Dealing with Depression/Anxiety, Guilt, Stress
I've been having a psychological issue that has been plaguing me for as long as I can remember that I am sure is not uncommon. I have a tendency to beat myself up and not forgive myself for past mistakes. For instance, today I was almost in a car accident that would have been my fault, but fortunately it was averted but by a split second.
However, I still can't stop wondering what could have happened if I had not been so lucky and how well I would have managed the situation and dealt with the shame afterwards. I have been in this situation before and I always have the same feeling afterwards and after any time I narrowly avoid a major mistake.
Also, things seem to be going relatively well for me in life but I also wonder what could have happened to me if I was not so fortunate and if I had made the wrong choices in the past. "Where would I be now, if I had/had not done this or that?"
I feel like when I should just feel grateful of where I am now or of what has or has not happened to me, I just agonize over how bad things could be otherwise and how much worse I could have been.
Do you know what I may be able to do to overcome feeling this way?
I would rephrase the question from "overcome feeling" to "overcome thought"!
All action and reaction stems from thought. Feelings develop from the content that remains in focus within your mind.
If you give power to thought, any thought, that forms the basis for all actions which follow. If you think "its hot out, it would be a nice day for a swim, I have some free time, I know so and so would come with me, etc,"
those thoughts will have you putting on your swim suit, calling your friend, and heading for the beach. Not a bad idea on a hot day, but that thought could just as well be negative in nature and it could have you feeling depressed, sad, angry , suicidal, or a host of other emotions. Thought and the power you give it is at the root of all action, reaction, and aberrant psychological formulations.
With that said, how do you fix it? How do you fix the thoughts which remain focused in awareness and which cause your psychological dilemma?
The brain gathers information through the senses and it then builds a reality of the environment from that information. Touch something hot and the brain registers "hot"
and causes you to recoil your hand in reaction to that information. This aspect of the process is natural and needs no further conditioning to learn, "be careful when touching hot things". But the mind then goes through a process of clinging to that event long after it has happened. It replays the event numerous times. This aspect of the process is "illusion" The mind dwells in unreal formulations. Things that simply do not exist in reality become real in your mind. The mind clings to delusion and fantasy. It wanders into that grey zone of the unreal. This is where the aberration forms and grows if you permit the mind to dwell in illusion and build a reality from it.
The body, even though the pain may still register slightly from the hot surface, is locked into reality. It is rooted in the moment and can never wander from it like the mind tries to do. It is through this aspect of the body and the senses that the mind can find its way home to reality and stop the illusory and delusional thoughts.
When you discover your thoughts are not linked to the senses in the moment, then you are dwelling in illusion. Your mind is clinging to and building unreal formulations to non-existent delusions of fantasy and illusion, created from the thoughts in your head. When you think, "this could have happened had I not hit the breaks", or "why am I always doing such things...etc" then your mind is disconnected from the reality of the body and the senses within the present moment. You could be eating ice cream when this happens and because of the power of thought you will not even taste the ice cream. Your mind is building a false reality out of the thoughts and unless you return to focusing on the senses within the body, your mind will continue to wander into this fantasy world. This will take you to depths of emotion that just do not exist in your real world but they become real because you give those thoughts which cause the emotion power to grow. "Water a weed and it will grow. Refuse it water and it will die." Thoughts are the same. If you give power to thought it will grow and develop fully in consciousness whether the thought is real or not.
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If you overcome the thoughts which generate the feelings then you become the master and not the slave.