Explore Your Ego – Positive Vibes Series

It would be helpful if every time you act upon your impulsive ego, a holographic screen appears in front of your eyes, which would shed light on “why” and outlines the motive! Or, perhaps, you go through an out of body experience to watch how you are entrapped in heedless and primitive impulses, which impel you to be helpless and act irrationally. Possibly, in the future, with the help of technology, you will be able to materialize such visual awareness. Till then, you might as well resort to certain practices that will push you to another level of existence, far beyond hopeless confusion.

First of all, let’s reflect on the sense of ego; whether delving into Eastern philosophy or psychoanalysis, both recognize that uncontrolled and impulsive ego will lead to suffering. 

Moving through different stages of ego to become the best version of yourself is not an easy path. The truth is that if you are lucky, life will sweep you through nasty havoc that will wound your self-identity and crush your image. A breakdown that can lead to a breakthrough by feeding the ideal self. Now, rising from the ashes is to take responsibility for your wellbeing. It starts with realizing that your thoughts are tainted by subjectivity and emotions since your mind has found security in the sense of belonging to the wrong structures, misinterpreted values, and egocentric pursuits.

While you are climbing up the spiral staircase of your spiritual evolution, I suggest you observe and question your motives, your triggers, contradictions, and practice the following transformational self-help:

  • Gain clarity by self-reflection and self-criticism – question your goal; if you feel uneasy about your reactions, cross-examine yourself to align your intent to your essence. Self-analysis is not about beating up oneself or agonizing but to understand the triggers, your role in the event, and blowing away the pollution so that the image of your intentions becomes sharp and transparent. The focus should be on you and not others.
  •  See yourself from another perspective – use abstract thinking to match your motives to your best possible self. That entails imagining your future “Self” in unpleasant circumstances only when channeling your energy to shield your best version. By setting unwavering rules to be of service to all, however, is possible and live as a human, your future “Self” releases toxic struggles and replace the void with contentment.
  • Question the expectations – step back and reassess your approach and your expectations and how they connect to the problem. By re-evaluating the expectations, you will recognize the difference whether they are conventional & reactionary or wise and tolerant.

Remember, you cannot fill the bowl with water if it is turned upside down. To be fully alive is to be well-disposed to “Self” and others. The key is to question your motives every time the destructive “Self”/ “ego” appears. Taking a volunteering leap to an inspired “Self” means using your knowledge, patiently, and for good. Have grit, as the journey is bumpy, and evidently, the spiral staircase will not get more comfortable. You will fall back a few steps, and you will be aware of your limitations. However, regardless of the hardships, this time, with conviction and a humbled “ego,” you know how to get up quickly and how to wipe up the dust. Finally, as you go further, you realize that gratitude and generosity are your mental tools to serve and use your power to benefit others so that you act like an intelligent being.

Featured image by Tom Roberts

Emotions Are Data, Use Them Wisely! Positive Vibes Series

Do you feel every emotion that slithers, left, and right in your brain’s hemispheres? Do you understand them? Do you even recognize them?
Every day, you go through different emotions; sometimes, you are mindful and, other times, impulsive. You express your feelings based on expectations, history, your yearning desires, anxieties, or virtues. However, the issue arises when you are oblivious or ignore the specific emotion; hence your response to remedy the unsettling disposition or the activity you engage in is polluted and possibly destructive.

Emotion is data that you should identify, interpret, and use as an asset. 

Being sensitive towards your emotional response does not always indicate that you process your feelings accurately, nor toxically reacting confirms your assumptions. However, if you take the time to probe into your subconscious, astonishingly, you can manage your reactions by sifting through your beliefs. Most people do not dare to take on a task as it will take them to a sad place where they come to face the undesired parts of their psyche. Neglected emotions or merely having difficulty to label them is dispiriting and harmful. Since ignored emotions amount to negative interpretations that reinforce distressful behaviour patterns. A chain reaction that can be set right by untangling the mess in our minds.

Art by Mikoo Raima

So how to unravel your emotions?

  • Acknowledge that emotions are part of life; they are part of being human
  • Emotions do not last forever
  • Emotions teach you different aspects of yourself and things
  • Learn to describe and label your emotions
  • Keep a diary of your thoughts

How to navigate your emotions?

