Updated: Apr 13
I have been hearing more and more often from clients that they are feeling overwhelmed, unsure of which tools to use when, and struggling to fit everything in. Feelings of not being good enough are arising when they don't fit everything in, which then lead to automatic negative thoughts & beliefs about self that get in the way of moving forward. There is an underlying pressure driving their behaviour, and a rigidity in thinking that things have to be done perfectly in order to get benefits. This underlying pressure gets in the way of making progress. We can be going through the motions of doing all the "right" things, but when there is a force behind those things that feeds the maladaptive brain pathways it can be difficult to make progress. Often the person ends up putting even more pressure on themselves because they aren't making the headway they want, and it becomes a vicious cycle. The more they push, the less they progress, the more frustrated they become, leading to pushing even more.
Sometimes that driving force can be subtle. It may be a voice in the background that subtly affects our actions and behaviours, and how we feel about ourselves as we are going through this process. It can be the voice that has keeps us researching or looking for the next tool to add to our arsenal, pressures us to use everything we've learned instead of picking and choosing what best suits us or our current situation. It can be the little voice in the background saying "that's not good enough" or "you're not doing enough" while you are engaging in the tools that you've learned. Other times the driving force is more overt and can be felt in the pit of your stomach or in a feeling of anxiety and a strong impulse to do more. We can plaster a smile on our faces, elevate our emotions on the surface, all the while underneath there is this raging river of neurochemistry competing with the good we are trying to create.
If you can relate to any of what I have just said, then perhaps it is time to hit the pause button for a moment and reflect on what is going to serve you best in moving forward. A good starting point is to take a moment of self compassion. Recognize that we are human and we are doing the best that we can. Right now might be a difficult time. Sometimes things go easily and other times they don't, and that is the nature of life. It's not personal, even though it may feel like it. The Gupta program focuses on acceptance and surrender, rather than resisting and fighting with what is. Acceptance and surrender does not mean that we resign to the way things are and don't work towards change. It simply means we are no longer wasting our energy on fighting with what is. Surrendering our experience to a higher power or some "representation of love" (as Gupta puts it) allows us to lift the weight off our shoulders, to feel that we are not alone in our journey, that we are supported in this process. By surrendering that which feels heavy or frustrating, we are creating the space and freeing up the energy necessary to make changes and move forward. We are also releasing the pressure on ourselves and the neurochemistry that goes along with it. We can accomplish this through our intention, actively letting go and releasing the tension in our bodies, or through visualization and/or meditations.
When it comes to deciding what tools to use and how much to do, remember that all the tools that you have learned in regard to changing your brain & your symptoms fall under the broader category of brain retraining. While some programs are very rigid in how they implement their tools (and there is some value to that in the first six months of training), it is the underlying principles of brain retraining being applied regularly that matters. It doesn't matter if you do that through DNRS or Gupta, through the Primal Trust Mentorship, Joe Dispenza's work, Laughter Yoga and other forms of elevating your emotional state, tapping and other ways of interrupting automatic negative thoughts and behaviours & installing new ones. Ultimately, it all comes down to the interruption of the old pathways, the activation and reinforcement of new ones, and the repetition of this throughout the day from a place of self understanding. Think of the tools in your toolbox as a buffet. You get to pick and choose which ones to use. You do not have to use everything, and you are not failing if you don't use everything you've learned all of the time. So long as you are meeting the basic requirements listed above, there is a lot of room for flexibility in how you implement brain retraining.
If, after reading the various programs or tools you could use (listed above), your brain went to, "Oh, I should learn about that" or ""I don't know that one. I'll have to look it up." just smile at yourself, place your hand on your heart, acknowledge that this is that driving force we're discussing, and know that you already have what you need. Lots of people reach an optimal level of recovery using only one program. And if you have done several programs, then great! Pick the tools that you find the most beneficial and work with those for a while. Scale back on trying to do too many things. Instead, simplify. Chose a few things as your go-to for your daily routines and stick with them for a while. Resist the urge to add more or feel the need to constantly change it up. Re-evaluate is a few weeks or a month, and decide then if there are changes you wish to make.
Ultimately, the more we can slow it down, take the pressure off, keep it simple, treat ourselves gently, and engage in the implementation rather than the decision making/thoughts around what to do, the better off we will be.
Until next time!
If you have a question, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at www.candywiddifield.com