Do you find your mind dwelling in a negative space all too often? Are you frequently down on yourself, feeling stuck or even experiencing moments of confusion? Perhaps you battle addictions or find yourself overwhelmed by various emotions. In this moment, as you choose to read these words on self-improvement, you embark on a paradigm shift.
Now, let us gather momentum and continue along this path. Take a deep breath, allowing fresh oxygen to invigorate your mind. We must progress step by step on the journey toward liberation from suffering. While the path forward is simple, it is not without its challenges. It requires effort and work—two endeavors for which we are inherently designed. What does this work entail?
Engage in self-reflection and introspection through the power of self-talk and writing. Embrace the practice of meditation, akin to prayer, to cultivate inner peace. Listen to or read wisdom from trusted sources. And, of course, be willing to reshape our habits, routines, and fundamental philosophies. These actions may seem demanding, but they lead us away from anxiety.
Anxiety, that negative feeling which breeds a cascade of other negative emotions, lies at the core of our healing journey. Liberation from anxiety allows us to be present, happy, joyous, and in touch with our unique qualities—quirky, creative, wise, personable, inventive, humorous, and helpful. Anxiety erodes our character, compelling us to obsess, cling, act destructively, and adhere to negative belief systems and perspectives on life. This feeling of danger, originating in our early years, has persistently plagued us.
But fear not, for you are about to shift this pattern. You will learn to cope with anxiety without altering your past, without resolving all internal struggles, and without spending a single penny. Instead, you will harness the power of breath work. Through the simple act of conscious breathing, you will begin to master the art of managing anxiety and reclaim control over your internal landscape.
Breath work will enable your brain to function at its optimal level, paving the way for deeper exploration of your personal solutions to life's challenges. Attaining an optimum brain pattern provides a stable foundation to continue walking the path of self-improvement each day. Every moment of your existence presents a choice: to move backward, remain stuck, or progress forward towards your goals. By engaging with this text and considering its implications, you have already taken a step forward.
Earlier, I mentioned that you are currently undergoing a paradigm shift, driven by your interest in self-help. Cultivating an attitude of interest is crucial. From this point, it is essential to develop a complete willingness to change those aspects of yourself that hinder progress and keep you stagnant.
How does one become willing? Ultimately, the answer lies within you. However, there is a well-known "cheat" that can help foster willingness. In fact, this cheat is a technique we can employ to initiate any project, pursue any goal, or solve any problem. The technique involves visualizing yourself engaging in the desired action, in this case, becoming willing; writing down your intention ("I am willing to change"); and taking 5-10 slow, deep breaths, allowing this intention to permeate your brain, central nervous system, and entire being.
Before we proceed, let us summarize and rephrase the previous paragraph to ensure its comprehension. This paragraph serves as a map to unlock the treasures within our minds. Writing helps solidify the fleeting thoughts and ideas that float like vapor in our minds. By turning them into written words, we transform vapor into solidity. Alternatively, discussing ideas with another person can also materialize them, although it is not as effective as writing.
If you followed the steps outlined in the previous paragraph, you are currently in the process of becoming willing. The duration of this process depends on how frequently you repeat the instructions provided in all the preceding paragraphs.
If you believe you have reached a state of willingness to change, it is essential to proceed towards the next significant aspect of your journey towards happiness: finding a source of empowerment and maintaining a connection to it. For example, these written words may serve as a source of inspiration, instilling hope, alleviating anxiety, stimulating thought, or motivating positive action. My personal source of inspiration lies in my desire to minimize needless suffering during the short time I inhabit this Earth. I am driven to experience happiness and achieve higher consciousness. These goals inspire and empower me. Should this sense of righteousness waver, I seek alternative sources of inspiration. For instance, I find motivation in wanting to bring joy to my wife. This is not a burden; rather, it emanates from a place of love and compels me to accomplish necessary tasks. I also draw empowerment from my friends, writing, exercise, prayer, meditation, teachings from great masters, ancient philosophies spanning from Stoicism to Yoga, as well as modern psychology. Moreover, my curiosity to truly live fuels my sense of empowerment.
When my internal resources dwindle, I turn to prayer for inspiration and strength. I pray to believe in the power of self-help, seeking answers and guidance from within myself regarding the next right steps to take.
Accountability to others is a remarkably empowering factor. Having faith in oneself is empowering. The drive and desire to earn money can also be empowering, although it can become problematic if we become excessively attached to materialism. The desire to help others is a profound source of power, as long as we avoid developing a messiah complex. For those who are inclined towards a spiritual belief system, their faith and devotion can empower them to become better individuals. Connecting with nature in its raw form can be empowering. Assisting our elders, creating a safe environment for children, caring for the weak and ill—all these actions grant us empowerment. There are countless other sources of empowerment that can motivate us to wake up each day and work towards positive change.
Moving forward, we must tap into a source of power. We cannot afford to be complacent. Even when we feel empowered, make progress, accomplish tasks, and experience happiness, we must maintain a connection with that power. It must become a habit—a consistent practice of self-empowerment.
Now that you have established your interest, willingness, and sense of empowerment, it is time to create an immediate plan of action to initiate your paradigm shift. It is no longer a matter of mere contemplation or discussion; it is time to take action. Write down your problems and their corresponding solutions. Engage in long, deep breaths as you do this, maintaining focus and clarity of mind. Without an ongoing plan of action that evolves and improves each day, we risk drifting away from our self-help efforts. Interest will wane, willingness will fade, and soon we will find ourselves falling back into old patterns. But that's okay, Gerard. If you prefer to endure suffering, that is your choice. Alternatively, you can start anew and reread this guidance.
Once you have a written plan, share it with a close friend or a mentor, discussing it and making necessary adjustments. Continually revisiting the cycle of interest, willingness, empowerment, and a plan of action will eventually yield results.
It is essential to incorporate certain practices into your plan of action: nourish your body with wholesome food, prioritize rest, engage in daily exercise and movement, practice deep breathing exercises throughout the day, journal your emotions and thoughts, take care of personal hygiene, maintain an organized living space, work diligently, wake up early, abstain from drugs and excessive alcohol consumption, refrain from engaging in reckless behavior, consider seeking therapy or group therapy, cease making excuses, avoid laziness, read ancient philosophy, extend a helping hand to others, engage in creative pursuits, pray, meditate, find moments of laughter, allow yourself to cry, perform physical exercises like push-ups and sit-ups, redirect your thoughts towards positivity, write about gratitude, revisit this guidance periodically, and find humor in the journey of life. It's happening—this is life as it is. It requires effort for most of us to find happiness. Embrace the work itself, rather than fixating solely on the end result.
P.S. If you're wondering how to break free from highly addictive behaviors, begin at the beginning: cultivate interest in stopping, nurture willingness, empower yourself, and write it all down!