“If you want real control, drop the illusion of control; let life have you. It does anyway. You’re just telling yourself the story of how it doesn’t.” — Byron Katie
Kick In The Ass
I won’t get into the details of COVID, vaccines, and masks, etc… I think we burned those three words into our brains for the next millennia (or at least until the human species dies off and we’re eaten by aliens. Just kidding...sort of.)
We’re bombarded with so much in such a short amount of time. I know it turns each one of our stomachs when we see someone’s rant on social media or read/hear the news. It’s truly overwhelming for all of us, and I respect that fact completely. No matter if you’ve been personally affected by the pandemic or not, this is a trauma we’re all going through together. And we WILL get through it together.
What I will do, however, is offer you some information as to why we think the way we do, to offer you a different perspective on human beings to help release a bit of anxiety you may feel with those around you. You see, I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to what makes humans tick. And the reason for this is 6 years ago, life as I knew it exploded. Everything I thought I knew, believed in, my dreams and ambitions, even my own thought patterns, all disintegrated. So instead of picking up the pieces to put myself back together, like the female-version of Humpty Dumpty, I started down a trek in 2017 of forming an entirely new being. And the way I did this was researching everything I could about the power of our brains.
I nerd out on Neuroplasticity. I knew I was the only one on Earth in charge of my thoughts, actions, and reactions. Just like you’re the only one in charge of you. But my thoughts and emotions felt very out of control, which meant I had to gain my power back. I had to learn about how thoughts and brain patterns form in order to change them to live a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life. Mindfulness comes into play here, but there’s a lot more to it than that.
Through the years of building myself, I’ve learned a great deal as to why people choose to think and do the things they do. By doing the research, I’ve been able to transform my life based upon the power of thought. It’s given me a completely new perspective on how others think and their varying belief systems. It’s also helped me tremendously in understanding people’s opinions about the current global crisis.
National Geographic published a very interesting article a few days ago, which talks about how humans judge risks. I enjoyed the fact that they took the study of brain patterns and placed it in relation to the pandemic, giving it a current, real-world example. I strongly encourage you to take the time to read the article. Yes, I know it takes effort to read things these days, but you must retrain your brain to enjoy learning in long form again. Short snippets of facts, information, videos, etc…do absolutely nothing to build a better you. It just makes your brain scrambled. At the end of the day, you have no idea what you actually gained from any of that crap you CHOSE to put in your mind. Enjoy taking the time to fully read articles and books again. Your brain will thank you.
Here are a few highlights from the article:
We have 2 ways of processing risk and making decisions:
- Experiential/Intuitive thinking: knee-jerk, emotional
- Analytic mode: slower mode
Can you guess which one we use the most? Yes, #1. And it’s not a bad thing. In fact, our brains are pretty lazy. So anytime we can respond in a faster way during complex situations, we will use our feelings instead of the slower mode of analytical processing. But, the brain is capable of using both (and we should!).
Optimistic bias also plays a major role in weighing out risks.
Optimistic bias is the tendency to believe that one’s risk is less than that of another person, aka we think we’re special. We see others being impacted by something, but we feel it won’t happen to us.
We all have a bias of some sort. It’s just part of being a human being. The key is to be AWARE of our bias.
Critical thinking is hard work! We have to work at being analytical and assessing situations. Not every situation needs an immediate response. Slow down the process and take time to analyze a situation. Understand that those who may have a differing opinion from your own are not dumb or delusional. They just measure risk differently than you do.
During the pandemic, “a lot of people are feeling anxious about entering into the world and relying on other people’s willingness to do the right thing, which has been a problem throughout the pandemic and is still the case now,” Helweg-Larsen says. “We want to control outcomes—and that’s why it feels even scarier.”
We overestimate our ability to control outcomes in our lives. Read that again because I am meeting way too many people who truly believe they’re in control of their life. “If people just wore masks/got the vaccine, etc… then we could control”...
No. No. And no.
That’s where anxiety comes from, the need to control things that are actually out of our hands. The sooner you realize the only thing you have control over is your thoughts, actions, and reactions, the happier and less stressed you will be. I 100% guarantee it. This goes along with our quote this week from Byron Katie, “If you want real control, drop the illusion of control; let life have you. It does anyway. You’re just telling yourself the story of how it doesn’t.”
Your idea of control is an illusion. Wake up to this fact to improve your life.
What's Good, Kira?
Being comfortable in your skin is one of the most important pieces to gain happiness in life. We’re so consumed with how others tell us we SHOULD be that we often forget who we really are.
I’m a pretty confident, independent woman, but over the past year, I’ve grown even more into this zone of happiness. Because of all the work I’ve done in shaping my thought patterns, I now see myself in a new light. I’m not concerned with how many “likes” I get. I don’t worry about what others think about me, the way I look, dress, etc… I decide things based upon how it will make me feel. If it feels good to me, then I’ll do it. That’s really the core foundation of authenticity. When you get to this point in life, you feel as though you float through the world. It will attract others to your energy as its light and happy, and most of all fully present in the moment. I have random strangers come up and converse with me more than ever because of the energy this gives off. It’s really quite outstanding and fun, to be honest.
I’ve always been a bit of a rocker/alternative chick. (I never really considered myself as any one thing, to be honest. I’m just me.) Recently, I’ve been feeling it even more so. I don’t push it away or get concerned people won’t like this side. Why? Because it feels good to me. It feels authentic. That’s all that matters.
Do you fully embrace who you are? The more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more you attract the things you desire in your life. Like attracts like.
Did You Know?
70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their lives.
What constitutes a “traumatic event”?
- An event in which an individual experiences a threat (actual or perceived) of death or serious injury to himself or others.
Feeling afraid is a natural response. Your body’s nervous system is designed to automatically respond to danger. So it’s normal to feel upset if something happens to you or someone you know. It becomes a trauma when the feeling continues for weeks or months
Ready for the real kicker?
- 1 in 5 individuals who have experienced a trauma will develop PTSD.
(And if you don’t think you know anyone who has or had PTSD, you know me, and I’m one of them.)
This means a couple of things:
- Be mindful of how you treat one another. Seriously. If the vast majority of us have experienced a trauma in our lives, could we perhaps be kinder to one another knowing this fact? Your verbal insults have no place in a society filled with individuals who have experienced trauma.
- Reflect on your life and the trauma(s) you might have experienced. Have you truly worked through it or just ignored it, hoping for it to go away on its own? Speaking from experience, I tried to do the latter and wound up experiencing 4 nervous breakdowns (including one last year, which was unexpected, as they usually are). You can not use your trauma as an excuse to deflect your pain onto others. No, sir/ma'am.
Hold yourself accountable for your own mental health. There are countless resources available to you. It’s a choice you make to put your mental health as #1 on the list. Your trauma is not a crutch.
Would You Rather?
...never use your phone again
never laugh again?
I need laughter. It’s not a want. It’s a need. If you know me, I laugh all the time. Laughter increases the endorphins that are released by your brain. It activates and relieves your stress response. So I definitely would choose laughter over my phone.
Make Humor Great Again
A woman went to her doctor, complaining that her husband is 300% impotent.
The doctor puzzled said, “I’m not sure I understand what do you mean.”
She answered, “Well, the first 100% you can imagine. In addition, he burned his tongue and broke his finger!”