No, I did not lose my way nor fall among robbers or evil-doers who seem to be jumping out from behind every tree or rock lately, threatening my emotional stability at every turn.
No, its more simple than overt assault. After 32 years of life and its many changes in the sunny State of Florida, we agreed that it was time to shake off the dust of old age before it turned to mold and get back to our New England roots, at least until we start to see moss creeping up between our toes.
We migrated to Florida with two daughters, ages 10 and 8, in hopes of forging a better life. One that offered snow and ice only in movie theaters or malfunctioning home appliances. That much was a success. For the rest we have few complaints, except that lately the heat of summer seems to be forcing itself ever closer to January on the front end and running through November on the back end. I welcome a good sauna as much as the next guy but enough is enough. We had options.
I’ll save the wild and wacky details of how we divested ourselves of 99.8 % of our belongings and encumbered history, sold a 7 year old condo after many an hour of uncertainty, stuffed the rest of our worldly belongings into 2 vehicles, said many sad good-byes amid pledges of keeping in touch and never forgetting, and set out, a caravan of 2, on a 1500+ mile drive to Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Our plan was direct and uncluttered. We would find a small apartment to rent for at least a year, while we acclimated to northern climate once again. We threw ourselves into pacing our lives to better match our families’ ways, many of whom had never lived anywhere but here, “up North”. But even at that, we began planing another venture in the not too distant future, perhaps to Ireland and then to the EU countries, God willing and nuclear suicide does not befall us all.
Obviously there are many tales to tell of our journey and current status and future plans but it will be six months on November 22 that we set foot here and longer than that since I’ve posted anything on my blog. I cannot explain my drought of creativity and lack of energy to publish on WordPress. But doing only comes from doing so I will simply unearth some previously posted items and pray that by doing so my willingness to share further personal thoughts will spring loose.
Back when I worked for a living in the broad field of mental health, a great deal of my time was spent teaching people find ways to deal with those nasty things that creep into our awareness from time to time, such as moods of depression, anxiety and anger, that can be temporary nuisances or complete disruptions of our ordinary functional states of mind.
I put together what I thought would be a workable presentation of basic ideas that pertained to relieving the effects and, hopefully, some of the causal factors that produce anxious, depressed and angry reactions in daily living.The presentation outlines the progression of some emotional states within us and offers ways in which we can counteract and interrupt that progression. By doing so, we can reduce or eliminate the emotional consequences that follow our interpretations of the life events that we perceive to be disruptive or fear producing happenings.
The program includes concrete steps that anyone can take to personally control the emotional results that we feel when we become angry, depressed or overly anxious about situations that we face almost daily.
There are suggestions regarding methods of re-formulating our interpretations of life-events as well as specific relaxation techniques and meditative practices for those who never leaned to meditate.
The theory is that in order to change how we respond to stimuli that contribute to anger, anxiety or depression, we need to develop personally rewarding habits that will build new and better ways to be positive, fulfilled individuals. Meditative practice helps to build those habits and make them into automatic responses that bring us confidence in challenging situations and with that, peace of mind with lasting effects on our emotional life.
Sometimes a change in viewpoint brings a change in Understanding.
The following is the first portion of the program and is devoted to dealing with stress and anxiety. I hope you find it helpful. I will continue to add the other segments of the program over the next month or two.
It seems that the burdens of stress, anger and depression are not going to get any easier in the days ahead. Better to have some methods of release and descalating than to wait for time and circumstances to vastly improve.
The entire program is available on this blog site under the category of “Harding Family Literary Works; Richard D.;”Permanent Stress Reduction” that is found on the main menu.
Chambered Nautilus Training Group:
Permanent Stress Reduction Program
Managing Emotional Reactions Rationally
Managing Emotional Response pp. 1-2
What are Emotions pp. 3-4
Practicing of Coping Skills pp. 5-6
A Brief Meditation pp. 6-7
End of Part 1 Re-release – 11/2017
Personal Challenge #1 pp. 7-10
Personal Challenge #2 pp. 11-15
Personal Challenge #3 pp. 16-19
Personal Challenge #4 pp. 20-25
Personal Challenge #5 pp. 26-33
Conclusion p. 34
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” (Attributed to Socrates)
Permanent Stress Reduction.
The Chambered Nautilus was chosen as our logo because learning Permanent Stress Reduction requires a personal growth process symbolized by the segmented development stages of a chambered nautilus. The chambered nautilus grows through a distinctive process of letting go of previous stages of growth in order to build a new way of interacting with the world. In doing so it becomes increasingly more buoyant and able to move to more beneficial environments on ocean waves. Sailors called it a “ship of pearl”.
We begin the presentation by addressing techniques that can be used to deal with different types of stress. We will explain why dealing with stress is so important, explain how to cope with threatening circumstances which are unavoidable, and teach you how to control your own reactions to stress in your daily life.
