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The distinctive traits of an empowered life

What I've learnt over the years is that taking control of our experience (consciously responding to life) is what empowers us. It's being aware of all the resources you have, as well as the blind spots, and exercise conscious choice in how to be and act in the world. Rather than reacting to situations like we always have, taking a moment to recognise what is really going on and choosing to respond differently, consciously.

This feeling that we have a say, a sense of control over our life, can literally determine how well we adapt to the circumstances we're in. Psychologically as well as physically, since our mind and body are really one system and the body responds directly to the state of the mind (our thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, etc).

I was amazed to hear about a study recently which confirmed this inner knowing I've had for a long time. They were studying 3 groups of rats and how their mind influences their body's ability to heal. (Not delighted about the way it was conducted but amazed about the results.)

There were three groups of rats infected with cancer. The control group received no treatment or special attention and 50% of them died and 50% got better. Then there were 2 other groups - both of which were given electric shocks - of which one group had the option to stop the shocks (by pushing a lever) and the other group had no such option.

The amazing result was that in the group that had the option to stop the shocks, they quickly learned to do so, and in that group 70% of the rats fought off the cancer and got well. In the other group, which also received electric shocks but had no option to stop them, after a while the rats were found to just lie listlessly, and only 30% of them survived!

Just let that sink in.

What does that tell us?  

The group that received the electric shocks (as we all do metaphorically as we go through life with its difficulties) but felt they had control over it, recovered significantly better than the group that didn't receive any shocks at all! Whereas the group that felt they had no control over their life, gave up quickly in their minds and their bodies gave up too.

I see life being the same in this way. We all receive "shocks" as we go through life, which come in the shape of challenges, big and small.

The point isn't to avoid all the "shocks" life presents us with, but instead to respond to them with a sense of power, knowing that we can exercise control in how we respond to them.

This allows us to grow through life. It helps us get wiser and stronger with every lesson and experience.

On the other hand, if we resign ourselves to the illusion that we're victims of our circumstances, that we have no say in how our life is going, that the circumstances are bigger than our power, we might end up just like those listless rats in the study that gave up.

We might end up managing our symptoms of discontent in different (unsustainable) ways, such as having one too many drinks in an attempt to take the edge off, or compulsive eating/spending/overwork... that may only compound the problem. Or we might try to close ourselves off from the world and build metaphorical walls in an attempt to protect ourselves.

This is unsustainable because it's the equivalent of sweeping unwanted stuff under the rug....until there's no more space and it all starts to roll out.

Not wanting to face our situation, and claim back our innate power, comes with a high price.

Instead, what I propose is living consciously and courageously.

Which really means responding to our life consciously, taking control of the only thing we really have any control over - how we respond to the world around us in every moment. The awareness we bring to our state moment to moment, the presence we bring to our relationships, the intentions we bring to our actions.

By choosing how we respond, rather than being thrown into reactions unconsciously, we develop a sense of inner strength, and inner confidence. We feel that we are the creators of our own lives, and don't let life just happen to us anymore.

This makes us stronger, more in charge of ourselves, and therefore more in charge of our lives.

And it also makes us happier. :)

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope this was helpful. Wishing you a life marked with courage and empowered choices!

If you wish to be inspired to live consciously and courageously, and guided along the way with prompts in a supportive group, join my free, private Facebook group below.

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