I have seen countless clients go from stressed and unhappy to living a happy and fulfilling life. This series of articles will primarily focus on a five-step process to help you make the same journey. Because most people spend a large part of their waking hours at work, I will focus on how you can release work stress or anxiety. The tools I teach are innovative stress management tools designed to calm you down wherever you are—be it at home, school, or work. Many companies, groups or individuals that contact me seek a healthy work-life balance—a pleasant way to say 'we are stressed out, please teach us how to clear out this anxiety'. Beyond establishing this balance in your own life, I'd like to motivate you to be a change agent in your world as well. To assist you in going from confusion and stagnation to clarity and freedom in your life, so you can enjoy applying your talents in the world. We spend so much time at work, why not create permission to be happy, calm, and prosperous while we are there?
The Case of Joe and His New Job
The best introduction to this process is a specific case study I experienced with a previous client. His story explains how following just a few steps can positively change your mental state and open you up to a happier life.
Joe* called me because he was feeling frustrated and anxious with his work situation. He had originally worked in a large metropolitan city prior to being transferred by the company to a smaller, more sedate city. His new position was high-pressure and entailed long hours. He was unhappy with the transition. In the first three sessions, we primarily explored what things about his work duties he enjoyed and what in his past work and life felt happy and fulfilling. When he went into his relaxed, self-hypnosis state during the fourth session, we explored what a happy, fulfilling work environment looked like, as if he was already in it. We accomplished this by having him play a game with his mind, imagining going to his near future and seeing himself in his optimal work environment and life.
Creating a Path for Happiness
Our goal was to help him create or access a mental, subconscious filter for "happy, prosperous, calm work and life," so that he would have a gut feeling of what that felt like. Then, he was more likely to naturally gravitate to the action steps he needed to take or people he needed to contact to make that imagined scene a concrete reality. When he came out of trance, we discussed in more detail what he had seen and felt. He clearly described the types of people he was with, what work he was doing, how much he was making, and he saw himself in a different city, one that was more metropolitan and high-powered. He realized what key factors were important to him in his life. We also explored any action steps he felt called to take.
He committed to do the simple action steps of contacting certain people that had popped into his mind during the session, along with practicing the tools (some of which you will learn in these articles). About seven months later, he came in for another session. He was ecstatic, saying, "It happened just like I envisioned in our last session: I got the job I wanted in the city I wanted, and I'm moving next month!" And, his new position had a higher salary.
Develop a Positive Mental Filter
The power of the mind is incredible. If you learn to trust it and use it to your benefit, you can achieve amazing things. Instead of working "bottom-up,"—i.e., going from the details to the big picture—learn to work "top-down" by creating your big-picture mental filter. This process weeds out busy work in life, thereby making life less anxious. We have way too much needless busyness in life as a culture. If you have a purpose for your life that you focus on, you can weed out the anxiety-producing, needless busyness.
In the next segment of my series, I will walk you through the same steps I did with Joe and show you the basics of self-hypnosis. Be prepared to define your goals and be open to understanding a different side to yourself.
*Names have been changed to protect client confidentiality.
Other articles in this series include:
Date of original publication: July 21, 2014.
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©Dr. Barbara Cox, PhD 2011-2014 (Excerpts from "The Muse Process: 5 Essential Steps to Revitalize Your Life")