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30 August 2017

Focusing on 'the good' helped me let go of worry and stress

Freelance writer Anneke Scheepers explains how she won the battle against negativity.

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In 2015 I started realising that my physical well-being was taking strain because of my state of mind. I was anxious, tense and generally stressed out, but initially didn’t understand that my body was a reflection of how I was thinking about my life.

I was in a race, running from point A to B, chased by a perceived threat of scarcity, thinking, "What if I don’t have enough?"

Avoid a scarcity complex

The realisation that I was thinking myself out of physical well-being came gradually, through the practice of yoga. As I focused on the postures in class, I was distracted from the fear of scarcity; I was distracted from worry. As the instructors led me through the postures, "affirming" the practice, it became clear that I hadn’t been affirming myself. I had been scolding myself like a mean parent. I realised that that needed to change.

It has been confirmed so many times that a positive state of mind can help ward off illness and boost immunity. If this is such an obvious thing, why aren’t we doing it?

A scarcity complex takes us away from thinking about what we are thankful for and about what makes us happy. Instead, we spend our time worrying about what’s next, what’s needed and worst of all, what’s been lost.

I realised that my state of mind, and consequently the state of my body, was at the mercy of what I was telling myself. I had to begin to tell myself some good things. At first, I didn’t know how. I had no idea how to ease up and become my own best friend instead of my own worst critic.

'A step toward contentment'

So to begin cultivating a more positive mindset. I started small and started backing away from the scarcity-motivated effort to try and "change or fix things" and began focusing on how I could accept things as they are. Most of all, I started making and effort to accept myself.

Think about it, if you really accept yourself, you won't constantly think, "Oh, I need this and I wish I had that." It’s a step toward contentment and away from resentment.

Reading positive affirmations, surrounding myself with people who are a good influence and practicing yoga were some of the steps I took – and my world started opening up. I started receiving the things I needed because I was open and no longer distracted by constantly wanting those things. I no longer felt "lacking".

Perhaps the first thing to do is to observe how certain people or situations make you feel. There is nothing wrong with avoiding, if possible, the things that make you feel bad and lead you away from a healthy and peaceful state of mind.

I learned that paying attention to the things that made me smile made me smile more, and made me a happier and healthier person.

Image credit: iStock

 
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