Friday, April 27, 2012

Tough Times Part 3 - Cause and Effect

In this post I will introduce “The Law of Cause and Effect”. However, prior to doing so I’d like to clarify how those impartial forces, factors and issues (or stuff, if you like, that I discussed in my last post) directly affect our health.

If you remember I said this stuff exists in our lives whether we like it or not. It doesn’t ask our permission to be here. It just is! I also stated that this stuff could control us and our response to life so much so that we feel victimized by life. Or, we can become empowered as we exert dominion over this same stuff by responding to it in a thoughtful and organized manner.

Now don't get me wrong, I’m not advocating that we go around looking for tough times & problem areas in order to feel empowered. There’s enough stress to go around for everyone and to purposely seek more would be foolish! What I’m saying is that when tough times occur we should trust in our innate ability to take charge and deal with them in a forthright manner.

While on the subject of stress let me share some important information. Stress is not necessarily a bad thing. Cases of acute stress lead to the “fight or flight” response, which, in most cases, saves our life. However this type of stress normally occurs over a short period of time and subsides once the perceived danger disappears. When stress occurs adrenaline is secreted into our body by the adrenal glands. Adrenaline increases our heart rate, constricts our blood vessels and dilates our air passages. This provides the extra energy needed to activate the “fight or flight” response and deal with the immediate danger.

Let me provide you with an example. I’m a former Marine Officer and Naval Aviator. I flew from the decks of 4 different aircraft carriers. My most stressful times occurred during our approach and landing back aboard the ship. Night landings were tough and night landings during bad weather were extremely stressful. However after the landing (or trap) my stress level was greatly reduced and my body had time to recover.

Nowadays, in modern society, we are faced with continual stress and the continuous release of adrenaline into our bodies. This isn’t a good thing.  Many organizations have concluded that stress is the number 1 cause of sickness and disease. It has been reported that up to 90% of doctor visits are directly related to the effects of stress.

Much of this stress is unnecessary and caused by our response to the stuff discussed earlier. Examples of this stuff are: broken relationships, financial hardships, sickness, disease, death, natural disasters, uncaring people, etc. We can avoid much of this stress by choosing our response to the circumstances that life presents.

The Law of Cause and Effect simply says: “We Choose How We Experience Life.” We can either allow the circumstances in life to control us (be at the effect of life) where we experience life by continually looking over our shoulders with a sense of impending doom. Or, we can respond to these same circumstances in a manner that keeps us calm, confident, creative and connected to our Inner Voice which continually directs us towards our goals and ultimate life’s purpose (be at cause of life). The choice is ours!

In closing let me share with you a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Shallow men believe in luck,
believe in circumstances.
Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
Stay strong my friends!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tough Times Part 2 - Empowered or Victimized?

Based on my last post I think it's fair to say that most of the circumstances in which we find ourselves are impartial. By this I mean they occur whether we like it or not and don't ask our permission to be here.

Also in my last post I used the example that a hurricane had entered the Gulf of Mexico and how weathermen responded positively and past hurricane victims responded negatively to this event. The point is that a hurricane “Is What It Is”! It’s a force of nature and, in most cases, will weaken, strengthen and its path be determined based upon atmospheric conditions, not our likes or dislikes.

The impartial events that occur on a regular basis in our lives (financial crisis, natural disasters, broken relationships, sickness and death, etc.) are there whether we like it or not. It's our resistance to and the emotions we attach to these events that cause us additional suffering and stress. Remember, stress is the number 1 cause of sickness and disease.

Have you ever noticed that the event causing us the stress is located outside of us? Have you also noticed the pain we feel that's related to this event is located inside of us? The point is that we are in charge of how we respond to external drama.

Now, I am not saying that we have to like what's going on in our life. What I am saying is the quality of our life is affected by the manner in which we respond to what's going on. This brings to mind the Serenity Prayer, which is recited at all Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings. It reads:
"God grant us the serenity to
accept the things we cannot change,
courage to change the things we can,
and wisdom to know the difference."

You’ve got to understand that WE choose the quality of our lives. WE, CAN TAKE CHARGE of our response to the circumstances and situations in our life or, we can allow these circumstances and situations to take charge of us.

For instance, in the example of a hurricane,
WE take charge when we:

1. Determine a safe evacuation location based on the storms predicted path.
2. Make sure that our vehicles are gassed up and working properly.
3. Secure our homes and businesses to the best of our ability.

Notice that all of these activities begin with things WE CAN DO. We become empowered when WE take charge of how WE respond. Then, no matter what happens WE'RE READY TO DEAL WITH IT!

The HURRICANE takes charge of us when we think or say:

1. “What's going to happen to me now?”
2. I hope my car doesn't break down on me.
3 This storm is going to destroy me!

Notice in the above examples that WE seem to be hopeless and helpless as this same hurricane seemingly has its way with us. We then become the object/victim of its actions.

“It's up to us whether we become empowered by circumstances or become victimized by them.”

In my next post I will discuss “The Law of Cause and Effect” and how we can positively take charge of our lives.

If you have any questions or would like to comment, please fill free to do so.

Until next time, Thank you and God bless.