Leading alternative psychologist and author, Kirsty Lucinda Allan, is urging people to approach lockdown 3.0 with a fresh outlook using her radical approach to reframing anxiety.
The author of ‘Ironic Fundamentalism – a journey from anxiety to enlightenment’ shares her ‘What If’ guide to a more positive outlook on the months ahead:
Lockdown is not the same as locked in or out
If you find that you are feeling as though you are a prisoner in your own home or contrastingly, that your usual places and spaces are now an alien territory, be reassured that you have an amazing opportunity here. When we are fixating on our homes and places, we are fixating on the material world around us. Of course, you know that we are much more than the atomic nuts and bolts of buildings, carparks and even our own bodies, right? If you are frustrated with your material space, recognise that this frustration is telling you that you are a creature of greater depths… if you cannot go outward, go inward. This is a time for spirituality – tapping into your inner-self, your intuition, your conscious being. Get to know a greater source within. Find your inner guiding light. This is also a singular chance to realise just how much time and energy you used to spend as a human doing – and instead, recognise the purity of the human being. Use this time to understand more about how you tick, to take up mindfulness, to ponder what you want more of in life, your values and desires – so that when the time comes, you go for exactly that.
Restriction actually boosts creative success
It may seem paradoxical, but when we have all the options in front of us, we don’t tend to choose. In part because we assume they will always be there but also because people become bamboozled by too many options of what to pick up, what to do with it and crucially… where to start. In the end, they simply choose the status quo – which of course, is nothing new. Think of when you are shopping in the supermarket and you go to choose a shampoo or brand of cereal. Unless you have a specific go to choice that means you don’t even consider the others on the shelves, you often find yourself just staring at the wall of colourful bottles and boxes. There is a sense of overwhelm that comes with be presented with more than a ‘this or that’ decision. Albert Einstein called this ‘option paralysis’.
Refresh the cast!
In theatre, we often talk about ‘refreshing the cast’. This means that the appeal of the old has worn out and that new ideas, content and acts will be invited to play. Take a leaf out of the big book of theatrical success and recognise it’s time to refresh the cast of your home and life in general. De-clutter your life. Get rid of all the crap that annoys, frustrates or depresses you. The stuff that hangs around your spaces that you feel disinclined to tidy, organise or engage with at all. Get rid of it because it is a reflection of your emotional and psychological state. It is the echo of that inner critic telling you how well or poorly you are managing your life. If it is commenting to you along the lines of ‘you haven’t tidied me / played me / worn me…’, seriously considering consigning it to last year’s repertoire. Instead, notice the things that inspire you and curate them. Having lots of things is fine, if you love them – you become a curator, a collector rather than a hoarder but there is a fine line. You can hear that very well spoken fine line if you listen carefully; is in the mental script that is reciting as you go about your day and try to sleep at night. So notice how your ‘stuff’ and also the brands, media and people you engage with on social media area affecting your enjoyment of the big production that is your life.
Choice is a choice
“Recognising that you always have choice seems obvious, but it isn’t always so. This is because we regard choices as mental acts but they are actually highly emotional. For example, if your job is at stake then it also entails a large portion of your identity, your future projections, your self-esteem and your self-image. As such, making a decision about whether to continue or to try something else is entangled with the impact on these other areas too. So, when we are faced with a situation that spikes anxiety in us it is a very big clue that we have a choice to make that entails these other things. The solution here is to recognise our emotional responses to mental ideas about our choices. It is important to recognise that any situation and the choices themselves are actually emotionally neutral so they can’t give us any clues as to what to pick. Instead we have to turn inward again and uncover what the values are that are being challenged or upheld and what the intuitive predictions are, often which we are leaning toward (or also the ones we are trying to ignore). This is a time for deep personal reflection and radical honesty with the self. Choose to make choices, to decide on your way forward…or don’t. It’s your choice.
Grow your avant-garden
“If you can grow a literal garden or plants in your home then that is a tried and tested activity to boost wellbeing all round. Absolutely do this if you can. However, I’m taking about something more. Growing your relationships with others can yield a blooming effect of opportunity. This is because everyone is in the same situation and looking for support, warmth, nutrition and light. Reach out to those you know nourish you (not the ones you know deplete you! Remember you are refreshing the cast…) because when you talk and share and listen and care, a beautiful thing happens – everybody grows together. New ideas, new pathways, old ideas with new angles, old pathways with new feet upon them… When minds and hearts come together, there is new space created for everyone. Be prepared to rest, walk and play in the avant-garden where new fruit grows in abundance.
Ironic Fundamentalism is available to purchase from Amazon, or www.kirstylucindaallan.com