Addiction reaches every aspect of a person’s life – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It affects family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. No one is left untouched by this disease. Vertava Health’ focus in the month of March, turns to a five-part series with an esteemed author and colleague, Dr. Jason Brooks, who will share insight on detoxing the mind, the body, the spirit, the family and life. Whether you or a loved one are overcoming addiction or other past traumas, Dr. Jason Brooks will show you how to “Begin, Again.”
Recognized as one of the most prominent emerging voices in personal and organizational transformation, Dr. Jason Brooks is also likely to be one of the most authentic, transparent and “real”. Viewed by many as the “youth pastor of personal growth and success”, his life mission of “bringing hope, healing, and inspiration to everyone he meets and leading on the journey for change, growth, and success” provides the foundation and focus where his purpose and passion are fully unleashed.
As a bestselling author, inspirational speaker, and Chief People Officer of Vertava Health, Dr. Jason brings a heart for helping others to achieve their greatest potential and success…one step at a time.
Check out Dr. Jason’s video about Detox It.
Detoxing the Mind
There are few things I like more than the first meeting with a new life-coaching client. The anticipation of getting to know this person that’s been brought into my life, hearing their story, and exploring how I can join with them on their journey to create an incredible life for themselves is such a great time for me. Each person is unique…each situation different…but ultimately many of the goals are the same. Building a life of balance…identifying and pursuing their life purpose…living with passion…creating a life of significance…resetting their lives. That’s exactly what Greg was looking for when I met him in the summer of 2013.
It was our first meeting at Starbucks (nothing is better on a hot summer afternoon in Tennessee than an iced coffee with 2% milk…no sweetener) and I was fired-up to hear what brought this gentleman to me and what I could do to help. After taking a few minutes to get acquainted, I asked the question that started us on our focused journey together.
“So, what can I do to help, Greg?”
“Well,” Greg said, “for the last several months I’ve been struggling keeping my thoughts focused. I’ve got so much on my mind. I’m distracted most of the time – and I know my wife is really not happy that even when I’m ‘with her’, I’m really very far away. It’s really starting to be a problem in a lot of areas of my life. When I’m at work…my mind is wandering. When I’m in church…I can’t focus. When I’m with my kids…I’m not really there.”
“What types of things do you find yourself thinking about that’s distracting you?” I asked.
“A lot of stuff. It kind of comes in waves. Sometimes I’m thinking back on the times in the past when I’ve made mistakes and I’m beating myself up over those. Then I’ll flash forward to something that’s coming up soon and how I’m worried about that. Sometimes I’ll be thinking about my kids and how will I ever be able to pay for college.”
“How old are your kids again?” I asked.
“4 and 2,” Greg said. “Then I’ll be worried about the time, or actually lack of time, that I’m spending with my wife and how I need to do better there. But, I also need to be spending more time at work or I’ll never get that next promotion. But, my kids also need me and I know I’m not there for them either. Then the whole money thing pops in and I worry about how we’re going to pay our bills, let alone being able to set money aside and save for retirement. It goes on and on and on…”
“Wow,” I said with a smile. “Sounds like there’s a lot going on up there.”
“You can say that again!” Greg laughed.
I continued. “You know, as I hear you sharing about all these racing thoughts that are consuming you today, it seems that they’re focused on regrets of the past and worries for the future. Is that right?”
Greg was quiet for a minute, and then said, “I never really thought about it that way but you’re right. A lot of my thoughts are on where I screwed up in the past and fear about screwing up down the road.”
I continued, “One of the problems is that when you’re so focused on the pains of the past and the problems of the future, you miss the opportunity to live fully in the present. It robs you, and those you love, of the best you have to give. Now, making a shift won’t happen overnight, but let’s start by putting some things in place that will help you to detox your mind of the regrets and worries. How’s that?”
“That would be awesome!” Greg said. “Where do I start, coach?”
I just laughed. “Ok, let’s break this down into steps that I want you to start today. Some are daily disciplines and some are one time things you’ll do to clear the clutter of your mind.”
“First, take time to make a list of the regrets from the past…the things you wish you had done differently, or hadn’t done at all. As you’re going through this, exercise, if there are painful experiences that come to mind, give me a call and we can talk through those. Once you’re done, I want you to do something to represent you putting these thoughts to rest, once and for all. You’re dragging around a sledge hammer with you where you’re beating yourself up over the things that happened years ago. They’re gone…there’s nothing you can do…let’s commit to say goodbye to them once and for all.”
Greg said, “Gotcha, I can do that. What’s next?”
“Second, let’s put those worries into perspective. In reality, worry doesn’t take problems from the future it only robs joy from the present. You’re seeing that already with the relationship with those who mean the most to you. Matthew 6:34 says, ‘Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.’ Those are good words to live by. You’ve been given the ability to think, to reason, and to make sound decisions. But, when you worry about things in the future, your ability to reason and use your mind is impaired. The best way to avoid this is be aware of when your mind fast-forwards to the future. So, this week, I want you to keep a list of the times your mind moves forward and you start worrying about something. Being aware of those times and thoughts will help you with next piece of your homework.”
“Third, I want you to start being more intentional in disciplining your thoughts in the present. This is a process calledmindfulness. I know it might sound a little ‘new agey’, but really mindfulness is nothing more than being fully present and aware in the moment. Keeping your thoughts on the here and now. In our world where we’re on information and connection overload…Internet, wireless, mobile phones, social media, on-demand…we are becoming increasingly distracted and mentally pulled in so many directions. Developing the disciplines of being focused in the moment is critical. So, here’s your new homework. Each morning during your quiet time, I want you to close your eyes and clear your mind. Start by doing this for about a minute, then build over time. If you want, there are apps out there you can download to help you with this mindful meditation. Don’t beat yourself up if your thoughts wander…you’re learning something new and it will take time. But, if you stay committed, it will get easier and you’ll find that you’re better able to keep your thoughts in the here and now instead of in the past and future.”
Greg looked scared. “I don’t know about this. Sounds like it will be hard to do. But, I know that if it will help me to be more focused and less distracted, it’ll be worth it. I’ll definitely start working toward this.”
“It’s all about detoxing your mind and then creating the disciplines to keep your thoughts on the present and choosing to keep the negative out”, I said. “It will take time, but I promise if you stay committed it will be worth it. You with me?”
“I’m all in,” Greg said. “Let’s do this.”
For more from Dr. Jason, check out this video: Detoxing Your Life.
Dr. Jason is an expert in leading life change. As a gifted speaker and life success coach, he is available to speak at your next conference event and would love to connect with you on social media on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Dr. Jason can be contacted through the public relations team at Vertava Health.