Mental Illness is Not Black & White

How do you feel when you hear the term, Mental Illness?

Are you so far removed from it that it doesn’t affect you and you don’t relate to those who have been clinically diagnosed with a mental illness?  Or do you jump into Google and the DSM-5 and diagnose yourself with mental illness?  Do you look at the traits and get scared, because you see yourself in the criteria for diagnosis? What if you fall somewhere in the middle, like most of us, somewhere in the gray zone?

What if we all, to some extent, struggle with mental “illness” and mental “challenges?”

When I was in the diagnostic courses in my Graduate and Post-Graduate education, I would think, “Holy crap…I have depression…and I have anxiety…and I’m a little OCD…”  Then I was told to not fall prey to “Psychology Student Disorder,” where you will start self-diagnosing, as you see parts of yourself in many of the mental disorders.

We need to look at those with mental challenges as not so different from ourselves. Then we can start to have compassion for them and, in turn, have self-compassion that we are not immune to the inner struggles that arise from our own mental states.

By seeing where we’re connected and not separate, we employ some much-needed humanity into the picture.

So, let me put my money where my mouth is.  Let’s looks at a few of the disorders and a little bit of their criteria.  See if you can relate to any of the traits used for diagnosis:

– Intellectual Disability:

Deficits in intellectual functioning…abstract thinking, problem solving, etc. Are you strong in one area and weak in another?  Aren’t you supposed to be?

– Depression:

Ever had a loss?  Ever felt like you didn’t want to get out of bed…had no interest in or pleasure in your daily life?  Me too. If you’ve grieved, you’ve experienced depression.

– Anxiety:

Ever worried about a loved one, an illness, your finances, flying in an airplane, taking a test?  If you’ve worried about any of these or your future, you’ve experienced anxiety.

– Body Image Issues:

Do you ever get preoccupied with one or more parts of your body that you struggle with?  Pimples?  Your hair?  Areas you consider fat?  Your nose? Do you imagine if your outsides are perfect, you won’t struggle with your insides?

– Narcissism:

Do you find yourself focused on yourself?  Selfies?  How about a sense of entitlement?  Does that make you a narcissist?  Probably not…but that’s some of the criteria in the DSM-5.

– Addiction:

It’s easy to think of alcohol and drugs, but did you know about caffeine intoxication (I have it 🙂) and caffeine withdrawal disorders? If there is something or someone you “can’t live without,” you are probably addicted…just saying.

– Agoraphobia:

Hate to stand in lines?  Me too.  It’s listed in one of the traits for agoraphobia, which is severe anxiety and fear that keeps people from leaving their homes.

– Social Anxiety:

Are you afraid or do you have anxiety about social situations where you might be exposed to scrutiny?  Talking in public?  Meeting a new group of people and wanting to be accepted and liked?  Doesn’t that make you human?  I think so too.

– Food Disorders:

Do you overeat when you’re sad or stop eating when you’re stressed?  Have you ever had a fluctuation in your weight and physical health as a result of your mental stress?

Here’s my point (you’re welcome):  Don’t let a Google search or a book (DSM-5) define you.  You can diagnose yourself so much that you will start to believe your labels.  You can also stigmatize those with severe and moderate mental illness as their problem and not yours.

How about starting to see yourself and others as human with mental challenges?  How about connecting with others and seeing their struggle as your struggle as well?

It’s not black and white. There are so many grey areas of mental and emotional health that clinicians often struggle getting consistent diagnosis.

Lastly, please remember, humans created the criteria to diagnose mental illness.  I’ll bet those humans also struggle with these same issues…and I’m right.

Stop Giving Your Power Away

Does anyone have the power to control yours?  How about when you get mad and say, “He makes me so mad!”  Does “he” really make you mad?

No… no one “makes you” mad.

It’s true that no one, except for yourself, has the power “make you” any feeling:  Happy, sad, angry, elated…I can’t think of any more (it’s late…I’ll do better next time 🙂).

You have more power than you know.

What would happen if you quit giving that power to others and stopped believing that they control how you act, think, and feel?

Understanding that you are responsible for how you feel will empower and liberate you from your belief that your feelings are in the hands of others.

What about this one?  “You can’t make me!”  True again.  You can’t “make me” anything (we’re talking feelings and emotions here, folks…this isn’t a bank robbery).  You can’t make me happy, love you, hate you, respect you, trust you, anything you.

Do you have the belief that someone is currently “making you” uncomfortable, upset, happy, or mad?

It might feel like they are, but they aren’t.

