Please, just hear me out.
You can judge me once I've laid out why this is 100% true (& you are more than welcome to tell me just how much you disagree at the bottom in the comments below - just keep it clean otherwise I'll have to delete it).
Stress, depression & anxiety are a choice:
Every second of every minute of every day you have the option to either dwell in negativity, worry and overwhelm which epitomises these three difficulties, or choose to live in the present moment.
Now, I absolutely agree with you, this really does sound like 'new age mumbo jumbo'.
All this talk of 'the present moment' is definitely barking up the 'wishy washy' tree of lifestyle coaches and gurus.
The problem is - they really do have a point...
Physically, your emotions lasts just 90 seconds & you make it last minutes, hours or days...
Dr. Bolte Taylor (a Harvard brain neuroanatomist) found that when we experience something which triggers an emotional reaction in the brain after 90 seconds the physiological 'chemical component' has completely dissipated. The only reason we continue to feel the emotion is because of the continued focus on the triggered thoughts which follow the initial emotional spark.
What's really, interesting is that depending on what emotional response is triggered dictates how long we tend to 'ruminate' and continue to feel the emotion. Verduyn & Lavrijsen (2015), found that sadness, lasts 120 times longer than emotions such as fear, shame and disgust. But it's not all bad news as emotions some positive emotions such as hope, contentment and joy last between 24 & 35 times longer than humiliation, irritation and anger.
Their research showed that both the importance placed on the event trigger by an individual and their continued thoughts about the event accounted for almost 50% of the difference between the length of time the emotions lasted
If it's a choice, then it must be easy to stop thinking negatively?
Don't worry, I'll not leave you hanging - but it's important to remember that word - particularly if you know anyone who is struggling to manage their emotions, and especially if they have a diagnosed mental health difficulty.
Your subconscious is the driving force of your life (it doesn't play fair!)
We have 2 parts to our brain; the subconscious and the conscious. The conscious is the part we use to make active decisions and choices about our day to day life and the subconscious is the part that influences those choices. The subconscious is like that annoying person who swipes every single property they land on in Monopoly regardless of whether it's going to further their cause or not. It literally consumes everything - even when you are not paying attention.
In fact, most neurosceintists, psychologists, psychiatrists and pretty much everyone else now agrees that 95% of what we do is controlled by the part of our brain we're not actively conrolling...
OK., this sounds really scary but let's engage the left hemisphere for a little bit and think about it logically.
It controls your ability to think, breathe, walk, eat, generate cells, not fall over, not walk into things (although this part in my brain malfunctions regularly, even without the aid of alcohol...).
Anyway, I'm sure you get where I'm going with this?
Our subconsious being in control is really helpful.
But, sometimes it goes a little overboard.
It's primary job is to keep us alive (whoo!).
If however, my subconscious believes that getting out of bed is going to result in my death (which may happen if for example; yesterday I got out of bed and tripped over something, narrowly escaping going down the stairs and certain death) it will do everything in it's power to keep me in bed. It may fill my head with horrific negative thoughts and replay the previous days event over and over (depresison &/or PTSS), worrying/fearful thoughts (anxiety), stop my legs from working, give me a headache...
Now, in this moment I have a choice - I can push through and still get out of bed or I can listen to everything my subconscious is throwing at me and slowly start on the downward spiral towards mental illness.
If your subconscious wasn't enough, your emotions are also super sneaky and hell bent on keeping you stuck...
Your emotions play havoc with your ability to recall the memories from your subconscious.
"...emotions are believed to play a role in determining whether we can recall a stored memory at the time we try to revisit it." (Psychologist World)
Back to the me falling out of bed scenario - even if I had successfully got out of bed for 32 years (I am older than that, but even I can't get myself out of bed as a baby...) if yesterdays almost death was so emotionally imprinted onto my conscious I would not be able to access these 'successful' days. All that I can see, think and feel is the disaster which befell me the day before.
There is no way on this earth, I'm getting out of bed!
In conclusion, right now, you have 5% control
If you do nothing and continue to go about your day as you have in the past then nothing will change.
However, if you make one small change, one slightly different decision you will start yourself on a journey which gives you an awful lot more than 5% control over your emotions.
There are so many different things you can do to increase your control (& I'll be revealing the 'top 5 things you need to do every morning to overcome stress, depression & anxiety' in next weeks blog post so make sure you keep your eyes peeled).
But, there is only 1 thing you can do which will guarantee your success in banishing stress, depression & anxiety for good ...
The 1 thing that will guarantee you overcome stress, depression and anxiety -
Choose to believe that you are in control.
Choose to believe you can influence and change the way you are thinking, acting and behaving.
Choose to remind yourself every day that your emotions are the result of a chemical reaction in your body and after 90 seconds you can simply choose a different emotion.
Have an amazing week & I'll see you next week to take you that one step further, Katie x
p.s. if you don't want to miss out on next weeks post 'the top 5 things you need to do every morning to overcome stress, depression & anxiety' simply enter your details below to have it delivered straight to your inbox:
Psychologist World (n.d.). Emotions and Memory. Psychologist World. Retrieved 14/03/2018 from: https://www.psychologistworld.com/emotion/emotion-memory-psychology
Taylor, J.B. (2009) My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist's Personal Journey. Hodder Paperbacks. UK.
Rymenant, M. (2008) 95 percent of brain activity is beyond our conscious awareness. Simplifying Interfaces. Retrieved 14/03/2018 from: http://www.simplifyinginterfaces.com/2008/08/01/95-percent-of-brain-activity-is-beyond-our-conscious-awareness/
Verduyn, P., & Lavrijsen, S. (2015). Which emotions last longest and why: The role of event importance and rumination. Motiv Emot 39:119-127 retreived 14/03/2018 from: https://ppw.kuleuven.be/okp/_pdf/Verduyn2015WELLA.pdf