Personal growth tools I am loving, and some thoughts on meditation.
Nothing replaces therapy, but these days there are a lot of cheaper options which may help a lot.
- •The Work of Byron KatieSimple, free, available in app-form! Undoing ego lies one at a time. Listen to a couple of her podcasts or watch some YouTube videos to get a more thorough understanding before getting started. Which brings me to my next point...
- •PodcastsThere is so much great personal growth content available free in podcast form. The Lively Show, The Road Back to You, Dear Sugar, Tara Brach, The Good Life Project, Magic Lessons, The Robcast. And loads more.
- •The enneagramA personality typing system based around our core fears/egoic defense mechanism. Will identify your greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses, and your path to growth. Check out The Road Back to You (podcast+book), The Wisdom of the Enneagram (Riso + Hudson), Richard Rohr... the enneagram institute is also a great free online resource. Rookie mistake: taking an online test. The tests are not where it's at. Read the profiles, hold back any that resonate with you or appal you (not appeal to you!)
- •Then, if one doesn't immediately grab you, have some close people read through them and chat about which is closest to your personality.It's about the underlying motivations for your behaviours, not the behaviours themselves. Some types manifest similarly, but the underlying reasons are different. Remember, we are uncovering our junk here. So anything that makes you deeply uncomfortable is a good bet. Unless you have already done a lot of internal work, in which case you might be able to recognise yourself with more peace and acceptance. It might also help to think about your earlier incarnations, before you got so mature.
- •Mindfulness meditationIt is free, takes almost zero time, and will rewire your brain (physically) for peace, focus, creativity and awareness. No excuse not to. Do it. Check out the liturgists' podcast on the subject for a good primer. Apps I like: headspace for a ten-day free introductory course, rituals for regular practice. Extremely instrumental in my recovery from/management of anxiety/depression.
- •RunningI am so not a runner. But! Even a short and laborious trundle round the block will eliminate stress hormones and improve mental health.
- •(Those last 3 are the top 3 activities for positive brain development.)Exercise, reading, meditation, in that order. I think.
- •All three, when practiced deeply, promote heightened attention/wordlessness.Dropping out of the endlessly chatty ego state.
- •And meditation specifically develops the prefrontal cortex, associated with compassion, empathy, reasoning...
- •... the amygdala, the most primitivement part of the brain (also called the lizard brain) is wired to detect and retain perceived threats. An association of stimulus+perceived threat is never undone.Which is why you still freak out on the subway even though that thing only happened that one time.
- •The prefrontal cortex is built to talk us out of those freak outs, like a good parent with a frightened child.Which is why you might have a split second of anxiety before remembering that this is only a perceived threat and not a real one.
- •So anything that develops the prefrontal cortex is extremely helpful for anxiety.
- •And that, my friends, is how it's done.
- •Take care of yourselves!❤️
- •(Also, I am not an expert- correct any errors you spot please 😊)