The year 2020 has been an emotional challenge for almost everyone. Covid19 has created financial uncertainty for some, isolation for others, and disruption to the family system. The political drama has stretched people’s emotions thinner than a fully elongated rubber band. These types of stressors tend to bring on heightened amounts of anxiety, anger, and depression.
We don’t have to be at the mercy of our emotions. A Course in Miracles teaches us that all negative feelings come from fear — the home of the unhealthy ego. It’s only natural to feel afraid when something scary happens, but we certainly don’t have to stay there.
When you are upset, you can choose to treat yourself with love or harm. One is likely to keep you healthy, the other sick.
The Choice for Love
We can’t keep blaming external events for our emotional states. There are things we can control and things we can’t. Even when life seems entirely out of control, there’s plenty that can be done to feel healthy and safe.
No one will ensure your safety better than yourself.
The first action we can take is control over our own bodies. There is more to staying healthy than wearing masks, hand sanitizers, and avoiding large crowds.
Rather than putting toxic substances and excessive amounts of bad foods in our bodies, now is a good time to stop bad habits that lead to addictions and ill health. While many people are medicating their feelings with things that aren’t good for them, others are replacing those unhealthy habits with nutritious food, exercise, and even quit smoking, drinking, and drugging.
The second proactive measure we can take is to gain control over our minds. When bad things happen, it’s only natural to have visceral reactions. It’s our thoughts that create our physical responses, and the more fearful thoughts we have, the more our body stays agitated.
If we remain preoccupied with things that we don’t want, we keep the body in an uneasy and anxious state. Instead, you can focus your thoughts on other things.
If your mind is racing from one negative thought to the next, you can choose to be an observer rather than a reactor. Notice your thoughts and focus on something positive rather than an imaginary disaster. Staying in the reality of what is actually happening rather than what you fear might happen will help keep you calm. Rather than picturing yourself on an incubator in the hospital, visualize yourself as healthy and enjoying the comforts of your own home. Rather than imagining that the election outcome is the end of the world, focus on making your world as honest and wholesome as you possibly can.
Meditation and relaxation recordings are also a way to train your mind to stay calm, and your body relaxed (see www.drdonnamarks.com for free audios).
The third important step is to give up on who’s right or wrong. There are facts and fiction. We can’t see every aspect of every situation, but there is a divine intelligence that does keep a sense of order and balance in the universe. Trusting the process, whether or not you like the results, will help you to practice acceptance and advance spiritually.
Acceptance doesn’t mean complacency; it means doing your small part on this planet and then restraining from the need to have things a certain way. Everything is temporary. When something ends, you can grieve, move forward, or continue to want something that does not exist.
Loving yourself means you embrace your pain, let it flow through and out of you, and then that emptiness can fill with peace.
It’s always a choice — love or fear: happiness or misery.
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Donna Marks is an educator and licensed psychotherapist and addictions counselor in Palm Beach, Florida. She has worked with over 6,000 clients. Donna’s struggle with addiction brought her to a worldwide search for healing. She became licensed as a Mental Health Counselor in 1987. In 1989, she earned a Doctorate Degree in Adult Education, then became Certified in Addictions, Gestalt Therapy, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis, and Sex Therapy. Donna developed an award-winning addiction training program at Palm Beach Community College. She co-owned an outpatient treatment program and is a consultant to treatment centers. For 30 years, she has taught A Course in Miracles. Donna is the author of two books: Learn, Grow, Forgive: A Path to Spiritual Success, and the multi-award-winning title: Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure.
To find out more about Dr. Marks’ unique approach to draining the value out of any addiction visit https://drdonnamarks.com/etm/ and receive a FREE copy of her award-winning book “Exit the Maze: One Addiction, One Cause, One Cure.” (You just cover shipping and handling).
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