<iframe style="border: none" src="//html5-player.libsyn.com/embed/episode/id/5201043/height/90/width/640/theme/custom/autonext/no/thumbnail/yes/autoplay/no/preload/no/no_addthis/no/direction/backward/render-playlist/no/custom-color/87A93A/" height="90" width="640" scrolling="no" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen></iframe>

Hello there, Kevin here, with another episode of The Feel Good English podcast. The only podcast in the world that’s helping you become more fluent in English and more fluent in life. Sharing English lessons, or life lessons, depending on how you look at it, based on the best nonfiction books, TED talks and other life changing content.

Today’s book I am going to talk about is kind of a special one for me. Why? Because it’s one of the first books that I can remember that really got me thinking a lot more about how to deal with the everyday stresses and struggles of life.

I first read this book in college, I was probably around twenty years old, and it was very impactful.  And when I first read it, it brought completely new ideas to me, I tried them out, I experimented with these ideas a little bit.

So what is the book I am talking about? Well, the book is called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  And in general, this book is all about accepting the present moment.

How often during your day are you regretting things that have happened in the past? Thinking about the decisions you shouldn’t have made, or things you shouldn’t have said. And also how much of your day do you spend thinking about the future, worrying about the future? What’s going to happen, what’s going to happen in your life that you might not want to happen?

And lastly, do you find yourself always thinking, “In the future when this happens, or once I am able to do this, everything will be better. If I get this job, if I pass this test, if I become fluent in English, if all of these things happen, then my life will be great”.

Well, this all causes stress, and in The Power of Now, there are some very very useful tools for dealing with these thoughts that can cause you to be anxious.

But this book also can be a little dangerous if taken the wrong way. If you are not ready for this information, like, to be honest, being twenty years old when I read it, it was probably a little bit too early for me. But if you take this information the wrong way, you can cause harm to your life I think.  So I’m going to talk about this in this lesson as well.

By the way, if you want a transcript to this episode, go to a feelgoodenglish.com where you will find the transcripts to all episodes so you can read along with my wonderful, relaxing, sexy voice.

Now let’s get into the episode on the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

The first idea from this book is about something called the pain body. And according to the author, pain is nothing more than a self-created inner resistance to external things that we can’t change. We experience pain when we are unsatisfied with how things are, yet we can’t change them, or we don’t have the power to change them.

Think about it, if you are dissatisfied with your job, you think about the fact that you don’t have the job that you would like, you feel pain, emotional pain. You aren’t happy with your English right now and it causes pain; because as I have talked about many times, you are not where you want to be.

So this is emotional pain, but even if you think about it, physical pain is the same thing; when you get hurt, when you feel pain, it is because we aren’t feeling the way that we want to, we don’t want to feel this pain. It’s a natural reaction, pain is a signal that something is wrong, but it’s pain because we are not feeling the way that we want to feel.

In the book, he calls this “the Pain Body” and this pain body is made up of all of these painful experiences we have gone through in our life.

So we have gone through a lot of negative experiences, painful experiences, dealt with things that we didn’t want to be dealing with; so after going through all of these different situations, our brains remember these situations and connect it with pain, emotional and sometimes even physical pain. This is why stress and anxiety can actually cause physical pain in your body; you connect these experiences with pain.

So what’s the remedy? What do you do?

Well, what you can do, and this all comes down to a resistance, like I said, a resistance to what you’re feeling or thinking at the moment.

It is painful when we think about things that we don’t have, or when we want things that we don’t have right now; very important foundation for the philosophy behind The Power of Now. We spend so much time in resistance mode, resisting the current state of things that you are going through right now.

And in the book he talks about how to deal with this and how to be less connected with pain, be it physical or emotional.

So, this next idea is very, very powerful and this truly has changed my life over the last many years. As I said, I was twenty when I first read this and now I am one hundred and twelve, so that would be over the last ninety-two years, and this is about separating yourself, separating from your mind and focusing on your body instead. Our mind is where we are often trapped.

We are trapped in our mind trying to think things over, what am I going to do? What should I have done? What should I have done? Interesting verb tense there. What am I going to do? So we’re thinking over all of the things that we can’t really change. This causes stress, this causes pain.

We constantly bring up memories of the past and try to plan for the future and we can be full of regret at times, and it all prevents you from living in the moment. And all of this worry happens obviously because you can’t change the past and you can’t control everything about the future, so we need to find a way to diminish the mind’s power over our emotional state.

