If you know me, you'll probably know that I'm OBSESSED with all things self-development and because of my crappy formative years, I made the decision some time back that happiness is key for me!
And people often say to me things like 'so, are you just happy now?!' to which I always respond with words to the effect of No, 'it's something I purposefully focus on every day'. Because it is! You can't just go to the gym for two weeks in your twenties and then be fit for life (might be nice though right?!) You've gotta go, then go again, then like hit repeat for the rest of your days!!!! And it's the same with happiness, feeling fulfilled and all that.
Which brings me to the point of this post.....a little while back I had dental surgery and I kid you not when I tell you it was a joyous experience for me. Because here's the thing: you can't focus in two places at once. And before, during and after my dental surgery my key focus was APPRECIATION. And you know what, you can't be in fear when your'e appreciating! You can't be sad either, or worried, or experience any other negative emotion!
And because I eat, sleep and breathe this stuff- seriously it's my life blood! Here's what I did.....firstly, my general demeanour is one of regular apperception so this flowed over into the whole dentist thing....then, before the event I practised my 'I want to feel....' exercise which simply involves taking a little time to think 'I want to feel...' and then filling in the gap with the feelings you want e.g. calm, at ease, appreciative, relaxed and so on...I ADORE this process. It's so simple and yet SO powerful. I liken it to putting the address in your sat-nav before setting off- it guides your brain - tells it where you want to get to!
Then, on the way to the dentist I listened to some of my favourite relaxing music and spent the drive appreciating: appreciating the fact that I was lucky enough to afford to do the surgery, that the dentist and his team were lovely, that I would get to have a shiny new implant soon, that the process exists at all, that I was able to find the time to do it...and so on...blah, blah, blah....
And while I was in the dentist, you might just be able to guess what I did! Yup, more of the same! I APPRECIATED the backside off that experience....the fact that the clinic is so pleasant, just how lovely the nurse was, how efficiently it was run, the character and expertise of the dentist....and on and on.....So sure, I WAS having dental surgery but I wasn't focused on the gum cutting and drilling and all that (remember you can't focus in two places at once!) So I wasn't bothered by it!
Sure, it was relatively easy for me because I've practised this stuff SO much, plus I didn't start with a fear of dentists. BUT, fact is, anyone can take this approach to anything. And the bottom line is you can't focus in two places at the same time. You also can't really ignore anything (as soon as you try to ignore that thing, without realising it, you're thinking about that thing 'n all that!!) What you can do though is create a new focus and build on this!
And of course you can apply this to anything...like a fear of flying. Of course, if you're getting ready to go on a flight and your mind is filled with worries about plane crashes you're going to feel anxious. BUT, focus on how lovely it'll be when you arrive, how lucky you are to get to go away, what a nice break it'll be, and guess what- you're going to feel different! Have an operation coming up? If you worry about what might go wrong, how much pain you'll be in afterwards, whether it'll work etc...you're going to feel, well bad! BUT, spend your mind energy focusing on how appreciative of the surgeon you are, wondering what improvements it will bring, looking forward to being healed....you get the picture right?!
What I will say, is you've got to get in early with this stuff. You can't wait until you're on the plane, about to take off, panicked to the eye balls before think about yourself sipping mojitos when you arrive- THIS IS TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE. But, get in early and you CAN do it....
It's not the thing or person or situation that causes your response it's your attitude towards it, and that's the bit you can control- and I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty darn awesome!
Have a great day. With much love,