Your heart and mind are a garden. What you plant in yourself through your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings is what you’ll produce through your life. This happens through your attitudes, actions and behaviors. Plant and grow Love inside of you. It’s what makes cultivating peace of mind a practiced art.
Stress isn’t a new thing, it has always existed
It’s not a new concept or reality. Our modern lifestyle that’s fast-paced, go-go-go there is a new version of stress than previous generations. But that doesn’t mean that the stresses, frustrations, and anxieties of our everyday world are a completely new thing.
Think about what life was like in the 1700s. Or really anytime before technological advances in farming with machinery. There were whole villages and communities who would starve if they didn’t receive enough rain. They’d face similar blights if they received too much rain and crops were flooded.
Farmers and sharecroppers who had little financial wealth experienced this all over the world. Their practiced art was farming with their hands, minds, resources, and dedication. Yet rainfall is out of anyone’s control. This essential element could make or break a family’s food dynamic, and that of a whole community or village. Talk about stress!
We tend to stress out about things we can’t control. The actions or reactions of other people. What someone else thinks about you, or how they’ll interpret something you said.
We look for answers and peace in the validation of others. This creates a pit of increased stress and despair.
We stress out about money. Financial well-being, let alone “financial peace” is the main cause of much of the stress and tension in our culture. It’s also one of the main causes of divorce in America.
As things get tense, we put more focus on the problem
You find yourself searching desperately for a magic solution that will take all the stress away. The insurmountable odds of the stress grows and grows. Til it reaches a breaking point.
You make a rash decision or you finally snap. Harsh words were spoken in haste and carelessness. Anger becomes the primary communication. And bitterness. Pain overflow. When this occurs, it will take time to put the pieces together and heal.
What you focus on grows. Whatever you put in your mind and let occupy your thoughts, you’re going to see, feel, and experience more of. When stress becomes your focus, you’ll experience more stress and more reasons to be stressed.
This is why stress is a practiced art. It’s not a new idea. It is a matter of focus.
This means that the solution to your stress and the way to have peace of mind is a matter of cultivating different seeds inside yourself.
The key thing to remember is “practiced” art
We get good at what we do. Repetition breeds success. If you’re repeatedly focused on (or constantly thinking about) things that stress you out, expect the stress to stick to you and grow.
“But how do I not think about my stress? If you had the problems I had you would be constantly stressed out too!” you may be thinking.
I understand stress. Rejection and loneliness were huge sources of stress for me a few years ago. So was money. In a month’s time in 2017, I went from having what I had believed was a great marriage and strong relationship to being completely alone. When she left, so did my confidence, happiness, and half of the income we built our lifestyle around.
The important relatable elements
I spent two months in utter agony. Thankfully, I have a solid support system (detailed Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole) that provided healing, strength, and encouragement for me.
Still, it took me shifting my focus from everything I lost to release the stress that had a strangle hold on my life. I had to consciously change my thoughts, beliefs, and attitude about myself to have what I wanted. What I wanted was peace.
Do you know what your 3 core values are? Your core values are the foundations that hold everything you are together and that you inherently strive for in your relationships.
My 3 core values are Peace, Love, and Empowerment. This is how I live Love out-loud. But in that dark time, all I could think about was the rejection I felt, and the loneliness that came with it.
How to shift your focus when you’re in stress & depression
Depression weighs on your mind like a fog. It occupies your mind in ways that seem like you’ll never get out of it. Depression happens when you stay stuck in thinking about your stresses, frustrations, and problems.
Some people feel like they’ve been depressed for most of their lives. Is that you?
If so, look at your thought life. What is the predominant pattern of thoughts you have on a regular basis? Are your thoughts centered around something that causes you emotional pain or sadness? Are you angry a lot?
Do situations and people cause you to get upset much? These are indications of roots inside you that need to be dealt with.
It’s like what Sharon Singh Sidhu says,
“We already know how to be happy, we just don’t do it.”
Remember, your mind and your heart are a garden
If you have stress, frustration, and depression operating in you that means there are proverbial weeds inside you with deep roots. And just like in the dirt, you have to dig deep inside yourself to see where these roots are. Your self-awareness is key to uncovering and uprooting the real causes of your stress and depression.
This is deep emotional and mental work. Yet it’s essential to having the peace you seek. It’s the journey that my students go on with me to overcoming lifelong struggles to have the life they dream about. Inner peace is an essential piece of this transformation.
The key to shifting your focus is to take your mind off of what you don’t like and put it on what you actually want.
In the dark periods of my life those few years ago while I was struggling with depression from my failed marriage the loss of that relationship, I couldn’t imagine being in the dream life I had envisioned before. That consisted of being a husband, a successful career as a coach and speaker, and having a happy family life. In the midst of personal loss, that dream went into a coma.
My dream life had to do with my relationships outside of myself. To shift my focus, I had to turn inward and prioritize my own heart and mind. I chose to cultivate the love, support, empowerment and peace inside of me so that I could experience it more fully.
We attract what we focus on.
This can be a healing experience or a debilitating one, depending on the nature of what we’re putting our concentration on.
In this space, I chose to focus on love, peace, and solidarity. I wanted to be a solid person and rebuild my heart, rebuilt my life. Staying in a place of darkness, depression, and hopelessness was what I wanted to escape.
To change my state of being, I had to change how I talked about myself, how I thought about myself. I chose to focus on the practiced art of shifting what I fostered on.
How to start the practiced art of shifting your focus
One practice that helped me heal and shift out of the depression was a daily journaling and meditation practice. Here’s what I did:
- Spend the first 10-15 minutes of your morning writing a short list of 3 things (do this before you get out of bed and start your day; what you do and think about in the first 15-20 minutes of your day determines your focus for the whole day)
- Write about 3 things you’re thankful for, 2 goals you have for the day, and a series of affirmations
- Make your affirmations about what you want to foster and grow with your life. Your affirmations are “I Am” and “I Have” statements. Use present tense. Start with 5-7 statements.
- Read everything out-loud or to yourself when you’re finished. Determine in your mind that you fully believe and feel what you’re reading, even if it seems strange or unusual. This is how you cultivate “the practice” we talked about earlier.
Remember when I said my core values are Peace, Heart, and Empowerment? It is my intention to attract Love and Loving people into my life. I repeat this intention often. And that’s what I experience. My affirmation for this in my journal is simply “I am Love.”
A few other affirmations I write include:
- I am Peace
- There are more opportunities for me to grow and serve people than ever before
- I am Solid
If you take these affirmation statements and spend even 5 minutes reading and reciting them today, you’ll find your attitude change. Your feelings will change too. You’ll shift away from unhealthy and unfruitful thoughts on what stresses you out into a stream of well-being that produces life, happiness and peace.
Learn how to incorporate this practice and more into your life to cultivate peace in Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole
Cultivating peace in your heart/mind garden a practiced art
Which means repetition is key. The gym you go to for exercising your body is necessary for you to have a healthy vessel to operate out of.
This inner-garden routine is a healthy exercise for the other three parts of you (your mind, heart, and spirit). When you focus on love, you connect to God in a way that brings real healing and truth.
Get personalized training in putting these principles and more into your life today! Apply now to work with me one-on-one for 8 weeks in the most powerful and transformational self-Love training program.