Thought Bricks 18: Follow Up
It is very interesting, I think you will agree, that Bernard includes a “stern phase of self-discipline” as part of the Thought Bricks method for overcoming nerves. I think he has a point, because I have noticed that if I become “nervy” I am usually too caught up in myself and “what might happen”. “Nervy” thinking feeds more “nervy” thinking. It takes self-discipline to break out of that habit and focus attention elsewhere.
It seems all too easy for some to use “nerves” an excuse for not achieving their potential in life. Yet, it is also all too easy for such people to secretly judge and critisise themselves for this. Judgement and blame do not help and just add to the problem. A certain amount of fear or nervousness can arise in the natural process of life. We find ourselves in new and challenging situations and we feel a little bit uncomfortable (or even very uncomfortable) till we adjust and it becomes familiar to us. The more we face new situations and the more we learn to handle them the more we learn that our fears are manageable. What seems to happen with people who are overly nervous is that they have trouble learning to handle their nerves and end up being overcome by them.
There is no need to be nervous about nerves. People who tend to nervousness can get themselves in a loop. They feel nervous and assume that they cannot cope with the situation, or assume that the situation must be dangerous. Yet, nerves are just a physical sensation. No more than that; no less than that. They are an uncomfortable sensation, but that is something we can all learn to cope with. Usually from six to twelve slow, deep breaths will help dispel a nervous feeling. Then a few more deep breaths with the thought “I relax into the abundance of the All Life”, or “Divine Supply easily meets all my needs”. If the nervousness comes back, do the same thing again. This is especially effective if you “nip it in the bud” and start as soon as you feel nervousness arise. This kind of self-discipline is essential for learning to handle nervousness. If you do this gradually you will retrain your nervous system to handle new situations in a more calm and relaxed way.
In the longer term self-discipline in learning to deliberately focus on other things helps break the pattern. Cultivating qualities of the heart: warm heartedness, friendliness and kindness bring with them another very useful quality of the heart – courage. Courage grows by deliberately cultivating it and by also cultivating qualities which connect us with other people and connect us with life.
As you breath out, “All nervousness departs from me now.” As you breath in, “Divine Spirit fills me with warmth and friendliness”.
For some, connecting with the people around them is the very thing which makes them nervous. That is all the more reason to develop a friendly spirit as it will help to dissolve nervousness and make it easier to connect with others at the same time. You don’t have to be a great conversationalist, or have a sparkling wit to connect with others in a wonderful way. A kindly smile works wonders. Asking people about themselves, and taking a genuine and encouraging interest in their answers, creates miracles. I have had wonderful conversations with people where my part mostly comprised me saying “Ah.”, “Oh.” and “Really?” in a genuinely interested, or intrigued tone of voice. If you are shy and wary around people, give that a try along with asking a few questions about the person along the way. Give people a gift by listening to them properly (as that is a rarity in many people’s lives) and your social life will came along in leaps and bounds. It is an interesting thing that someone who listens well makes a much better impression than someone who goes overboard to impress.
The kind of self-discipline we are focused on here, does not mean you have to bully yourself. It does mean, however, taking any nervousness you have in hand. Have a few simple methods handy to cope with nerves, such as the exercises given above, whenever they arise. Develop a friendliness of spirit on a ongoing basis and a natural and easy confidence is yours.