For many transitioning Mormons or post-Mormons, including myself, the mental roller coaster is a constant reality. The peaks and valleys can be sharp or more subdued. The important thing is to stay in control. No I am not always in control but I am very good at quickly noticing when I am loosing control of my emotions. As I am going through this faith transition I am often in a heightened state of sensitivity with my feelings raw and my mind swirling with unclear ideas. In these moments, it is important for me to remember that I am not my feelings. My feelings are just passing through just like the constantly changing weather.
Triggers of negative emotions are all around us. We need to be aware of what will push us on the “loosing control” side. It’s good to find comfort with one or more facebook groups–or other outlets which can provide a soft landing place–but it is also important to retract from the noise and find that quiet place inside. Meditation is the perfect tool for me to practice quieting my mind. It takes some time and practice but it works every time as I apply it consistently. I have found that even as little as one minute of silent meditation, focusing solely on my deep breathing, can help me re-center myself.
Negativity is very powerful, especially when we are hurting. Anger, cynicism, mistrust and self-doubt can quickly take over if we are not careful and continue to feed these emotions with the same negative triggers. Thanks to my therapist, I am now a firm believer of not ignoring my feelings whether positive or negative. I am learning to lean into the discomfort for the necessary amount of time. The process is cathartic and has been a big part of my mental healing.
I believe in cleansing my heart and my mind everyday through meditation and other useful tools I keep in my “positive tool box”. Yes, I have made a list and look at it every morning just as a friendly reminder. We must each create our own “positive tool box”. These tools allow me to re-focus on what matters most: my happiness as well as the happiness of my loved ones and anyone I can influence. My “positive tool box” includes meditation, fitness, clean eating, singing, dancing, piano playing, the outdoors, laughing with my husband and children, writing, reading/listening to good books and podcasts, polishing one of the languages I have learned and making someone happy. I make a point each day to do at least five of these things. None of these things have to be for a long period of time and there is a positive outcome each time I do any of them.
Remembering the basics is important. To choose is to create. We are in charge of the choices we make. We create the life we want. What we choose to think or do determines how we feel. A constant negative mind cannot lead to a positive life. At times it may take colossal efforts to overcome the negativity weighing down on us because of the pain we feel. We must keep in mind that like the weather our feelings are not permanent, they are just passing through. Each day I strive to learn from the experiences I am living. I am holding on to my good habits. I take lots of deep breaths. I keep all the good I have gained from my upbringing in the Mormon church and add to it from a vast world that has much to offer. I am grateful to sail through life knowing that I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul.