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Problem Solving (Part B)

Take one small step again and again and again. Each time you realize that you are thinking about the problem, or creating an unproductive picture, use this as a cue to substitute the one small step you've determined - perhaps a healthy or nurturing image, prayer, or affirmation. These steps need reinforcing, so be creative in coming up with new ways to work with them. Write out your verbal statements or draw the desired pictures. Make several copies and place them around where you will see them often. Especially when dealing with illness, spend several short relaxation periods each day re-creating the healing images or repeating your words of healing. Put other cues in your environment to remind you to plug in the positive: colored stickers, small pictures, or perhaps spiritual or religious images.

Postpone worry. If the situation is one that can't be helped today because all the facts aren't in, or all the planets aren't in alignment, or whatever, postpone your worrying! Determine to think about it tomorrow, and get on with the business of today. Is there an action you can take at a particular time in the future that will improve the situation? If there is, make a commitment to follow through on that action. Many people find it helpful to ask themselves what would be the worst possible outcome should the situation they are worrying about eventuate. Often, it's not that big a disaster, not worth the attention they are giving it. Or, maybe otherwise. Maybe the outcome would be death or worse, for themselves or a loved one. In this case, it is necessary to make some degree of peace with the "worst," however that is possible. The next two steps may aid you.

Grieve when nothing will change. Maybe there's nothing anyone can do about the situation that is disturbing you, ever! If that's the case, each time the painful thought arises you may want to take a few moments to acknowledge the loss that you may be feeling at the irreparable nature of the problem, then do your best to open yourself up to the next moment. This may mean releasing yourself into the hands of a "higher power," or remembering all those throughout the world who are suffering a loss similar to yours, and taking some comfort and strength in knowing that you are not alone; or it may mean taking whatever action you can to redirect your mind to move in a more hopeful direction.

Practice gratitude for what is. Instead of becoming preoccupied with the future or worrying about the past, wrestle (if you have to) your attention into the present moment in all its richness. Instead of focusing on what you don't have, focus on what you do have. Attend to the gifts and graces around yourself all the time. Look at the sky. Look at the trees. Look at children.

Forgive yourself for any failures, difficulties, or compulsions experienced or encountered in your efforts to change your mind's direction. Accept yourself as you are, as gently as you would accept a friend in the same situation.

Kay's story testifies to the value of this well-thinking approach. Kay had a lump in her breast and was scheduled for surgery. She reported that the picture in her mind was of a black mass with tentacle-like arms. She thought of it as cold and hard and evil. She played that picture over and over, day in and day out, becoming more and more fearful as she actually imagined the lump growing in size, eating up everything in its path. When instructed in the process of well-thinking, she drew a picture of what a healthy, clear breast would look like. She used yellows and golds and wide, free, circular, spiraling movements. She placed copies of the picture everywhere. This was the picture she used in breaking her negative programming. Each time she noticed it, she paused momentarily and allowed the positive image to sink into her. She did this for two weeks. When she next saw her doctor, he examined the lump and, in amazement, reported that it simply seemed to dissolve under his fingertips. He had no rational explanation for it. But Kay knew why.

Of course, there are many factors involved in any disease situation. It would be foolish to say that imagery alone "cured" Kay. But it would be equally foolish to deny the body-mind connection. Current research shows that an optimistic attitude helps surgical patients to heal faster and diminishes their need for pain medication.

<< Previous Problem Solving | Back to Thinking | Next >> Self-Healing (Imaging Flip)
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