This article will help you to maximize your recovery and performance in every aspects of your life, especially, in handling stress, the loss of relationships, jobs, and all destructive coping choices.

When we are young we seem to have boundless energy to enjoy life. As we grow older and begin to gain some sense of pain and fear from what appears to be a rather cruel and insecure world, we begin to protect ourselves with various supports or defense strategies. Whatever support or defense strategies we use, much like Darth Vader, we grow tired and cut off from the world we battle through. Nor can we perform to our highest potential while we carry all the weight of these defenses that block our power and separates us, as well, from the ability to love and relate to others.

Self Defense Performance Blocks: The defensive armor of our mind, body and emotions block our power and performance very much like clouds block out sunlight. Mind defenses include thinking, worrying, criticizing, planning, analyzing, blaming, controlling. Body defenses and blocks include muscle tension, excess weight to insolate us from pain, drugs, poor sleep, and illness. Emotion defenses and blocks include anger, depression, disappointment, upset, sadness, anxiety, grief and loss. My experience has been that many of us waste or block vast amounts of our focus, energy and power holding on to people, places and things for security and support, holding back emotions, anger and fears to avoid pain and rejection, or defending ourselves from hurt with worry, muscle tension, blame and anger. The end result of all this blocked or wasted energy is usually some form of accident, illness, depression, relationship or job failure. Tired, cut off from any emotions and lacking energy, we are not able to enjoy or perform in our life and relationships to our fullest potential.

Achieving Peak Recovery - Realizing Your Full Potential:

1. Drop Your Mind, Body, Emotion Defenses. Mind Defense: Learn to STILL your thoughts through present awareness. See, hear, touch, taste and smell in the Here & Now. Any non-thinking, focused activity like skiing, golf, tennis & meditation helps to quiet our thoughts. Body Defense: Relax muscle tension by exercise and relaxation techniques. Increase abdominal breathing through aerobic exercise or breath training. Yoga or Ti Chi classes are helpful here. Change diet to Reduce weight, fats, sugar, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, stimulants, depressants, salt, dairy and other heavy proteins that drain energy through long digestion time. Drink lots of pure water, low in minerals, to cleanse the body of toxins. Emotion Defense: Breathe, let go, feel and express painful emotions. Instead of blocking or avoiding these painful feelings, breathe deeply, let go, feel and sink through emotions like sadness, emptiness, and loss into the peace that lies beneath. Experiencing and expressing emotions is often very threatening because we are left feeling vulnerable, helpless and not in control. The only way to heal a painful emotions, however, is to feel and move through it or our energy remains blocked and we are left tired and depressed. Alcohol and sugar are both depressants that sedate our ability to feel and heal emotional pain. Overwork distracts us and overeating insolates us from feeling and healing these same emotional wounds. Unless we deal constructively with them, we will get depressed, tired and eventually become chronically ill.

2. Ground Yourself In The Present. Like a tree, our strength and ability to weather the storms of life depend very much on our roots, our ability to make deep and solid here and now contact in this world through our five senses. Much of our insecurity results from our inability to drag ourselves out of thought, worry and fear or the memory of past pain, which do not exists in the reality of the present. If you consider that we are much like a battery filled with electromagnetic energy, then you can understand the need for a good ground connection to complete the circuit and produce usable power. To create a more grounded and focused consciousness stand with your knees slightly bent, breathe deeply and let yourself sink heavily into the floor, relaxing downward with every out breath. Then focus on the Present Task. Remember that all electrical energy needs a good ground and a good conductor relatively free from resistance to transmit power effectively. Similarly we must establish a good Here and Now Ground and be relatively free from defensive resistance to release our energy and transform it effectively into performance power. Power is activated ONLY BY PRESENT FOCUS.

3. Harness The Creative Power Of Your Mind. Elite athletes have learned and demonstrate consistently that winning thoughts, beliefs and visions create a winning performance. We “achieve what we believe” and “materialize what we visualize.” Most of us, however, prefer to play the role of a victim in life, refusing to take responsibility and face the fact that our present reality has been created by our most powerful pattern of thought. If our most powerful thoughts, beliefs and visions are based in fear, failure and negativity, then the reality we create and draw to ourselves will be one of fear, failure and pain. On the other hand, if our most powerful pattern of thought, belief and vision is one of winning and success, we create that experience for ourselves. Some of us are gifted with positive, winning, thoughts, beliefs and visions. Many of us, however, will need to learn these skills to achieve peak recovery. When we learn to change our thoughts, our experience in life will change. Because we fear taking on this responsibility, many of us prefer to remain a victim in the world attempting, unsuccessfully to escape unhappy, losing, life experiences by trying to blame or change others. Shakespeare said it best through Julius Caesar. “The fault dear Brutus lies not in our stars but in ourselves that we are the underlings.”Watch and begin then, to shift your thoughts, beliefs, feelings, visions and words from losers to winners. You may need to fake it for awhile in the beginning until you actually begin to feel like a winner, confident and successful.

4. Create Winning Thoughts, Visions, Feelings and Words. Think success, feel success, see success, and speak success to achieve success. In whatever activity you choose to achieve success, begin by thinking about what success would be like. Then see or visualize yourself achieving that success. In your vision, place yourself under a white spot light as you see yourself achieving your goal. Feel in your heart a deep feeling of excitement and gratitude for your achievement. Then speak these words clearly, loudly and with deep passion, “I AM CLEAN AND ADDICTION FREE!” “I AM A WINNER!” The words “I AM” are the most powerful words in the English language we can use to create our reality. Use them whenever you wish to create change in the reality of your life. Note that they must be used with the power of the present tense to achieve their goal. The very best time to practice this kind of winning strategy is just before you go to sleep at night. Begin by taking deep breaths, letting yourself sink heavier into the mattress with every out breath. (grounding) Then visualize, feel and speak your success as outlined above.

David Ott, M.Ed.

Author's Bio: 

Facilitator: David Ott, M.Ed.
-Trained at the Gestalt Institute of Toronto
-Student and Teacher of “A Course In Miracles”
-Former guest workshop facilitator at
“The Orchard Recovery Centre” on Bowen Island.
-Former Employee Counselling Director, Panorama Resort
Invermere, B.C.
-Former Life Skills Coordinator for the Canadian Military
Addiction Prevention Program in Baden Germany.