What’s “making you” feel any of those things is how you’re feeling and experiencing yourself in relation to that person.  You’re internalizing your experience as uncomfortable, upset, happy, or mad…and all of that is your responsibility, not theirs.

A fundamental understanding of this concept can have a great positive effect on how you navigate your relationships.

You will stand in your truth and quit making others responsible for your experiences of your life.

You will stop getting fooled into believing that have so much power that they are the reason that you feel happy, sad, loved, despised, etc.  Not one person “completes you.”  You already are complete and perfect, but you’re telling yourself, “without that person, I am partial/broken.”  That statement is a loss of your innate power.

Let me break this down into bite size pieces. Let’s go back to our initial statement, “You make me angry.”  Say instead, “When you act like that, I experience myself getting angry.”  Here’s some other ones:

Here’s your story: Say instead:
“I love you.” “When I’m with you, I feel awesome. I feel love.”
“I hate him.” “When I’m with him, I feel icky, I can’t stand how I feel.”
“You make me happy.” “When I’m with you, I feel happy.”
“She lies to me.” “She lies to herself. I see it and have a choice to not make that about me and set boundaries. ”
“You hurt me.” “I felt hurt when you did what you did.”
“You betrayed me.” “You betrayed the values of our relationship.”
“You let me down.” “My expectations I placed on you let me down.”

When people do something that you don’t like, such as lie, cheat, or disappoint, they didn’t do anything “to you.”

They did something that went against your values and they more than likely did not meet your expectations…your values and your expectations, not necessarily theirs.

And if that person has done something that you consider has really crossed a line, you have a choice…to work it out and stay in the relationship, to stay in the relationship with some added boundaries, or to bless them (and yourself) and walk away completely.

Your life…your choice…your power.

People are going to be people.  Let them be them.  You just keep doing and being you.

The Importance of Finding Balance

I had what Oprah would call, a “lightbulb moment” this week.  Actually, that phrase doesn’t do it justice.  A sledgehammer?  I’m not sure.  What I do know is that I discovered something that I’m hoping will create what I constantly speak about, more peace and balance in my life.

My discovery happened when I was at a retreat last weekend.  About half way into the first day, I realized that I couldn’t remember the last time that I had a day without work.  As I work from home and do a variety of things, “work” is a bit challenging to define.  I wear many hats…struggle setting work boundaries…constantly in it.  And, because I love my work, truly, it’s hard to not have my head and heart “in it,” even when I’m not in my office.  Yet, I didn’t notice how much of me was consumed by my work until I had a weekend away (after frantically getting my weekly obligations done in four days). My exhale was loud and noticeable.

What has happened for me, and why I share this, is that I believe that many of you might struggle with the same hidden saboteur:

The more I have gotten into my dream-work, the more I have attached “perfectionism” to my work.

My nature is to do things well, but when I get into perfectionism, it’s a way that I hide from being seen.

Reviews, edits, scripting videos, all in an attempt to not make a mistake…to stay hidden. By getting so perfectionistic, I have lost a lot of my flow; I eventually lose my authentic voice, as each edit takes me away from the true nature of my creativity.

The side effect of getting so engrossed in my work is that other things have suffered and taken a backseat.  My fitness has taken a hit…actually, sitting and writing so much has created a very familiar attention-getting pain in my back and my hips.  My playtime has taken a hit…I need to get out and play, enjoy time connecting with awesome people and super-awesome doggies.  My chill-out-ed-ness has taken a hit…this girl has gotten way too serious, which is a disease in itself.  I could go on…I won’t…you’re welcome.

I work and expose my life in an effort to create the world that I seek.

And just as my motto says, that world is within me and I also believe it’s within you.  I believe in self-compassion, and hopefully when you see and feel my work, you will see a part of yourself and not feel alone.

Your struggle is my struggle, your joy is my joy…we are much more alike than we are different.

So, starting this week, I’m taking the pressure off, as the pressure I have placed on myself has become pain…it has become imbalance.  This is not a complaint, but a grateful awareness.  I’m going to keep expressing and creating, with less perfectionism attached (hopefully…God, please 🙏🏻).  Whatever you take from my personal insights, I hope it’s the same as mine…to notice where you have created some unnecessary pressure and readjust.  Because at the end of the day, the goal is to enjoy your awesome life…at least that’s my story.

The Importance of Self-Talk

You’re in luck…this week’s blog is going to be short.  That’s enough celebrating…I didn’t know you’d be this happy.  I must suck at this blogging stuff or you wouldn’t be happy that my blog is short.  If I was good at this, you would want to hear more from me.  Wow, I’m a loser and an idiot.  I don’t know why I haven’t just given up by now…

How do those words resonate with you?  Did it make you feel just a little uncomfortable to read me providing myself such negative counsel?  Or does talk such as that, sound all too familiar?  Is that the way that you speak to yourself when you’re in struggle or insecure?  Are you gentle, kind and compassionate with your insecurities?  Or are you tough on yourself?  You absolutely “expect” more out of yourself.  And when you don’t meet those expectations, you’re the first one to beat yourself down?

How compassionately you speak to yourself is key toward having a happier life.

When you’re in negative self-talk, you receive your words and they hurt. And unfortunately, you might not even be aware that you’re beating yourself down as you’ve always been tough on yourself…your self-talk might feel completely normal as you’ve never learned another way.

But here’s my question to you:

If you heard someone speaking to a young child the way that you speak to yourself, would it be okay?

If your seven-year-old daughter had a falling out with her best friend at school, would you say to her, “Well, there you go…I knew you’d start losing friends at school. I called it years ago…you’re such a loser.”  If you said, “Yes, that’s how I would talk to my daughter,” then we need to have our next conversation about compassionate parenting.  But you didn’t, right?

There is also a little kid inside of you, an inner child, who’s looking to you for validation and affirmation.

That inner child is stumbling yet wants to be courageous and needs your support.  There’s going to be stumbles along the way…they are a part of life and actually become the building blocks to where you want to go.  So, what do you do now?

Choice #1:  Knock yourself down.  Call yourself names and create such negativity that you’ll want to give up.  You’ll say something like, “Oh sure, you always give up when the going gets tough. This is no different.  You’re a joke.”

Choice #2:  Pick yourself up.  To say, “Wow, that was a bummer, but I’m super proud of you (me) for stepping in and taking a risk.  It wasn’t easy, and I know you were scared…that took a lot of courage to walk through…nice job!”

Remember, you hear you.

When you hear your imaginative thoughts, they can either support and validate you or they can constrict and stop you.  Try to be kind to yourself.  Treat yourself the same way that you would a young child.  After all, there’s a young child inside of you that needs your support.

Do You Trust?

So, do you trust?  Completely?  Or is there a little voice inside of you that doesn’t allow you to step in, at least not totally?  Do you fear that others will mislead or betray you?  Somewhere along the way you learned not to trust.  Yet most, and maybe even all, distrust is a projection of yourself. 

Do you trust your God?

Do you trust that God will always be there and never let you down?  When you’re on your deathbed, will you trust completely, peacefully let go, and journey into the next world with a loving and unconditional God? Or is there a little (or big) part of you that doesn’t trust and is scared…afraid that the promise of your God won’t happen?

Do you trust Mother Earth?

Do you trust Mother Earth will keep providing for you?  That food, water, shelter, and an environment that keeps you safe, comfortable and protected will remain stable? Or, is there a part of you that doesn’t trust that Mother Earth will sustain you and yours forever? That believes global warming and environmental changes are a result of human selfishness.  And now you don’t trust that Mother Earth can recover?

Do you trust your Government?

Do you trust that your Government has your best interest as its top priority?  That its officials are truly serving ALL people…as they were elected to do?  Or, do you find yourself paranoid of your government?  That you are not safe, and they will not protect you?  That they are targeting you with their selfish agendas?

Do you trust other Countries and Cultures?

Do you trust that other countries and cultures see you as their friend and ally?  Do you trust that they want to understand your truth, your culture, your God? Or, are you paranoid that they don’t like you? That they are out to get you?  That they want to attack, dominate and take over your country and your culture?

Do you trust your Family?

Do you trust that your family loves you unconditionally?  That you could do nothing that would result in them leaving or abandoning you?  That they’ll always accept you? Or is there a part of you that’s paranoid that your place in the family is conditional?  That they will reject and abandon you if you let them down or fall out of line with their values?

Do you trust your Partner?

Do you trust that you can be 100% genuine and honest and you will be loved anyway?  That you can be fragile and vulnerable and still be supported?  That you can have honest conflict and not be rejected?  Or is there a part of you that’s paranoid that he or she is going to leave you?  That they’ll see that you don’t feel worthy of their love?  That if they really knew everything about you, they would reject you?

Do you trust Yourself?

Do you trust that you love yourself unconditionally?  That you will never betray yourself?  That you will always be honest with yourself?  That you will always make the best decisions and pick the right people to create more love and happiness in your life?  Do you trust that?  Or, are you fearful? That your mind will deceive you into making choices that will betray your heart?  That you’ll make decisions that will ultimately create pain?

What if your fears and lack of trust were all coming from self-judgment, projection and your own lack of inner trust?

  • With your God, do you project how you haven’t been here for yourself and are blaming him?  Do you project the lack of faith that you have in yourself?
  • With Mother Nature, are you projecting the guilt you have for misusing, abusing and taking for granted your own body, mind, and spirit?
  • With your Government, are you projecting the loss of control and victimization you feel about the lack of focus on your own selfish interests…your agenda?
  • With Other Countries and Cultures, are you projecting your own fear and essentially discriminating out of lack of understanding?
  • With your Family, have you abandoned and judged parts of them for not being loyal to your beliefs and values?  Do you place conditions on them?
  • With your Partner, can he or she tell you anything without judgment? Have you ever been dishonest in your relationship…ever?  Have you abandoned your partner by not showing up and being present?
  • And lastly, Yourself.  Have you ever betrayed, discounted or ignored your intuition…your heart’s message?  Do you ever abandon or reject yourself, by disassociating, through addiction, or by being inauthentic?

This awareness is crucial to trusting.

Distrust and paranoia are your fearful ego trying to protect you from being vulnerable and getting hurt.

Consider the questions above and then ask yourself, “What would happen if I trusted and stepped in?”  Then ask, “What will happen if I stay here and remain guarded?” 

Good thing I know you.  You’re going to step in because you’re a truth-seeker and you’re finding your way.  You’re learning to listen to your heart again and you’re accepting who you are.  I’ll end with two things that I trust:  That you’ll find your way and that I’m right.

What Stops You?

We’re going to spend some time today by getting curious.

What gets in your way of going toward your passion?

In other words, what stops you from stepping into being more of your true self?  What typically scares you and makes you want to give up?

Does it seem like you frequently fall just short of getting there?  And lastly, why does it feel like you repeat that same pattern over and over, ultimately sabotaging your progress?

Your passion (beginning sleepy music now) – Determining that alone can be a challenge.  This is another place to get curious.  In a quiet space, ask yourself some questions:

  • What comes naturally to you and makes you feel good?
  • Where do you feel inspired, alive, and content?
  • Is it helping others, playing sports, drawing, writing, being in nature or with animals?
  • What lights you up?

Write your answers down without judgment.  Purge…let them flow.

Then back to my original question, “What gets in your way?”  Drumroll:  Your human ego does.

Your ego craves control and predictability and struggles with change and instability.

It’s trying to protect you and wants you to avoid pain and stay “safe.”  So, it will toss fear your way, in the form of hidden hazards and roadblocks, in an effort to control you and subconsciously sabotage your goals, passions, and desires.

Some of the hazards?

Perfectionism.

Perfectionism, in a word (with a hyphen) is simply an ass-kicker.  It will derail you from following your dreams more than almost any other factor.  With perfectionism, you say to yourself, “If I can’t do it perfectly, I won’t do it at all.” Or, “If they don’t like my work, I will be crushed.  I will be rejected.”

Perfectionism is a fear of authentically being seen…a true form of self-rejection.

Get curious.  Where and how does your perfectionism display itself?  What are you afraid that people will see if you take your mask of perfectionism off?

Fear of Success.

I know what you’re thinking (aspiring psychic), “I totally want to go for my dream!” Do you really?  Although you seem passionate to move toward your dream, there is a part of you that is very comfortable in your safe and predictable ego-controlled life.  What will happen when you arrive?  Who will you be and what will life look like?  Will it be enough, or will you still be discontent?  What will you sacrifice along the way?  Do you know the perceived positive and the mysterious negative consequences of building that life that you desire?  Are you willing to accept them all?

If you aren’t willing to accept the good and the bad, you will more than likely sabotage your progress somewhere along the way.

Fear of Failure.

This seems like an obvious one.  Well, maybe it is.  You say to yourself, “What if I’m not good enough?” “What if I do everything I’m supposed to, and it still doesn’t work out?” These thoughts can be paralyzing and keep you from jumping into new territory.  You hear that critical inner voice saying, “You won’t succeed.  You’ll just get hurt trying.  Who do you think you are?”  If you don’t try, you’ll validate that voice and it will increase its volume.

Hear this:

Truly successful people try and fail time and again.

If it’s important enough, you will stumble and fail along the way…it’s your ticket into the “I’m stepping into my purpose” club.  Oh yeah, a little side note, not trying is the biggest failure of all.

