You live your life inside your own head, and there your rules apply.

 Image: Dreamstime (with licence)


This is how Kristian Hall begins in a new guest post. He is an author and has written behind the book "Opp fra avgrunnen" (translated: Up from the abyss). Here you read the whole post.

Look around you. Various objects are placed on a table, you can see out of the window; different people move where they are going. Someone comes up to you and says something. All of this seems to exist in a real, real world out there. But you can not say anything precise, objective about it. You can only relate to the world as it appears to you.

This may sound strange, but if you think about it, you will gradually realize that it has to be this way. What is the color red? What is the color red for someone who is color blind? There is no way to check that "my red color" is similar to yours. So we each live in an individual, subjective bubble of reality. And that's a nice thing.

This is a good thing because you are then free to make your own set of rules for what means something and what does not. There are laws and rules you must abide by, but they only apply to those situations where your reality intersects with someone else's. This is also good, because it would be tiring to have to come up with those rules every time you have to deal with others.

If you agree with me so far, what does this mean for how you feel? 

If your world is your own, and you have the power to define what internal rules apply, how will you build them? Do you want to fill your inner world with beautiful things and positive words, or do you want to build a war landscape with negativity?

You may think that you do not control what happens to you, both externally and internally, but this is only partially true. Much of what happens to us externally is beyond our control, and knowing how to deal with such things is an important part of having a good time. As Reinhold Niebuhr wrote:

God, give me peace of mind to accept the things I can not change,

courage to change the things I can, 

and sense to see the difference.

How you relate to the world, and what happens to you, is definitely one of the things you have power over. You can over time build a mindset that means that negative things that happen have minimal internal consequences for how you feel. This is true no matter how terrible things have happened to you.

If you really fall apart it's okay, but why have it worse than you have to? You can gradually change the way you relate to what is happening to you.

What exactly are you doing to achieve this? Here are some tips:

 

  1. Use yourself as a yardstick for how you feel, never others. The others are not relevant to you and your inner life, it's just you. Do not think "he has more money than me," she is prettier than me "etc, but think" this year I have exercised more often than last year "," now I was good at eating healthy "etc.
  2. Paint your mind with a layer of Teflon. If someone criticizes you unnecessarily or says something negative, think that it's the sender's problem, not yours (except for those times where the criticism is justified). Gradually filter what you let go of you, parry negative utterances and attitudes, or go somewhere else. 
  3. Seek out activities and people that lift you. Avoid those who are overly negative and drag you down.
  4. Put away screens and phones. Spend more time in a day doing nothing, just existing. It can be difficult at first, but gets easier with time. Take in the beauty that is in everything and everyone, at all times, as long as you look for it.
  5. Choose constructive and educational cultural products. Phase out thrillers and violent movies, at least for a trial period (and see what it does to your mood). Scary and violent movies, series and books can give a short-lived adrenaline kick, but do little to build a harmonious and calm mind. This is especially true for those who struggle with anxiety.
  6. Breath. Breathe calmly and slowly. Learn meditation, and practice it.
  7. Be as much as possible in nature, especially now in the summer, while nature is at its greenest and most beautiful.
  8. Use humor as a weapon in the fight against the negative that happens to you from time to time. Take what happens to you less seriously.
  9. Be radically grateful. That is, if your life were to lie in ashes, be genuinely grateful for what you have that is fine. Hold on to it. And build on from there.

Easy for you to say, you might be thinking? That all this is easy in theory, but difficult in practice. There is only one answer to that; practice makes perfect. Rooms were not built in one day.

- Read more in Opp fra avgrunnen

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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