What is self mastery? I believe many of us have a general idea of what it is but that general understanding never seems to turn into practical application.
Self mastery is a targeted focus on what you can control within you until it’s so well practiced that you no longer have to be so conscious of what you’re practicing.
It’s a combination of these components:
- Thoughts and perceptions – The ability for us to use our newest brains (Neo Cortex) rather than let it use us. Thinking is different from replaying in that it’s a conscious act rather than an unconscious one. Replaying is allowing yourself to strengthen the same ideas you ran in your head yesterday, thinking is growing a new idea into a belief.
- Body – An awareness over the multitude of things you can consciously control with your body. Remember that your physiology controls your psychology. A great place to begin is shifting your posture, slowing down your speed, and deepening your breathing patterns.
- Verbal communication – What you say is always noted in the subconscious mind, and this mind takes everything literally and doesn’t understand sarcasm. This means that what you say becomes who you are.
- Imagination – We can wake up in the morning and unconsciously imagine a day full of struggle, or consciously imagine a pleasant day ahead. Just a few minutes of conscious imagination can set the tone for the entire day.
- Brainwave shifts – This means that you’re no longer on automated high beta, rather you’re allowing yourself to visit alpha during the day. High beta brainwave states reflect a person who’s multi tasking, on the go, over-thinking, and highly focused on the next thing on their to-d0 lists. Visiting alpha brainwave states allow us to become more creative, more imaginative, and it gives our nervous systems a chance to heal.
As we begin understanding the question of ‘what is self mastery’ more deeply we must also understand what to apply to become the true anxiety warrior you deserve to be. With any habit changes (mental, verbal, behavioural, imaginative etc) there comes resistance. Make sure to anticipate and be prepared for this resistance on your journey towards anxiety recovery and inner transformation.
Here’s what we must focus on to develop self mastery
Inspiration – Inspiration doesn’t mean getting your temporary dopamine fix through daily quotes and never changing anything. It means using targeted information as fuel to make a lasting change. Mental health quotes can be valuable when used for deeper insights and new actions, remember this.
Personal example: In the back of my mind I new inspiration alone wasn’t something I could rely on solely to reach a better inner point in my life. It was a starting point, and I realized that when it came from the inside it was longer lasting then relying on anything on the outside.
Every morning I woke up and reminded myself that my son was going to pick up many elements of who I chose to be, my good friends would be positively or negatively affected by my presence, and I wanted to make a positive impact on this world.
Inspiration must lead to drive, which must lead to a relentless focus on self mastery.
Courage – The courage to see environments and experiences from the present and past through all sorts of different lenses (flexibility in thinking), and not be forced into impulsiveness based on memory. When emotionally reframing past traumas for example you need a moment of courage to shift the perception over the experience at a deep level.
Personal example: Walking into an environment with hesitation and sensitivity such as my old high school and recognizing the new equipment in the school gym, the new scent, the happy kids playing, the teachers that taught me valuable lessons. A new experience demands a certain amount of courage, but not necessarily for a lengthy period of time.
Your current perspective and emotional state will dictate how you feel towards any future environments, remember that.
Mindfulness – Awareness around your feelings and what’s connected to them (Claire Weekes was great for me in this department). There’s a difference between a feeling and an emotion. A feeling comes from our reptile or survival brains (most primitive part) and emotions come from the limbic system (2nd, emotional brain).
As we become more mindful around what we feel we can understand what the survival brain is interpreting as a potential threat. This level of mindfulness gives us the opportunity to feel something ‘icky’ but not allow it to become an emotion that triggers the amygdala into fight our flight.
Personal example: I used to have massive fears around not being accepted by others. So I mindfully reminded myself that those people I thought were judging me so harshly were battling their own personal battles. They didn’t have the time nor the energy to analyze and label me, so with mindfulness came less negative feelings.
We cannot change anything until we are mindful of what we need to change.
Acceptance – When reflecting on acceptance towards self mastery we want to make sure we re-perceive what we would normally deem as being a setback or mistake. Setbacks are just feedback, nothing else (here’s a YouTube video that will help with your recent setback). This is valuable information for someone looking to create self mastery since they now can recognize what not to do next time.
Personal example: I got rid of the word ‘fail.’ I replaced it with opportunity. I never failed when I felt anxious driving to work, I had an opportunity to dig into why I felt anxious while driving to work. That understanding led me to ridiculing the catastrophic scenarios I played out in my mind. Soon, those same thoughts came and left rather than sticking around.
Making peace with peace – We must understand peace, create a friendship with peace, a better relationship, and to surround ourselves with peace in a society that’s addicted to suffering. Many people are afraid of peace because their survival brains make them feel like they’ll miss something or something may go wrong. This constant fight or flight activation can become depersonalization quickly.
Personal experience: Peace scared me because I was face to face with uncertainty. The uncertain feeling of allowing my anxiety symptoms to be present rather than being reactive to them and search for answers frantically. I realized that peace is a gateway to a higher self that can help me to view myself as more than just this physical body.
The laws of nature demand that we live our lives without the desire to control every aspect of it.
Strategy – A set plan that will enable you to create better habits towards self mastery. A sound strategy to heal anxiety and become a new identity demands a focus on past, present and future. To clean up the past (forgiveness, new interpretations, shift in core beliefs about ourselves and the world), to learn how to respond to fear and our setbacks, and to feel that our futures will be pleasant rather than painful.
Personal experience: My rational brain used to talk me out of committing to a daily strategy for self mastery because it was threatened by the idea of change. Familiarity equals safety. So my brain (and bodily feelings) would always look to pull me back into irrational fear. That is, until I recognized that this was happening which also put an end to my health anxiety.
So what is self mastery and how do we achieve it? it’s a re-build of your self worth and an unconditional trust in life. That’s what self mastery is.
Here’s a video you must watch that will give you an even deeper understanding of the universal principles that will lead to self mastery. Don’t forget to subscribe to The Anxiety Guy YouTube Channel for the very best in anxiety support today.