Fear of being creatively vulnerable.

Shooting for the stars and doing something new takes creativity and vision. Because it comes from a part of us that is not logical, creativity embodies courage and vulnerability.  It’s pure and it’s personal and most humans have felt negative judgment or rejection of their creative expression.

When you’re connected to your creative inner guidance system, you will receive the messages that are asking you to step in. Not doing so creates dis(ease), discomfort, irritability, and just plain unhappiness.  Whenever you are reaching out for something bigger than your current situation, you will be exposed and vulnerable…and it will be worth it.

Fear of relationship disruption.

This is the co-dependent show-stopper.  To get to the place that you dream of, it will require some give and take, and some support and sacrifice from your loved ones.  They might feel insecure and you might find them resisting, which will be uncomfortable and is a common place for derailment.

You have choices:  You can retreat in fear of creating ripples in your relationships (and end up being resentful and blaming it on them).  Or (the better solution) you can talk to them about the importance of what you’re doing and what it means to you. You can also acknowledge and be compassionate about their challenges about your changes.  Keep talking about it.  Honest and open communication with the people in your life will go a long way toward working around this saboteur.

We all have imaginary fear-based hazards that “feel real” and become roadblocks.

Do some soul-searching about how they show up in your life.  Then take one step in the direction of your passion…something small…and then do the same thing tomorrow.  You will be stepping into more of your natural greatness and, by doing so, you will be creating a positive ripple effect in our world.  Here’s to hurdling hazards and busting down roadblocks!

The Drama Triangle…

Today we’re discussing my interpretation of the relationship triangle, or what is lovingly referred to as the “Drama Triangle.”  By gaining some awareness of these roles that we play out all (to some extent), this can have a positive effect on creating healthier relationships.  If you want that, read on…

The Rescuer, Victim, and Persecutor are subconscious archetypal “roles” that are played out in all types of relationships, to include romantic, familial, business, or friendships.

We step into these roles in a subconscious attempt to control others to gain a sense of familiarity and security. And, believe it or not, every one of the roles (Rescuer, Victim, and Persecutor) creates self-victimization.

How it all began… Your primary role began in childhood, when you were adapting and learning how to get your needs met, and you are probably still using it in your adult relationships.  Do you know which one dominates you?  Let’s look at them a little closer…

Meet the Rescuer…

The Rescuer gets his or her needs met by helping or taking care of others…a “Care-Taker.”  Rescuers hate to see others suffer.  To get out of their own pain, they lose themselves to “help” victims, who are usually very capable of taking care of themselves. Rescuers feel valued and carry a sense of purpose when they are needed, when they “fix/help” others, and mostly when others follow their advice.

How does one become a Rescuer?

Rescuers might have been the eldest child or had parents who were unavailable, emotionally, physically or both (due to work, addiction, etc.).  As a result, they were responsible for their younger siblings.  They had to grow up quickly, they had responsibilities that were beyond their young years, and they became the surrogate “parent.”

Since they learned, at that young age, that taking care of others was their job…they became hyper-vigilant to other people’s needs to feel a sense of purpose. In return, they received attention, and were appreciated, seen and validated when they rescued.

Meet the Victim…

The Victim gets his or her needs met by being taken care of.  He or she learned at a young age that being powerless, helpless, overwhelmed, or unable to manage resulted in getting attention (that they internalized as receiving “love”).

How does one become a victim?

The Victim might have grown up in a family where getting seen was a challenge, so the Victim became helpless and needy.  Having someone take care them is how Victims experience love and attention.  The Victim didn’t choose this role, it was a subconscious adaptation that was about survival, getting noticed, and feeling like they mattered.  Victims leave relationships and find another Rescuer when they feel uncared for, abandoned and rejected.

Meet the Persecutor…

The Persecutor is the “blamer” and this is where it gets a little tricky.  The Rescuer or the Victim becomes the Persecutor at different times, depending on the situation.

