Choice in Creating Change

Thresholds Are Not Barriers, They Are Gateways to Change

Every person has thresholds of familiarity, areas of sensitivities they don’t want to cross or unable to effectively process. When life is good; when stress levels are down, these threshold are not challenged, we feel as if we have some choice. But life isn’t always easy, we don’t always get our way; what we want and how we want it will be challenged.

During times of stress, when we feel pushed past our comfort zone to effectively process events or situations, it can seem as if our choices are being threatened. At these times our neurology shifts, creating all sorts of interesting reactions. Disorientation, hyper awareness; uncertainty, anxiety, defensiveness, depression, loss of motivation, obsessions, compulsions and feelings of helplessness. The aptitude to engage in simple everyday actions diminish when our ability to create choice seems hindered. Instead of embracing change at these times, we try minimize it. What we can’t process or what we feel takes away our perceptions of choices is where our fight or flight activity kicks in.

A former client of ours, Janice, was the type of person whose life long battle cry for discomfort was “Make it stop.” Her fears controlled how she responded to anything remotely stressful. She was great at pointing out faults and complaining, yet lacking in the department of taking effective and doable action. While she hated this aspect of herself and knew it was no way to live her life, she did not know how to change it.

It was easy to understand why Janice would buy one self-help book after another. She read countless pages on the internet pertaining to statistics, traits pertaining to her symptoms and issues. Her emotions were being overwhelmed and all she wanted was for them to stop. She wanted immediate answers. She wanted someone to tell her how to get her life back on track. Janice also did what so many tend to do, she tried to intellectualize her emotional states instead of finding ways to resolve them. She found ways to rationalize the states of mind she was stuck in and like for so many, it only raised her anxiety even more.

Understanding how things work is useful in many places, but for emotional based challenges, it’s not always useful in getting closure. It also does not change the patterns of the unconscious.

For years she did nothing and nothing changed. What Janice didn’t know was how to get out of her analytical thinking. She focused on problems instead of what actions to take or what she could influence. There was little connection between thoughts and emotions. Where people are most emotionally stuck is where they least listen to rational ideas.

Other methods were needed

It was easy for Janice to blame her condition on a medical problem, on some physical dysfunction in the mind and body outside her control. The experts told this was so and they ought to know, yet it only frustrated her more because nothing was changing. The more she tried to fix herself the more it had her feeling like a failure.

Easy answers aren’t always easy to find for complex issues

Irrational fears aren’t always easy to understand. When she finally found a professional who did truly understand her situation, who knew how to relate to her and had tools to help her make changes, the gap between her discomfort and the life she wanted began coming together.

Tania bought into the idea medication would be her savior and who can blame her. She had watched an endless TV commercials showing happy people on happy pills. Her medications took the edge off her negative thinking, but she felt lethargic. The second medication didn’t do anything for her. The third prescription helped some. Tania wanted the medication to be the cure.

For medications to work, the body has to already have receptors to accept the active ingredients at a cellular level, meaning her body already has the ability to produce these chemicals naturally. Receptors don’t exist for chemicals the body can’t produce on its own. Yet this only works if the mind and body are in sync with each other, are balanced; when thoughts and emotions, when mind and body are not in conflict.

When emotional and mental processes keep focusing on what isn’t working, they are not seeking solutions or resolutions.  If you can’t find or create these processes, stress levels tend to stay elevated.

The dance between our emotions and intellect, our conscious awareness and unconscious processes can be complex. It is easy for the nervous system to create uncomfortable and dysfunctional interactions in conflict with each other, but they can change.

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