Unhappiness is not a physical affliction. It’s an emotional one. If we can truly realize that, it puts a whole different perspective on the situation, and it redirects our effort to overcome it.
Unhappiness cannot be overcome by changing our actions or getting a divorce or moving to a new place or getting a new job. All those things are helpful of course, since many of those things will generate emotions to counterbalance the negative ones we are feeling. But what if those actions aren’t viable options? We can still learn how to effectively deal with painful emotions.
I went to a weekend retreat several years ago in Portland, Oregon called “Here and Now”, and the technique was called “Bringing Your Mental Self Back Home”. The gist of it was to focus and observe the stream of thoughts, feelings, and memories that were rambling through your mind, and to make a direct effort to not take any ownership of them. Just let them pass.
So many of the thoughts we have are either randomly or automatically generated by our brains as a learned response to events. Some of them are probably coming from some of the very primitive parts that evolved long ago under very different circumstances and based on very different needs. I’m talking about the evolution of our brains over (at least) thousands of years.
The approach I’ve adopted for myself has been a process of several years, and isn’t anything I can expand upon in detail in a single blog. But I’m offering the technique as a possibility for any of you who find yourself in the process of divorce or other emotional trauma. I believe that it holds promise for most people that are willing to be open to it.
An aware psychologist might call it “mindfulness medication”, as did the one we visited for two sessions before my wife moved out. There are many approaches to the technique, and some will be more helpful than others depending on where you are at mentally and/or spiritually. But if it sounds interesting to you, give it a Google. And good luck.