This tricky dance…You see, all three archetypal roles hop from tip to tip on the drama triangle.  Here’s a scenario:

  • Rescuer meets Victim. To the Victim, the Rescuer looks like a “Hero,” someone that will help them with their problems and take their pain away. To the Rescuer, the Victim is someone they can care for…someone who needs protecting. Both are getting their needs met.
  • In the beginning, the Rescuer “takes care of” and sacrifices him or herself for the Victim.
  • Also, in the beginning, the Victim loves the attention, is appreciative and adores the Rescuer (“my hero”).
  • At some point, the honeymoon is over. The Rescuer feels unappreciated. The Victim feels over-controlled and has become defiant by rejecting the help and removing their adoration and appreciation, those things that the Rescuer craves.  The Victim is now the Persecutor.
  • The Rescuer is now the Victim of the not-wanting-to-be-rescued-anymore Victim (now-Persecutor). He or she feels shame as a Victim.  To gain back some control, he or she will now also Persecute by either removing attention and becoming apathetic. Eventually, he will end the relationship and blame the old-Victim (now-Persecutor) for not “getting better.”
  • In the end, no matter what tip of the drama triangle they are residing on, both parties are experiencing some form of victimization.
  • If they don’t learn how they are playing out these roles, the Rescuer will find a new Victim and the Victim will find a new Rescuer and life will continue in this manner.

How to Step out of Drama Triangle…

The first step in not participating in this dysfunctional dance is noticing which role you typically play out in your relationships. After you’ve done that, here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • What part of myself is looking for attention and rescuing? Can I give that attention to and also rescue myself?
  • Do I get my needs met by taking care of others, by being taken care of, or both, depending on the type of relationship (romantic, familial, business, or friendship)?
  • What am I doing for others that they can do for themselves?
  • What are others doing for me that I can do for myself?
  • How do I feel when I see others in pain? Do I have to jump in and fix it?
  • If others don’t follow my advice, do I get angry and resentful? Do I criticize, confront and try to control them?
  • If others don’t try and help me, how do I react? Do I retreat and act out “poor me-ism” to be heard and acknowledged? Do I find someone else who will help?

It’s a Journey…

This is a really common dance that most of us engage in to some extent. Become mindful of your motives in your relationships.  Are you losing yourself to get appreciation, attention or validation?  If your answer is “Yes,” have some self-compassion and awareness that you most-likely learned these behaviors to get your needs met as a child.  Then look inward and ask yourself this important question, “What am I seeking from others that my soul is truly looking to receive from myself?”

Did I say it’s a journey?  It really is.

Catastrophic Thinking…

Does your thinking mind sometimes take you to worst case scenarios?  Why does it focus on tragedy, without evidence that tragedy is occurring? Does three days of headaches mean you have a brain tumor? Does your daughter not answering her phone or text messages signify she’s been in a car accident? Does an email that your boss wants to speak with you mean that you’re getting fired?  Or does your wife working late on a company project mean that she’s having an affair?

Why does your mind create imaginary catastrophes?

I believe it “plays out” tragedy as a weird way of preparing you for worst case scenario.  Since you’ve already experienced the situation with a “horrific ending” and lived it out in your mind, anything besides that horrifically-imagined ending is doable. You see, 99% of the time worst case scenario doesn’t happen, it just felt like it did in your thinking and very imaginative mind.

Here’s a few ideas on managing catastrophic thinking:

1. Brainstorm “all case scenarios.”

Look for evidence that your thoughts are true. You are probably not getting fired, as you’ve been productive at work and there isn’t any “firing” evidence.  Other possibilities:  You might be getting a raise; he values your experience and wants some of your insight; you might be given additional responsibility; or he just wants to check in and see how you’re doing.  Be real and look for other possibilities.

2. Quit watching and believing the news.

I cannot stress this enough.  If you’re watching the news and see car accidents and murders, it’s easier for your mind to imagine a catastrophe when something happens. Believe your reality…and take in positive information. There is a lot of positive happening in the world…I promise.

3. Observe and notice your catastrophic thoughts (actually all thoughts).

Observe your thoughts, try to not get stuck believing their truth. The biggest truth about your thoughts are that they are your thoughts.

4. Connect to the reality of this current moment.

Get curious…Is your catastrophic thinking a way to deflect from some other pain?  Ask yourself, “What am I really upset about?  Why am I creating tragic stories?  Why is my mind catastrophically sabotaging me?”

5. Journal your daily gratitude.

Express gratitude for the gifts in your life and for the gift of your life. When you focus on the things you’re grateful for, your negative catastrophic thinking will show up less and less.

What a relief — That accident where your child died didn’t occur.  She just didn’t notice your text message because her new boyfriend is cute… she was more focused on him.  You don’t have a brain tumor; your headaches are a sign that you need reading glasses. Your wife is not betraying you; she really is working on a project and hopes for a promotion.

When you start to gain awareness of the tricks your mind will play on you, you’ll find that it’s your thinking that is catastrophic…not necessarily the situation.

So, I’ll leave you with this:  Don’t believe everything you think.