Often, we will be featuring true stories and opinions from people who have sent in their advice or methods that help.
We start off with one of my friends, who has been focused on self-help for a while. The advice will generally be kept anonymous, unless it is already public.
The advice starts with:
Well, a lot of it has to do with something simple like breathing. Once you are able to even breathe with attention, a lot of sources and answers and insights come to you. For people with a lot of baggage, writing three pages every day can help, dream journals, etc. We all have to rely on an inner guidance although often it’s totally blocked by external noise.
The advice then continues. I mentioned vices among humans.
Yes, I hear you about the vices. I feel acceptance is key. Forgiveness too, it’s key to inner freedom.
But at its simplest the answers are really simple, the real struggles are that they require that they felt deeply rather than understood intellectually.
For example, you can intellectually understand the source of your trauma and its effect on your behaviour but that will not bring you peace intact it may even lead you to identify too much with your trauma, as a result you are unwilling to give it up as its now your identity. This is what victim mentality is about and it only propagates more of the same.
When you reach down inside yourself into your core, through sense and feeling, not some kind of mental focus, there’s an indestructible core, a source. Once you reconnect with that source external highs and lows no longer define you.
Our greatest struggle is we entirely identify ourselves with external ideas, circumstances, factors, labels. And that is why our identity is easily damaged, corrupted, confused, a cause of further trauma, pain, etc.
I will admit, breathing hasn’t worked for me very well in terms of meditation, but it has greatly helped me relax just before I go to bed. Deep breaths in and out, with a concentration on breathing. Think of how you breathe, and how your lungs open to let the air in, and compress to let the air out. Notice how your chest rises with every breath in, and how it relaxes with every breath out. Focus on nothing but breathing. Close your eyes if it helps.
We got some further advice on breathing:
When you breathe and can’t get rid of anxiety it’s because you want to get rid of it. Just breathe and offer it no resistance. Let the uncomfortable feeling invade you if it must, there’s no wrong way to breathe. So long as whatever happens you let it happen in your head but don’t attach to the thoughts that come and go. I realise these things are simple but so abstract and difficult to really understand.
Another easy way to process your internal frustrations is to keep journals. It can often be a painful process, but it also allows you some level of catharsis.
A dream journal is not that far.
Think about your day, and think about what bothered you and what worked well for you.
Most importantly, be honest to your journal. By doing so, you are being honest with yourself.
This is probably the most difficult one. We all have it, but we hardly listen to it. Some call it gut feeling, others call it intuition. Somehow, at least anecdotally, females tend to be better at it, though I have had times where I have been more in the zone.
Listen to yourself. Listen to your body.
Acceptance, forgiveness, freedom
Probably the hardest things to achieve. In my head, acceptance means making the best of a bad situation, something you cannot change. That is where forgiveness leads to freedom.
If however, you can change your circumstances, please do.
Often, we think we cannot. I have been there many times myself.
Remember, more often than not, we do have the choice.
Keep it simple
Always the best advice.
However, the main message here is that often trauma needs to be felt rather than rationalised.
Avoid being a victim
Carrying on from above, the more your rationalise your bad situation or depression, the more it takes over your mind. So much so that it can become part of your identity.
Avoid this as much as possible.
Seek the core happiness within you
This probably sounds like hippy shit, but deep down, happiness is all down to you. Strip away everything, strip away external factors, and you’ll realise, it was you, always you. That is why a McDonalds that tasted amazing when you were 5 is now a crappy experience. You grow and change, as do your standards. If you want to be happy, let yourself be happy.
Go beyond your identity
Trying to form an identity is often a mistake. Do not try and conform. Stick to yourself. Be yourself. Be you.
I’d like to thank my friend for telling me what worked best for her.
Do you have any advice for us and our readers? Do you suffer from anxiety or depression? What do you do? Did you find this useful? Do let us know!
Since I am not a professional therapist, if something said here is incorrect or bad practice, please do let us know.