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Otherwise, you aren't getting you, they aren't getting you, and that's not okay. Generalising a little, you either access past events and recall or exaggerate an experience that results in depression or you create huge multisensory events about the future which results in anxiety (from how the body reacts physically and chemically). Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and phobias are a little different. There is a very real link between how you are breathing and the mood you are in. There is a deep connection between the breath and the chemicals released in the body. When you start the exercises listed in the book, you will notice a number of them are related to various acts of breath control. Like the scientific studies carried out on smiling, the answer of "Does happiness make you smile or does smiling make you happy?" turns out to be correct either way. Likewise, your breathing rate can be triggered by an emotion such as anger or you can create the emotion by controlling your breathing. That helps you understand that you do not need to be a slave to the emotion, you can replace it with a preferred one by changing your breathing. You can change your state of mind by your own free will. The feelings you experience in your body are energy in motion and can be changed. Emotion can be considered as E-motion (Energy in motion). Good things that occur in our lives are true blessings. It's healthy to be grateful. It's what I call "swimming around in the glass half full." It's positive. Optimistic. Yet the habit of gratitude, overutilized, may deny you the chance to recognize the underbelly of a blessing. What do I mean by "underbelly"? I mean something that may not be apparent on the outside but is present just the same. Think of a rock that you see on a path.

You never see the bottom side of the rock, yet it exists. It's just as real as the part you do see. Here's another example. Let's say you're quite wealthy. You may have a lot of insecurity about others being mainly attracted to your bank account. The insecurity is the underbelly of the wealth. All blessings have an underbelly. Yet you can feel disdain for yourself for admitting it. Add in the tendency to call your problems inconsequential or silly, and you can get stuck in rigid positivity. Next, add moments of not always feeling positive--such as having fantasies about getting in your car and driving away from this pressure cooker that is your perfect life--and you can easily build a concoction of heavy guilt and shame. How could you ever consider leaving? Just how ungrateful are you? In order for you ever to effectively figure out and map out how to get to where you want to go, you have to first know exactly where you are starting. Where you are now, everything you are, everything you do, begins with and is based on what I call your personal truth. By personal truth, I mean whatever it is that you, at the absolute, uncensored core of your being, have come to believe about you. This personal truth is critical, because if you believe it, if it is real to you, then it is for you the precise reality that you will live every day. We all have and live our own personal truth, whether we want to or not. If you are honest in truly acknowledging what you really think and feel about your self in your most candid moments, you know that what I'm saying is true. You know it because you have seen your personal truth come to light when you wished it would not. You may tell me and the rest of the world Story A and hope we buy it, but you're telling yourself what you believe to be the "real deal," at least as you see it, and we both know that version isn't even almost Story A!

What you're telling yourself is the story you live; that's the one that jumps up and trips you when the pressure is on. You're always wondering if today is the day that the masquerade will come crashing down, and you will be "found out." No matter how hard you try, you can never escape your personal truth; it always gets you in the end, which is why it is so critical that you clean it up and get rid of all the doubt and distortion. You don't have to look far to find negative examples of personal truths that jump up and bite those who try to hide them: the schoolyard bully who folds like a cheap tent in the wind when someone finally calls his bluff because his personal truth is that of a coward; the bragging, yet insecure athlete who chokes at that critical moment in the competition; the "confident" beauty queen who is in truth lonely and scared and eventually takes her own life. Struggles with shame or fears surrounding control can affect people in many ways, especially if there's trauma in their past. For some, it can grow into actual psychological dysfunction. Eating disorders, along with panic, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders--even addictions--can all be linked to this struggle. For this reason, we find these issues co-occurring with perfectly hidden depression fairly often. We'll talk much more about these co-occurring disorders in Chapter 4. What's important to realize on this beginning leg of your journey is whether these disorders are present in your life. You're good at minimizing your struggles, so you want to avoid making the mistake of labeling yourself with "perfectly hidden depression" when there may be a psychiatric problem present that shares features with PHD. Your journey ahead could be made more complicated if serious untreated issues exist. You may need to take additional time to address them while traveling forward. Overall, however, the healing work in this book can be helpful to all, as it addresses basic acknowledgment and acceptance--two very healthy gifts for anyone to give themselves. Making excuses can be habit forming. When one excuse is plainly no longer legitimate, you come up with another one and then another one. It feeds on itself. On the other hand, overcoming excuse making is freeing. You can stop hemming and hawing and wasting energy trying to come up with reasons why you can't exercise. Instead you see things very clearly. You are an exerciser, it's part of your life, you (to borrow a phrase) just do it.

It's like dinner, a part of your day, a ritual. When you reach this point, you don't even have to worry about staying motivated. You've become a different person. An active person. Take a second to think about your body: What springs to mind? Are your thoughts mostly positive, primarily negative, or somewhere in between? About half of us-- 56 percent of women and 43 percent of men--are dissatisfied with our overall appearance. I think it's safe to say that if you're reading this book, there's a good chance you're in that camp as well. Don't worry, we're going to help get you out of it. Maybe you have a generally healthy body image but struggle a little. (Say you're fixated on one area, like your legs or your stomach.) Most people can pinpoint things they like about themselves--including their hair, face, and height--if they're asked to, but a large percentage still admit to feeling unhappy about their body--in particular, their abdomen and weight. In fact, according to research, an astounding 89 percent of people say they want to lose weight. Even in these cases, it's worth working to accept and even embrace your body. That's because your body image, or the mental representation you have of your body and the thoughts and feelings that go along with it, affects your self-esteem, which in turn influences every area of your life. Studies have linked low body image to anxiety, depression, sexual dysfunction, and eating disorders. If your body image is lacking, you're more likely to feel unworthy of good things in your life. This pessimism may then affect relationships with friends, family, and coworkers, and it factors into everyday decisions, such as what you eat, how you dress, and where you go. In the end, your lack of confidence and the dissatisfaction you feel with yourself will prevent you from ever trying to repair your fundamental body image issues. n its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn't stop you leading your normal life but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile.

At its most severe, depression can be life-threatening because it can make you feel suicidal or simply give up the will to live." Those contemplating suicide - stop. It is a huge tragedy of modern life. The most common cause of death for men under 50 years old in the United Kingdom is suicide! 3 Death by choice, not fate or accident. It is an uncomfortable truth that we, as a society, do not discuss or sensibly address. Our society continues to concentrate on cancer and heart attack, and rightly so, as these are avoidable deaths. However, as a society, we are not doing enough to address the biggest risk of all - suicide. I want to provide tested techniques to help begin to manifest change in you and the lives of many people; to provide more options before suicide ends up being the only one. Techniques that have absolutely worked with my clients. Tried and tested. I know that is at the extreme level of things. Maybe you are looking to make some small changes to your life. However, the sad reality of things is, one in four of us will have a mental illness of some sort in our lifetime. You will certainly know someone who suffers. Yours may be a positive, accurate truth or it may be a "train wreck" of misbeliefs grounded in a history of fear, pain, and confusion. Most likely it is a combination of all those things. My job, our job, is to get real about those parts of what you believe about yourself that aren't working for you. You cannot hide from nor exceed the boundaries imposed by what you believe you "know" about yourself on the inside. You cannot play the game of life with confidence and assurance if your personal truth is riddled with fear and apprehension. Your "personal best" will never be better than the one your personal truth dictates for you.