In today's harried society, people are prone to anxiety. Fear and worries can plague the average person several times a day. It may be as minor as "I'm going to be late for work and the boss is not going to be happy" or it may be as fearful as "this cancer diagnosis is serious and I fear for my life."
Many of my clients come in to discuss very difficult situations and of course they are looking for ways to immediately change their environment. The woman who is experiencing a difficult divorce, the employee who is being downsized, the mother whose child is being bullied leaving her feeling helpless. These situations may seem insurmountable and yet there is much you can do when you change your thoughts about your situation.
Byron Katie has an easy formula for changing anxiety and worry. Her story is fascinating because she is not a therapist. She was experiencing mental health issues in her life which were becoming more unmanageable. She had extremely low self esteem and she had lost the drive to continue on in her life. She actually was suicidal and slept on the floor because she did not believe that she deserved more. She just did not want to exist anymore because her life felt too stressful and she didn't feel like she had the tools to cope.
One morning as she watched a cock roach crawl across her foot, she had an epiphany that changed her life. When she watched the bug walk across her feet she said to herself “My life is horrible.” and all of a sudden she heard herself say "Is that true?" She then heard herself ask “Do I absolutely know that my life is horrible?”" She asked herself” How would I feel if I did not have the thought?” Her last question of inquiry was "What do I need to believe to change that thought? "
In that moment she realized that there were many things that were not horrible about her life and as long as she believed her life to be horrible she would remain in a "horrible state." So she began to think of all the things that were not horrible: her physical health was good, she still had a roof over her head, she had some caring and loving friends, she still had some assets in her life including some clothes to wear, some money in the bank, some food in the fridge.
She began to think" I am truly quite blessed and I have a lot to be thankful for."
What she realized is that those thoughts made her feel happier and more empowered and gave her more energy to be more productive.
I have studied with Byron Katie and believe that her book Loving What Is is a book that everyone should read because it encourages us to change our thoughts so that we can empower our lives and live differently.
Her 4 step formula called The Works is an amazing reminder that we own the power to live fulfilled lives no matter what happens to us, no matter who or what is trying to harm us, and no matter what our life circumstance happens to be
When you change the way you think about things, everything around you changes. It is so relieving to be able to walk through life and know that we all have what it takes to get through difficult times and become better people because of it!