Tag Archive: tolerance

The Golden Mean – living magnanimously

 

When I thought of the subject of this blog about 2 months ago, life was a lot different. I was thinking of gaining a pound while on a diet because my eyes are bigger than my slow metabolism. Seems so trivial now.

And yet, it also turns out to be the perfect topic for today.

We’re into the second week of lock-down – voluntary lockdown which may turn into an involuntary one. The reason for forcing everyone to isolate is because too many people continue to ignore that call. Regardless of the truth of that, or of how people chose to isolate, the real point is that people’s tolerance is becoming very low as their anxiety shoots up.

I thought I was pretty calm about this most recent chaos, except that I blew up at a colleague who said something that may have normally annoyed me a little and now is intolerable. That fairly minor incident made me aware of my rising anxiety, and also helped me see that same rise in the people (virtually these days) around me.

As a result, I’ve been practicing grounding and de-stressing techniques daily – sometimes hourly.  I don’t want to become closed and callous to the suffering of those around me. I want to remain open-hearted and connected as much as possible.  With this in mind, I thought of Aristotle.

It was from Aristotle that I really learned of the Golden Mean – it’s everywhere, I know, but I learned it in my studies of Aristotle. For him (my understanding of him), it’s about being magnanimous. His Magnanimous Man was a person who practiced the Golden Mean, who lived in a balanced and open way. Not guarded, or miserly. Not foolishly either. Instead, this person is generous of spirit and moderate of action. (Lao Tsu also had something to say about this – you can read it if you subscribe to my newsletter).

The idea of that magnanimous person is something I now include in my daily meditations.

How to make work life balance work

 

Quote of the Week 

Better stop short than fill to the brim.

Oversharpen the blade,

And the edge will soon be blunt.

Amass a store of gold and jade,

And no one can protect it.

Claim wealth and titles, and disaster will follow.

Retire when the work is done.

This is the way of heaven.

Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 9

 

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To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here. If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co 

.

The Golden Mean – living magnanimously

 

When I thought of the subject of this blog about 2 months ago, life was a lot different. I was thinking of gaining a pound while on a diet because my eyes are bigger than my slow metabolism. Seems so trivial now.

And yet, it also turns out to be the perfect topic for today.

We’re into the second week of lock-down – voluntary lockdown which may turn into an involuntary one. The reason for forcing everyone to isolate is because too many people continue to ignore that call. Regardless of the truth of that, or of how people chose to isolate, the real point is that people’s tolerance is becoming very low as their anxiety shoots up.

I thought I was pretty calm about this most recent chaos, except that I blew up at a colleague who said something that may have normally annoyed me a little and now is intolerable. That fairly minor incident made me aware of my rising anxiety, and also helped me see that same rise in the people (virtually these days) around me.

As a result, I’ve been practicing grounding and de-stressing techniques daily – sometimes hourly.  I don’t want to become closed and callous to the suffering of those around me. I want to remain open-hearted and connected as much as possible.  With this in mind, I thought of Aristotle.

It was from Aristotle that I really learned of the Golden Mean – it’s everywhere, I know, but I learned it in my studies of Aristotle. For him (my understanding of him), it’s about being magnanimous. His Magnanimous Man was a person who practiced the Golden Mean, who lived in a balanced and open way. Not guarded, or miserly. Not foolishly either. Instead, this person is generous of spirit and moderate of action. (Lao Tsu also had something to say about this – you can read it if you subscribe to my newsletter).

The idea of that magnanimous person is something I now include in my daily meditations.

Announcements 

If you like this blog, you’ll also like my newsletters. It’s written only for my insiders who sign up, and provides weekly insights, not only from me, but from others I admire.

To sign up  for my insider newsletter, click here. If you find it doesn’t work for you, all you have to do to unsubscribe is click on the link at the bottom of the newsletter.

Looking forward to welcoming you to my growing list of insiders!

Maryanne

 

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co 

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Affect Tolerance, or How to Love Pain

mindfulness

Affect tolerance is all about learning to tolerate chronic pain.  It’s a big topic, especially around mindfulness practitioners, because being mindful can help someone learn to be OK with chronic pain – even love it!

Having a mindfulness practice helps in at least three ways: it helps us bear pain, it helps us accept aspects of ourselves that we try to ignore (which only serves to intensify the pain), and it helps us adjust our priorities to those that are more in line with life and wellness.

  1. It helps us bear pain. Often when we’re in pain, we make it much worse with our self-talk. “This is intolerable!” “I just can’t do anything with this pain and it makes me so angry!” – are two examples of how we can make the pain we feel remain centre-stage. Learning to separate our negative and un-helpful self-talk from the actual sensations not only provides some objective detachment, but also calms the talk.  This can very effectively reduce the actual sensation of pain. You can see this yourself the next time you feel a pain, say, in your hip: sit in a way that supports that painful part of your body, close your eyes, and breathe.  Then go to the actual area of pain, and imagine breathing right into that area – without attempting to alter the sensation; simply breathing into it; being with it. Do this for a few minutes and notice if there are any changes in the sensation as a result.  Most often, you will notice there is a change – a diminishing or softening of the sensation.
  2. It helps us accept ourselves as a whole, instead of limiting that acceptance to certain parts of ourselves. Pain can be a “pain”, but it can also be a friend – by telling us when we’ve gone too far. As we age, our bodies become increasingly limited in their ability to respond to our demands. Instead of fighting this, honoring what our body is able to do – and not able to do – is going to make us – ultimately – more content, moving from self-judgment and self-criticism to self-appreciation and support.
  3. It helps us adjust our priorities – to those that better serve us. This is closely linked to self-acceptance, and is really an extension of that idea: comparison to others who we judge as more fit or less in pain can only lead to misery. For instance, I can compare myself to my slim friend who can eat anything she wants, then judge myself wanting because I can’t eat anything I want without gaining weight and adding pressure to my knees.  Or, I can chose to focus instead on my successes – my depth of knowledge on what truly nourishes me, for instance; which I have only because I must watch what I eat. My priority can be to be ‘better than’, or it can be to be healthy and happy with what I have.  My choice.

My mother, for a number of reasons, had severe osteoporosis in her old age.  Because of this ailment, she had trouble walking and was almost constantly in pain. At first she fought it and ultimately made things worse by doing so.  Then she learned to accept and live with it, getting on with her life as best she could. She didn’t have a mindfulness practice – not much was known about mindfulness in the Western world at that time – but she did learn to really appreciate what was available to her, along with her limitations.  I can only wonder now what having a practice could have done for her.

Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .