JOURNEY TO WHOLENESS
Hope and Gratitude During Hard Times
Jude LaClaire, Ph.D.
The media, movies, and current culture optimize our attraction to fear. The body-mind reacts instantly to something that appears to be a threat. We are wired to flee, fight or freeze in response to assumed danger. When we lived in caves this mechanism served us well. It protected individuals and the community from harm. In today’s more sedentary world, this response does not serve us so well.
The neurobiological response to fear can be exciting. All systems are ‘go’ and we are ready to act. But systems are drained and shut down to recharge. The stimulus-response loop of fear can be addictive. It is also linked to depression, emotional instability, anxiety, and other addictions.
Our body-minds are a marvelous and complex communication system. We know that feelings of joy or sadness, peace or gratitude are all activated in this same mind-body-cell-gene loop of communication. This natural response mechanism can be the key to healthy approaches. When a fearful idea or image is stimulated we have the opportunity to recognize it, look at it, and transform it into a helpful, life-giving idea or image.)
Deepak Chopra in his forward to Molecules of Emotion by Candice Pert says, “She shows that our biochemical messengers act with intelligence by communicating information, orchestrating a vast complex of conscious and unconscious activities at any one moment…This bodywide information network is ever-changing and dynamic, infinitely flexible. It is one gigantic loop, directing and admitting information simultaneously, intelligently guiding what we call life.”
Awareness of one’s emotional, physical, or intellectual state is very important. A fun way to remember this is, “Name it and tame it.” In almost every situation, taking deep diaphragmatic breaths is the next thing to do. Remember to breathe out twice as long as you breathe in. This resets the brain, relaxes the body, and enables us to continue the process of problem-solving in a calmer, more open way. We have more of ourselves present. Then try this next process.
Take some simple steps to re-frame an image or thought.
Make a statement with "I" and a present action verb.
I feel anxious and frightened about possible impending danger.
Make a statement telling what you can accomplish now.
I am in charge of my feelings and my responses to what thoughts or images present themselves. I can choose what I look at or listen to.”
State what you can do now and in the future to be ‘proactive’, creating a thought or image of hope, peace, gratitude, etc.
I can become aware of how I feel; breathe, relax and take time.
I can imagine some times when I felt safe, in charge, nurtured.
I can remember what I have now and think thoughts of appreciation and gratitude.
I can continue to create specific, concrete images and thoughts that are helpful and healing.
Our thoughts and images create physical, mental, and emotional realities. In the book “The Messages from Water”, Masaru Emoto, a creative Japanese researcher, scientifically demonstrates how the energy of words, sounds, visual images and smells affect the molecular structure of water. Water adapts to whatever environment is present. Our bodies are seventy percent water. Emoto visually documents the molecular changes in the water. You can find these images on the website http://www.wellnessgoods.com. We can change our inner and outer environment; the mind-body self and our external environment by what we think and imagine!
Recently my family experienced the sudden illness and death of a beloved family member. My niece’s husband left us at the young age of fifty, survived by his lovely wife and boys ages sixteen and twelve. The long drive to Chicago to attend services was one for thought on how to face life’s challenges. Within days of this, I was informed that a client of sixteen years, whom I had seen recently, died in an automobile accident. He was fifty-two. I went to two funerals within a week’s time. Like you, I am following the continued COVID-19 deaths, and more alarming, the many deaths and great suffering in Ukraine. I urge you to use this time to go deeper, to reset your whole being in a direction of love, peace, and gratitude. We can do it.
Jude LaClaire, Ph.D., LCPC is a counselor and educator. She is the author of the Life Weaving Education Curriculum that teaches creative, effective holistic problem-solving. For counseling appointments (confidential video or in-person sessions), seminars, speaking engagements or information on Neurobehavioral Programs or Imago Relationship Therapy call