Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Anyone who comes to see me for private appointments soon learns that I strongly recommend the process of self-coaching. This answers the complaint that many have about understanding something intellectually but not experientially. The way we move a principle that we know in our heads so that it penetrates our feelings is by self-coaching -- using what we know to instruct the part of us that is frightened or resistant. Jeffrey Brantley and Wendy Millstine have the same approach in their little book, Five Good Minutes. Here's a passage that gives some self-coaching advice:

Release the trap

When stressful thoughts inundate us, we all need a quick-fix coping technique. Coping mantras are a simple way to redirect your focus away from anxious thoughts. Positive coping statements enable you to talk yourself through any stressful occurrence. Here are some possible affirmations that will help guide you in your efforts to remain calm and focused. Speak these words aloud:

* "My anxiety will soon pass."

* "I am okay. I am safe. I can cope with any stress that comes my way."

* "I have support and love from others around me."

* "I trust my ability to handle this stress in a calm way."

* "I am choosing to relax now because there will be time later to take action."

Carry these strengthening and calming coping declarations with you throughout your day. By giving yourself permission to find your calm, centered place, you move away from the trapped feelings of anxiety and put yourself in a more pleasant frame of mind.

Of course, if you're in a situation in which it is not appropriate to speak these words aloud, by all means do so silently.

I have learned that reliable self-coaching phrases help me let go of the attachment to things being other than they are. Such an attachment is the primary cause of suffering, after all. Anything that helps us stay in the moment in an accepting way will enable us to alleviate our own suffering consistently and without fail.

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