It’s been said that all diseases arise in the mind. The mind is powerful – it’s like a wild beast. When untamed, it’s dangerous and can turn against us. When tamed, the same mind begins to serve us allowing us to achieve immense feats in both personal and professional areas. An untamed mind makes us emotionally vulnerable.
Perhaps the biggest deficits of an emotionally vulnerable person is mental resilience – the ability to interact with others and handle situations with a balanced mind. This deficit can lead us to a kind of toxicity in our mental landscape, the one holding memories – conscious or not – of unpleasant past experiences.
Emotional vulnerability drives us to make more and more unpleasant memories as we encounter difficult people and situations in life. The more unpleasant experiences we have, the more emotional baggage we take on to carry for the rest of our lives… unless we notice the situation and decide to fix it.
Lack of mental resilience voids us of psychic boundaries thus allowing holes to be poked into our being. This deficiency leads to emotional toxicity compromising our physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The good news is there are several ways to address this predicament.
Depending on how serious you are about your health, there are a few ways to alleviate your emotional baggage and make a fresh start. I am listing them down in the order of least to most effective based on personal experience. We all have different levels of capacity and tolerance for adopting change. It should serve you well to start with the simplest and work your way to the most sophisticated method to achieve sustained improvements to your emotional wellness.
#5: Distraction Strategy
Sometimes you just want to get away from a challenging situation and at times that’s exactly what you need. Listening to music, going out with friends or family, watching movies, being in nature… there are a million ways to distract your mind from offending situations. And on some occasions, that’s all you can really afford… unless you work on developing mindfulness.
Creating external noise to drown out internal one is not the best strategy but it may work temporarily in some situations. As soon as you’re back into your mundane world, your problems will be right there waiting for you to resolve them. If you want sustained effects, you must continue to seek something that would give you more concrete results.
#4: Active Meditation
There are several meditation techniques that can also help achieve an escape from life’s problems. You can practice fixedly gazing at a candle flame. Or you can use visualization techniques, listen to a sound or chant a mantra repeatedly to focus your mind. The idea is to have your attention fixated on a repeating visual, vocal or auditory input.
Such techniques have been scientifically shown to improve vagal nerve activity and also increase the production of happy hormones like serotonin, in your body. They offer a quick and easy way to relax your body and mind. The disadvantage is that these techniques do not reduce your emotional baggage or improve mental resilience. At best, they can overlay your underlying emotional toxicity with good vibrations allowing to cope with life while still carrying on your emotional burden.
In some scenarios, there are kinks in your thought process. You have goals but your thoughts are too fragmented to put together a plan that would lead to them. Or you’re just too bogged down by unresolved events in your life to move on. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone who can view things from the outside-in and offer perspectives. That’s when talking to a coach can help.
Coaches are trained in leading people to a solution whether it’s coming out of an emotional abyss or achieving career goals. A good coach will be there to listen to you, a great coach will help you sort through your clutter of ideas, organize them, and put them into an action plan that would get things done. Again, it could be an exercise in self-acceptance, improving relationships, or achieving career objectives.
When you need someone to not just listen but also guide you using a mature perspective and personal life experience, turn to a coach.
#2: Emotion Release
We all experience emotional trauma many times in our lives. While we’re able to let go of some experiences, others stick around with us influencing our behavior and affecting choices.
Although the term emotion has been described as energy in motion, certain situations can actually make this energy get stuck in our system. These stuck or “trapped” emotions reside as energy fields in different parts of our body affecting that region physically.
These trapped emotions also seem to have a chemical component to them which influences our physiology at the biochemical level. Many diseases can be attributable, at least in part, to the physical and chemical stress caused by this situation.
Using techniques like Emotion Code®, these offending stuck emotions can be systematically released from the body freeing you of the stress they were causing. A typical session may take anywhere between 10-30 minutes and most people feel immediate effects. Some describe the experience as having something heavy lifted off of their shoulders.
Emotion Code® is a process of progressively peeling layers and layers of trapped emotions. Not all of these stuck emotions are available to be released at once and the body always needs to recuperate between sessions. Like with anything worthwhile, multiple sessions over a period of few weeks are recommended to reduce the instances of these stuck emotional energies.
Techniques like Emotion Code® can certainly reduce your emotional baggage allowing you to carry on with life without the influence of these detrimental energies. However, there is something deeper underlying our reactions that caused us to generate (or absorb) offending emotions to begin with.
Working on clearing this predisposition is what gives us the mental resilience that’s truly helpful in not only self-resolving our previous emotional baggage but also setting a scene for avoiding any in the future. For that, you need to learn the art of mindfulness as taught in the practice of Vipassana meditation.
#1: Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness has been described as the art of doing nothing. Something beautiful happens when we slow down and being to observe the experience of life. Something that we can observe not externally with eyes but feel it within ourselves. The practice of Vipassana meditation teaches us to do just that.
Vipassana means to see things as they really are. As with other forms of meditation, an object is chosen to fixate your awareness. However, instead of something external, we choose either our breath or bodily sensations to observe continually.
The skill in question is to see things without any judgment or preconceived notions about what we find in our observations. In observing breath, for example, if the breath seems shallow, we don’t analyze why it is so. We just observe. When observing sensations, if we find we’re feeling an itch or a twitch, we don’t wonder why. We just observe.
Like this, we continue observing for as long as we can without letting our mind wander off. In fact, if the mind does wander off, wee don’t judge our abilities or fret about it, we just bring it back to the task of observation. That’s it. Observe and repeat.
What’s unique about constant awareness of a natural phenomenon that one can also experience is that it leads to a level of concentration unparalleled by any other technique. This concentration is so deep and pure that it begins to breakdown past experiences unearthing the patterns that led to our emotional responses during those incidents. The depth of concentration allows us to feel the sensations that we’re ordinarily unaware of at the conscious level. This process of mindfulness bridges the gap between our conscious and unconscious minds.
These patterns that are unearthed then emerge in the form of varying breath or sensations. As our conscious mind maintains equanimity while feeling different sensations, it begins to blunt our reaction time. The net effect is clearing of harmful tendencies that literally drive our emotional life. As these patterns clear, you’re no longer influenced by them which changes how you behave and respond to different situations in real life.
In the end, the practice of Vipassana help you clear underlying dis-serving emotional patterns while also developing mental resilience for the rest of your life.
Sustained results require more work. You’re never going to find long-term relief from life’s problems by looking outside of yourself. No matter what your issues are and how bad you want to resolve them, the first step to moving in the right direction is identifying that there is a problem. From there you can use the techniques discussed above to decide which direction you want to take to help yourself.