Let go of fear and live a happy life

Letting Go of Fear to Live a Happier Life

Let Go of Fear and Live a Happy Life.

This sound advice is what I mostly hear or read every time I watch a video or read an article or book.

And it is so true. Fear, in its many forms and shapes, is holding us back from living a happy life.

Unfortunately, this is where most of the videos, articles and books stop.

After having gone into detail about the silliness of giving into fear and what it is doing to our lives, they leave us with the advice to face and conquer our fears and then from there live the happy life we want.

Sure, let’s do that.

The truth of the matter is, however, that is not going to happen for most of us.

The questions that always remain are; how do I let go of my personal fears in my personal life that is so different from everybody else’s? How do I apply the wisdom from the videos and books I watch and read in my life? Where is the connection with my unique doubts, worries and anxieties?

This is where most people get stuck. And then they watch another video, read another book or join the next seminar…without getting the answers they are hoping to get.

So often I can see people being thrilled and excited about the wisdom they have heard or read. But then they go back to the reality of their lives and feel instantly powerless. It is much like that short story from Hans Christian Anderson; “The Little Match Girl”. When the beautiful small flame went out, there was nothing left of the comforting scene she had been watching seconds before.

We know that fear comes from our doubts, worries and anxieties but where do they come from and why do they exist? What if we could answer this question in the first place?

It seems that one of the main reasons for our presence on this planet is learning and evolving. If that is true, which I personally believe, then to learn and evolve, we consistently need to be confronted with new challenges and obstacles.

For this, we have been equipped with a fantastic brain that is able to solve problems and consolidate what we have learned for future use.

So far, so good.

But as if it were a trick from the gods, embedded in our brain is a dislike for uncertainty resulting in the tendency that once we have figured out something, we want to stick to it and never change it again, unless we can make it better.

Here we meet again with the basic survival drive that forces us to always move away from danger and pain to safety and pleasure.

We are hard-wired to resist against giving up most of what we have learned or gained and only want to go forward with more and better.

This strategy may be the best when living in caves like our far ancestors did but not always in our complex modern society.

Holding on to what we have means we stay on the outlook for whatever may challenge the status quo.

This is where doubts, worries and anxieties enter the picture. Consciously or unconsciously we question everything about ourselves and our environment.

“I know that if I would do this or that, my life will be better than it was but…can I do it? Am I strong, smart and worthy enough to accomplish the task? What if I fail…?”

“Failing would already feel terrible for me but what would others think of me when I fail? What would that mean for my position and status? Will people still support and love me?”

“Would I feel safe anyway, or will others take advantage of me?”

These are just a few examples of the questions that run in our minds almost permanently although we know that 40 percent of our worries never happen, 30 percent is history and can’t be undone, and 10 percent is the concern of others.  In other words, 80 percent of our worries are sucking time and energy away from the issues we can actually do something about, of which about half are about our health.

Doubts, worries and anxieties are the guardians that keep us where we are and prevent us from doing what may harm us. The means they use are shame, remorse, guilt and anxiety. The first two relate to the past. Anxiety is about the future and projects a failure of the past forward into the future that way preventing us from trying and failing again.

Doubts, worries and anxieties originate in a fixed mindset that is unable to deal with the uncertainties of life and demanding to keep things the way they are. The result of our fixed view about ourselves and our environment is that we never seem to be able to stop trying to align reality with how we view the world.

Our fixed mindset is based on the three guardians that, with the best intentions, perceive every change as a threat and therefore want to protect us and keep us where we are and the habit of worrying.

Read those last three words of the previous sentence again; “habit of worrying”. The majority of the pain and suffering we go through on a daily basis are because we worry out of habit.

Here we are; how to put an end to worrying for no reason and start being happy for no reason?

Short answer: by accepting and relaxing into the uncertainty of life and stop viewing the world through our unique filter made up of ideas and opinions we erroneously perceive as the absolute and objective truth.

A good indication we are viewing ourselves, others and the world as a whole through our filter is when we feel uncomfortable with what we see, hear or feel. If we don’t put the break on and habitually follow this feeling of uneasiness, we invariably activate the built-in survival instinct that forces us to move away from the discomfort we experience to our known and familiar reality we call safety.

The thing is, if we stick to our view of the world and safety, it will be us against the rest of the world which is a fight we can never win. Unless we wake up and let go of our ego and view of the world, we will continue to suffer.

If learning and evolving is why we are here on this planet, then giving up our false believes about safety and security coming from our fixed ideas is a worthwhile cause. It would certainly mean living a much more rewarding, fulfilling and happier life.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
~ The Serenity Prayer

No magic pill, button or any one-size-fits-all solution. We need to do the deep work ourselves and open up to how things really are, accepting and appreciate what is, be forgiving and kind to ourselves and others and surrender to the uncertainty of life trusting that we are safe and that things always work out.

I would like to end with these three suggestions from the Buddha; commit to not cause harm with your actions or thoughts, to help others and to embrace the world just as it is.

I invite you to visit my website patrickstreppel.com and send me a message with your comments and questions or if you would like to explore how we can work together to experience a happier life for yourself, someone else or a group of people you represent.

Warmest regards.

Patrick.

Making New Year’s Resolutions; Don’t Let Your Brain Fool You.

It is that time of year again that we make New Year’s Resolutions, or at least consider making them.

Good for you if you have found an area in your life where you can make an improvement and are at the point to actually take action.

But be careful; don’t let yourself be fooled by your own brain.

It is what happens to most people. They begin with the best intentions and believe that willpower will do the rest.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, proven by the fact that about 90% of the people throw the towel within a few weeks.

Understanding how things work in your brain can make everything much easier and increase the chances of success dramatically.

When it comes to making changes in our life we have to line up two areas in our brain.

The first area is our prefrontal cortex, indicated by the circle on the left picture. It is the area where we plan, reason, solve problems and make decisions. For this reason, it is called our rational or cool area of our brain.

The circle on the right picture indicates what it is often collectively called our inner or emotional brain, also known as the hot area of our brain.

The function of our rational brain is to learn something as quickly as possible and the function of our inner brain is to consolidate those learnings and convert them into automatic programs also known as habits.

Keep in mind that our inner brain is, in fact, nothing more than a big recording and data machine. It is, in fact, an impersonal, non-thinking, emotionally reacting piece of body tissue.

The point is, however, our inner brain dictates 95% of our daily behavior and we are only aware of 10 to 15% of that behavior; everything else is on auto-pilot.

When you decide with your rational brain, residing in your cortex, to do something different in the New Year, it means that you are, in the end, depending on your inner brain for that change to happen. This means that you have to make some changes in that area of your brain as well.

Thinking that your inner brain will immediately follow the decisions you make with your rational brain is the mistake most people make.

It can happen, but not immediately. It takes time to over-write existing brain patterns in your inner brain. It is where that expression comes from; “it takes about three weeks to install new habits”.

Could well be, but it depends on what you want to change and how you do it. If you do it wrong, it may take forever to install new habits. On the other hand, if you do it right, it could happen much faster.

Point is, when you don’t do it correctly, you’ll invariably activate the defence systems part of your inner brain which is programmed to consolidate, not to easily make changes.

Because it can’t think or reason, it doesn’t understand that the changes you want to make are actually good for you.  Good or bad, the nature of your situation or habit really doesn’t matter; what is familiar and known is safe and everything else means danger.

The funny thing is, the moment you make a decision to change something in your life for the better, you do that with your rational brain. Your inner brain says nothing, thinks nothing and does nothing.

Until it senses that something in our outside your body is different from what it used to be…

The instruments it automatically activates to bring you back to safety are the basic survival instincts feed, fight, flee and freeze.

These instincts translate in daily circumstances into behaviour such as (excessive) eating, aggression, giving up and procrastinating, to name just a few.

Because they are linked to survival, they are tremendously powerful. Trying to tame them with your willpower is playing a losing game and setting yourself up for failure.

Don’t think you can ever change habits by going that route; it is not going to happen.

Change is the outcome of a true learning process that avoids activating the body’s natural stress responses and takes one’s internal and external circumstances into account.

In my presentations, break-out sessions/workshops and coaching I take the time to dissect the previous sentence and give my audiences all the what’s, how’s, tips and tricks so that they finally can achieve their goals and get where they want to be.

Lots of aha-moments and “wish I had known this earlier” is what I often hear.

And that without having to read another 200 to 400 pages self-development book stuffed with exercises hardly anybody can bring up the patience for to do them.

In other words, ready to save time and find out how we can work together to create lasting results for yourself or the audience you represent?

If your answer is yes then follow this link to my website and fill out the form to send me a message to get the ball rolling and make 2018 a year of consistently moving forward.

Have a great new start of the year and I look forward to your message and talking to you soon.

Patrick Streppel.

 

 

Three Simple Habits That Benefit Your Health and Well-Being

Little things in life can make all the difference. Consistently looking for small things that add value to your life and then implementing them, provide enormous benefits in the long run.

Below I describe three simple habits that, if you do them consistently, have a great positive impact on your health and well-being instantly and in the long term.

From today on you can start every new day pumped and energized, ready to deal with whatever may come on your path.

Three daily habits. Here we go.

The first thing you do in the morning when you enter your kitchen is filling a jar with water, pour in the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon and drink a good glass of this fresh tasting mixture.

The reason you want to do this is because lemon water is a natural energizer.

It also hydrates and oxygenates the body which makes you feel revitalized and refreshed, boosts your immune system, washes out unwanted materials, decreases wrinkles, relieves breathing problems, cures throat infections, purifies blood, helps with digestion and is excellent for weight loss.

A lot of goodness coming from freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The second habit is doing some simple body weight exercises for a minute or two such as simple squats, stand up, sit down and stand up again from a chair, walk up and down the stairs a few times or step on and off a sturdy box if you don’t have stairs in the house.

The reason you want to do this is to get your heart rate up, your blood pumping and give your metabolism a boost. Giving your body and metabolism this shake up will make you feel energized, helps with reducing brain fog and optimizes clear thinking.

The third daily habit is to look with gratitude at the new day ahead of you. Be sincerely grateful for the good thinks you have, both big and small and do it with a smile.

The reason you want to do this is because it causes the release in your body and brain of the “feel-good” chemical serotonin.

Serotonin makes you feel positive about yourself, leaves no place for nervousness, anxiety and stress, gives you a satisfied feeling and therefore works as a natural appetite suppressor. Since 80 to 90% of this biochemical is produced in your gut-area it also helps with digestion and bowel movement.

Well there you have it; three simple habits to begin your day with; drink a glass of lemon water, do some body weight exercises – and anything that gets your heart rate up qualifies – and look at the new day with gratitude and a smile.

Please do yourself a favor and realize the tremendous positive impact of these three simple habits on your body and brain and how you will feel for the rest of the day.

I promise you that when you cement these habits into your lifestyle and give your health every day a firm boost with these habits, your feel better every new day.