It’s an interesting question, because, if you’re like most people, you use generalized terms to describe your life, like, “It’s OK”, “It’s fair”, “I could be happier” and the like. Now, just for a moment, imagine your life being so happy that you walk around with a big smile on your face and everyone wonders what you’re up to! See the bright colors, hear the beautiful sounds, feel the relaxation in your body, taste and smell the fragrances around you. Expand upon the sights, sounds, feelings, tastes, and smells for as long as you wish. What happened to any stress you may have been feeling? What did you notice about the thoughts going through your mind? How did your posture react to the picture of total happiness?
Unfortunately, we don’t live a world of total happiness. We all have many stressors that come at us from a multitude of directions each and every day. But, unlike what you may think right now, you can experience a higher degree of happiness, joy, and fulfillment, even in an imperfect world!
Before I show you how easy it is to increase the happiness you have in your life, let’s discuss one of the things that is in the way of having it.
You would think that, with all the fears and phobias that people have, that they come about inherently, that we are meant to have them. What differentiates a fear and a phobia? Let’s say the subject is heights. A person may go to the top of a ladder to do some work on the house, the ladder slips a little and fear now sets in. This is a good thing as it serves as a self-protection mechanism. With a phobia, the person could be standing firmly on the ground and then something triggers thoughts of heights and they may break out in a sweat or become frozen in place. Nothing has really just happened, but they have become physically and/or psychologically impaired by it. Just think about your own fears and phobias. You may have a fear of spiders, snakes, dogs, or horses. It may be that you’re afraid of heights, tight spaces, elevators, or meeting new people. Then, there’s the dreaded needle. Think of the last time you got a shot at the doctor’s office. What was worse, the anticipation, or the shot itself? Some of you probably cringed as I mentioned those few items. The truth is we are born with just two fears; fear of loud noises and fear of falling. Those are inborn protection mechanisms we received from our ancestors.
Fear is usually learned in a fraction of a second. Think about a fear you have that impacts your life regularly. Think about the first time you can remember having that fear, the time when you came to own it. If it was fear of heights, think about what made you own that fear. If it was fear of snakes, what happened that made you own that fear? The larger the emotional impact, the deeper and more intense the fear.
First, create a “safe” anchor. Think of a time when you felt very safe and protected. Imagine it clearly and in detail. When you are at the height of feeling safe, touch your right knee and anchor the “safe” feeling there.
Holding the “safe” anchor through this entire exercise, imagine yourself in a movie theater and you’re sitting close to the front of the theater and you’re watching a movie about your fear. Position it so the screen is small and just above eye level. You are now watching yourself watch the movie. Then, (Step 1) imagine moving yourself up out of the seat and into the projection booth with a Plexiglas shield around the booth and you have full control of the movie and the ability to stop it at any time. From the projection booth, you’re watching yourself; watching yourself, watch the movie. This is called double dissociation from the fear. (Step 2) Watching from one frame just before the event occurred that caused the fear, run the movie forward in black-and-white through the traumatic event and ending after the event and as the movie fades into white.
Now, (Step 3) float yourself from the projection booth down into the seat in the theater and play the movie backward, but in color and quickly, and this time, on whatever the thing is that you fear, put a clown nose on it and a funny voice, like Daffy Duck’s, along with circus music and run it very quickly. Repeat steps 1-3 three to five times, each time quicker than the one before.
Notice how you feel now about the thing you feared. You’ll see that you actually start to laugh at the thing you once feared. If the fear isn’t minimized to the point you would like, you can repeat this as often as needed until you get it to that point.
You have unlimited potential within you and the resources to be and do anything you desire. The brief exercise I took you through for fears is just a starting point for being able to enjoy life now. I can help you with limiting beliefs, relationships, smoking, weight loss, and so many more things that keep you from rating yourself a “10” on the happiness scale.
Dr. Edward Lewellen is the author of the eBook “Creating a Life in Forward Motion” and has over 25 years of expanding the potential of corporations, religious organizations, not-for-profits, families and individuals. He has been invited to speak at local, regional, national, and international events, with over 5,000 in attendance. Dr. Lewellen is an expert in organizational alignment and motivation, organization and personal goal-setting, change management, leadership and staff development, sales management, and other top and bottom-line initiatives.
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