Why You Should Try The Work of Byron Katie
When life becomes a nightmare, wake yourself up
Recently, life has taken a toll on my mental health. More accurately, the anxiety, pressures, overwhelm and stress of the last few years erupted into a week-long anxiety attack last month. I have never experienced anything so scary or so torturous — and I hate to think of anyone else going through that.
Mental health struggles run in my genes, and my upbringing ensured that I would battle with difficult thoughts and emotions on a regular basis. Add the uprooting of immigration (major lifestyle change), deconversion from a life-long religion (major lifestyle change), two rambunctious little ones, no family support, the collective stress of COVID, and personal chronic health issues— I became the perfect candidate for a nervous breakdown.
Not everyone has responded to COVID in the same way. (There’s a massive understatement!) At one end of the spectrum, some people have felt so little fear and concern that they have objected to any protection measures. At the other end of the spectrum are the people who skyrocketed sales of CBD and why therapists have waitlists like never before. Why the difference?
That’s obviously a multifaceted answer, but for the purposes of this article, I want to talk about the impact of the thoughts we think. One small thought is actually part of a series of multilayered thoughts in a system that is our mental programming. Through past experiences and dispositions, our brains make judgments of people, places, events, and things and file them away as information for future events.
As the Greek stoic philosopher, Epictetus, said, ‘It’s not events that upset us but our judgments about events.’ How our thought patterns interpret a situation is what generates our emotional reactions and affects our coping abilities.
It’s not past events that are affecting me so much as how I interpreted those events and the thoughts they imprinted within me. My thoughts guide me and dictate how I react to present-day situations.
Don’t Believe Everything You Think
In her unconventional book A Thousand Names for Joy, Byron Katie sums up her outlook on life,