Do you feel sick of feeling sick?
Are you stuck thinking why me?
Is balancing what you want from your life and your health proving tough?
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Warrior, it's time to take back control.
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Reframing Our Perception of Chronic Illness
Did you know that there are thousands of ways to view the same event?
Unfortunately our brains can’t cope with all of them at once, it would literally be information overload. So what do we do? Well effectively, we chose our own reality. But rather than taking a quick look at all the options and deciding which one will work best of us, we tend to go with the one that we see ‘naturally’ based on predetermined ideas we already have about the world (and that’s a whole different topic right there!).
When you actually take a minute and let that sink in, how crazy it that? We tend to think of many aspects of our life as things that happen to us, that are out of our control. That we simply must ride the waves as and when they arrive. Of course we can take actions to try and reduce and increase the likelihood of a certain ‘wave’ coming or not coming our way, but a lot of the time, shit just happens.
And of course that’s true. Some things will just happen. Illness is often a perfect example. But the fact that there are thousands of potential ways to view any one situation, that my friends gives us back some of the power. It puts the control back in our hands!
We have control over ‘how’ and ‘what’ we see
And it’s not just how we see life events, it’s what we see. It is estimated that our senses are exposed to 11 million* pieces of information per day. However, the human brain can ‘only’ absorb 3,456,000* of these (only is probably the wrong word, as lets face it, that’s pretty bloody incredible). The rest, the meagre 7,544,000* remaining pieces of sensory information that we are exposed to every day, but that our brain can’t absorb, well they just pass us by.
Again, think of the possibilities that are opened up by that single piece of information!
Imagine – the exact same thing could happen, in the exact same way at the exact same time, in the exact same set of circumstances to hundreds of people, and they could each come away telling a completely differently story!
Everything that happens to us is an opportunity to choose
OK, I’m a coach, so it’s my job to get excited by this stuff, but this is genuinely exciting, and i’ll admit a little scary. But the fact is, every event, every circumstance and every interaction in our life, present, past or future, provides an opportunity for us to choose what we see and how we interpret it.
Not only that, but there are tools we can use to improve our skills in these areas. Just like Monet painting his Water Lilly Pond, we get to choose what makes it into the frame and what doesn’t, AND whether it is depicted in an impressionist, surrealist or modern style.
We all like to convince ourselves that we see life events in reality, that we don’t want to be that person, who puts a certain spin on everything. We’re not like that, we’re the down to earth one, we call a spade a spade, we see things just as they are. But if you learn one thing from reading this post today, it’s that there really is no such thing a ‘reality’, not that we are capable of perceiving anyway.
We aren’t good enough processors to record life events in enough accurate detail to make them truly real; to process the over 127 pieces of information per second required to do so. At some point, part of our brain, consciously or not, is deciding approximately which 32% of that information we are taking on board, and which 68% is being ditched. And not to mention deciding how that information is going to be viewed.
This gives us a simple choice. Do we continue to let the subconscious of our brain make these decisions for us? Often in some of the most important areas of our life, and on autopilot?
Or do we attempt to take back a bit of control? Do we attempt to train our brain to make those choices selectively, and in a way that serves us? And when it fails to do that, do we take the time to review and re-frame the pictures it’s already saved to memory?
Happiness is a choice
When you step back and look at all this very laterally, it becomes more clear that happiness is a choice. A choice that we can use framing to embrace if we choose to set our mind to it. And it’s a choice I want to show you how to make for yourself, this month in Refresh and Reframe 2018!
So download the workbook here if you haven’t already. Which you can complete as you follow along in the blog posts, live trainings (below) or both!
Also make sure you head over to the Chronic Wellness Community Facebook Group where I’ll be doing live trainings over the coming weeks about all aspects of framing and re-framing, and I would truly love you to come along!
Also make sure to head back over to the blog next week for the second instalment in the series talking about how we frame our view of oursleves and our health.
Until then Wellness Warriors!
*A.R.Jenson, Clocking the Mind: Mental Chronometry and Individual Differences (2006), referenced by S.Achor, Before Happiness (2013).