We then show you distinct steps you can take toward managing your personal emotional responses. These steps are available in individual Segments of this personal growth program and can be experienced in any order to achieve one’s goals.
MEDITATION is a key component of successful permanent stress reduction and is an essential element that allows you to maintain the results of all segments* over time. Our stress reduction method is designed to provide you with materials explaining how the system works as well as presenting personal challenges to help you achieve a satisfactory level of permanent stress reduction.
* Any of the 5 Segments may be undertaken individually or with a group. Several people generally reinforce one another in any positive learning environment. Either way, each section should be read slowly, with deliberation and by all means, accompanied by a notebook or some device to record important ideas. Remember, you are essentially building a new way to understand yourself.
1. Learning Managed Emotional Rational Response:
Avoiding unwanted Emotional Consequences.
Key strategies of managing emotional response consist of Five Basic Steps and Personal Challenges which lead to emotional control and lessening of stress.These basic steps teach us how to restructure habitual thinking and behaviors. In turn, each step consists of:
1). Educating ourselves about the emotional response process in our body and tips on increasing awareness of thinking habits, body mechanics and maximizing experiences of our 5 senses.
2). A section called Life-Work for each Personal Challenge, enabling you to in-corp-orate the principles discovered in these sections into your daily routines. Life-Work also includes specific meditations in each unit to support the learner’s efforts at expanding their personal and sensual awareness.
Before beginning the 5 Personal Challenges process, consider who we are as emotional beings and try to develop an awareness of what might be to some folks a new or even different understanding of how we react to daily life experiences..
We will learn a thorough method of experiencing managed emotional responses to a wide variety of challenging situations. We will also suggest a number of changes you can make in life style choices to grow in personal wholeness. These changes may appear to be distant to your problems at first but they are essential changes you can make if this program is to bring about a different way of “being yourself”.
Reading and listening are not difficult; doing and changing are very difficult and success depends entirely on your willingness to examine your beliefs and challenge your habitual thinking.
Reducing Stress Permanently by Managing Emotional Responses Rationally.
Key Elements of the Emotional Response Process.
I. Understanding emotional reactions;how we minimize negative consequences by using positive coping skills
II. The “ThinkingBody” as a way of processing information;
III. Performing Deep breathing and Progressive Muscle Relaxation to immediately counter-act stress and anger;
IV. Using meditation to open your thoughts to new possibilities of awareness and response.
(I) What are Emotional Reactions?
Emotions are a result of distinct mind/body process. The process is a combination of:
a) Phenomena; that means people, places, things, and ideas that are images presented to my brain and which then become my conscious thoughts. We will refer to these thought complexes presented to us simply as phenomena and we have little or no control over their comings and goings through our mental landscape. If we pick one out or attend to it, we immediately, unconsciously, assign a value to it, good, bad, ugly, pretty, moral, immoral, etc. That value is often shaped by our habitual beliefs.
Thus we begin to accept or reject thought phenomena without detailed reflection or investigation. We are prejudiced by what we already believe to be true or false, good or bad.
Our lack of control over what Phenomena enter our consciousness can only be compensated for by our becoming experts in identifying any harmful habits of Belief, then examining and correcting them, making an effort to live in what becomes our rationally sound, balanced “Perceived Reality.”
Beliefs are your opinions or convictions about what these phenomena represent, for example; pleasure, pain, threat, retreat, desire etc. There can be a huge difference between what a thing represents, all by itself, (if that is even possible,) and how your Belief is interpreting it to create your conscious perceptions. It is a fact that a number of people witnessing an event (a crime, an accident, for example,) will not see the same event in exactly the same way, often contradicting one another. So much for the value of eyewitness testimony!
It is critical to master the art of questioning your beliefs to avoid jumping to conclusions that may be far from the actual truth.
Beliefs are generally taken for granted and go unchallenged. Once w accept them and they remain with us for a long time, we assume they have value. The problem is that they don’t always carry a lot of truth or accuracy and if we tend to be impulsive in our judgment and reactions,they can get us into uncomfortable situations. They are the usually the source of our strongest prejudices.
Perception. Because of their powerful value in our thought process, these Beliefs actually shape our real life situations, giving us our “Perceived Reality”. Your personal perceptions are the consequences of your beliefs and your interpretations of phenomena. These perceptions, questioned or not, instantly become the basis of your emotional reaction and form what you perceive to be reality. Obviously, not everyone agrees with what you consider to “real”.
Your Perceived Reality determines your habitual behavior within the world of experiences, whether negative or positive, that make-up your daily life and how you react and live emotionally within that perceived, personal reality.
Being able to recognize and grasp this process of P,(phenomena), B,(beliefs)and PR (perceived reality), is the key to dealing with those less than helpful emotional reactions in our lives.
(II) Learning to Cope …. This next portion of the program will be posted soon. There are many ideas to be mulled over before moving on too soon. Feel free to correspond with me with any questions you may have. If time moves faster than I, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving feast day.