The Recovering Farmer

Friday, January 21, 2011

Using Your Imagination

It so happens that I have one brother who is the pastor of a church. Go figure. Now, pastoring a church is probably something my father would have wished all his sons would aspire to. Alas, did not turn out that way. Good thing the oldest one went that direction. Carry on the legacy, and all that. It would appear the other two sons had inherited the passion of “evangelism” but channelled it in other directions. It is with that kind of passion I find myself again involved in a project that has been initiated to work with farmers that are feeling overwhelming stress and depression.

My “pastor” brother emailed me a sermon he preached recently entitled “Imagine”. I read the sermon with some interest as I felt many of the thoughts he was putting forward could be utilized by people experiencing stress, anxiety and depression. Now, before you exit this blog thinking this will be a “sermon” of some sort, hear me out.
I have mentioned before that mindfulness is an excellent tool to be used in dealing with stress and depression. One aspect of mindfulness teaches us that we cannot force thoughts out of our mind. However, we can create thoughts that will replace unpleasant thoughts. Try an experiment. Think of something that really stresses you out. Now, for a full minute force yourself not to think about that. Virtually impossible, right? Next, conjure up in your mind a pleasant thought. Find your happy place. Use your imagination. Now, for a minute think about those pleasant thoughts. No problem, right? It works. The idea being to push out unpleasant, anxiety causing thoughts with pleasant thoughts.

As many of you know by now, I am an avid golfer. Back in the days when I was suffering from anxiety and depression I would often wake up during the night and be hit by the most mind numbing anxiety. And if I allowed it, this anxiety would keep me awake for hours. What I did though was think about golf and literally play different golf courses in my mind. I can honestly say that I never finished my fantasy round because I would fall asleep. I had created my own method of mindfulness. If only I could have realized what a novel concept I was using I could have written a book. Made millions. Oops. My imagination is getting away from me.

So, here is a simple tool you can use to overcome many of the negative, harmful thoughts that keep you awake at nights. Thoughts that keep you from getting the rest you need. Use your imagination. And the more you use your imagination the more your body and mind will have the ability to heal and move forward to a brighter and better world. Try it. Make it a good one.

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