offers a respite, a chance to momentarily step away from the incessant chatter of worries and the body being on alert. Could you do with a similar break?

See you soon, my winged friends!

Much love, Navjit

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