Albert Ellis, a rational-emotive psychologist, believed that our unrealistic interpretation of events creates an irrational belief system that will encourage negative emotional responses. Once you verify your negative emotions through journalling, re-examine your assumptions:

  • Make a conscious decision to identify and evaluate your mental representation of the world around you.
  • Re-consider your information processing based on the possibility that your way of thinking might be faulty.
  • Write your assumptions with the aid of the ABC Technique of Irrational Beliefs.

Draw three columns: A – B – C

A – Activating event: In this column, record the situation that leads to dysfunctional thinking or reaction

B – Belief: In the second column, write the negative thoughts

C – Consequences: The third column describes the emotions and the negative thoughts prompted by (A)

For instance: (A) You have failed an exam (B) You must have good grades, or you are worthless (C) You are depressed.

Once you discern the irrational belief, challenge the negative thoughts by reframing them. In the above example, the absurd notion leading to self-contempt caused by not getting a good grade should be re-interpreted by adopting a positive attitude to manage the negative emotion sensibly. Your focus should be on finding solutions to improve your grades, for instance, tweak your study strategy, improve on your time management, and many more productive ideas so that you consciously erase mistaken assumptions and misconceptions about yourself.

Art by Mikko Raima

Occasionally, we settle with our habitual beliefs and negative biases. If you do not manage your unfounded assumptions, your well-being will go through disruption and not in the right way.
The key to processing your emotions requires honesty with yourself. Emotional transparency, whether through self-help or reaching out to a therapist, will reveal your patterns and tendencies. With careful self-examination, the clear-sighted premises will serve you to process your emotions effectively.

Art by Mikko Raima

Change Negative Thoughts Instantly!

“Our views of our body image – what’s on the outside – are directly affected by our emotions on the inside.”

Dr Alan Watkins

Are you feeling stressed out? Are you facing challenges? Are you having negative thoughts about how things are going? Do you have a poor body image that affects how you present yourself?

Next time you are riding on the negativity rollercoaster, notice the mindless chatter that is taking over your cognitive reasoning. Recognize that tension and anxiety are the sources that are stirring up the useless inner voice that signals destructive criticism. This negativity is unrealistic, and if it is not challenged, it will consume your health, your immune system and turn you into a self-absorbed toxic person who is unaware of the world around them. So be aware!

Introspection and shifting your mindset to a positive state can be achieved through myriads of ways. There are lots of self-help books, treatments, training, and the list goes on. However, it is possible to remedy the way we feel at any moment of the day! You can control the rush of negative thoughts and tensions in the heat of the moment by shifting your focus to your heart’s physiology.

Dr. Alan Watkins, a leadership expert, neuroscientist & CEO of Complete Coherence, explains that we can balance our emotions by controlling our breath. He further points out the connection between the optimum level of our performance and our physiology. Therefore, to reach our “A game,” we need to get a grip of our different psychological and physical layers:

Performance – To be at our best, we need to change our behavior.

Behaviour – To change our behavior, we have to change the way we think.

Thoughts – Our feelings influence our thoughts.

Feelings – Our feelings are the awareness of our emotions.

Emotions – Emotion is the energy in motion from all the streams of data,

Physiology – Streams of data produced by functions and mechanism within our body,

Therefore, in a stressful situation, practicing rhythmic and smooth breathing to regain a coherent heart rate pattern allows the flow of data in our body to function without a blockage. Due to our ancient survival instinct, our frontal lobe shuts off as the time intervals’ variation between the heartbeats increases. Once you master the smooth and rhythmic breathing, you have set the ground to gain control over the fabric of your mind. As a result, the mixed self-help efforts or developmental training exerted on those psychological layers will help you stay alert and energetic to give your best. Only with practice, in an anxious state, you can steer your heart rate variability to an ideal pace so that your brain regains its clarity. The emphasis should be to breathe in measured, regular, and smooth intervals to have a coherent heart rate pattern.

Now that you are aware of the connections and most importantly, you have the elixir of control, next time you are restless and on edge, you know precisely what to do: zoom out of the negative perception of your body or mind and zoom in to your heart and breathing rhythm.

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Featured image courtesy of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the galaxy Marvin