How do we do with this? By shifting our focus from the mind to the body. In the book, he talks about how the body knows what’s best for us, if we listen to the body we can get answers on how to deal with the situation. Instead of trying to use your mind for everything and thinking everything over, thinking things over to death, you could say, we need to pay more attention to the body.

So, how do we do with this? This sounds kind of strange, how do we connect with the body? Well, you can do this through practices like meditation, like yoga, like simply taking a walk, like sitting down and being quiet for five minutes. This gets you out of your head and into your body.

And our body is so helpful, it is such a good friend; if we use it, it can really make us feel better. If you are stressed out and struggling with everything that is going on and then you go and you exercise or take a walk, or meditate, or do some yoga, get out of your head a little bit and start moving your body, you naturally will feel better, and this is disconnecting from our thoughts, disconnecting from our mind and going into the body.

So, the basic idea is don’t assume that thinking things over will always result in you feeling better; get out of your head and go into the body.

The last idea here is directly related to the previous one in the fact that it will help you get out of your head and go into the body and this is very very effective and you can try it out now, or you can try it out as soon as this episode is over.

This is a great way to calm down very quickly and all it involves and all entails is to always be alert to what is going on around to you and always pay a lot of attention to what you are doing with your body. So like the last lesson talking about disconnecting from the mind and going into the body, we want to focus attention on our body movement. So literally if you take your hand and you’re picking something up off the table, put a lot of awareness into that movement. If you are looking at your phone, be very aware of what you are doing and pay attention to your hands and what you’re looking at, that’s hard.

Technology, phones, phone apps are great at grabbing our attention and making us very unaware; so becoming very aware of what we are doing in everyday situations. A great example is when you are taking a shower, hopefully you take showers. Do you take showers? I take a shower every couple weeks, I hope you do too. Just kidding.

Pay attention to all of the things that you are doing, you’re a washing your hair, but you’re putting all of your focus and your attention into washing your hair. You’re feeling the water fall on your head and the temperature of the water, so you’re putting a lot of attention into everyday things; this is a form of mindfulness, and it’s not just some crazy idea, it actually can take you out of your repetitive thoughts and bring you into the moment which will instantly calm you down.

And I think most of us would like some strategies that could help us calm down more often, right? We don’t like to be stressed or anxious. So put focus into everything that you’re doing, feel how the body is moving, practice the skill of being aware. 

So those are some ideas from the book and I think after all of this time, remember I read it this book ninety-two years ago because I’m a hundred and twelve, but a lot of people will talk bad about this book for actually a very good reason.

And the book talks about accepting the present moment no matter what. So if things aren’t going well, if you’re not satisfied, if you’re not feeling that you are where you need to be, you should just accept it and that’s it. It all comes down to accepting the present moment.

“It all comes down to”, meaning it is all about accepting the present moment.

However, a lot of skeptics or even just rational thinking people, a skeptic is somebody who doesn’t trust much or who doesn’t trust something you’re talking about, will say well how are you ever going to improve your situation how are you ever going to change if you’re just accepting everything that’s happening to you? And I totally agree, you can’t just sit around and say, “It’s okay, it’s all fine, I am happy now. I am living the power of now and everything is okay.”

You won’t get anywhere, and I am visualizing just somebody sitting on the couch doing nothing, sitting on the sofa doing nothing. And sitting on a sofa doing nothing is obviously not what I would encourage you to do and I don’t think that will make you feel very good about yourself.

And don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean not ever doing this, I mean just not making this a part of your everyday lifestyle. We all love to sit on the sofa and do nothing sometimes right? And we need to sit on the sofa and do nothing, sometimes.

But following the big ideas I shared from this lesson, the steps to take, practical things that you can do, help you do basically one thing, get out of your head, stop thinking about what you can’t control, which is the future and you can’t change things that you have already done in the past, what’s already happened.

But instead, using your effort, using your power to stay focused in the current moment, which allows you to make better decisions, to follow the right path, to choose the one thing that you should probably do now that will bring the best results for the future, it gives you a much clearer, less obstructed view of your life and it is something that I think most people can work on their entire life, it is not an instant thing that you can do.

However, for example if you start at least thinking that I need to get out of my head and I need to go into my body, pay more attention to what I am doing and if you literally start, maybe sometimes during you day you start focusing on your movements and what you’re doing and being very mindful of what you’re doing, if you’re eating, literally paying attention to every bite, focusing on the food and the flavors and the smells and  the textures, and just simplifying things, so you go into the moment, I think this can bring a lot of peace to your life.

So don’t think this book is about doing nothing, it’s quite the opposite. It’s about doing the things that we think are important, like being present in the moment, appreciating what you have, being grateful, accepting what you’ve done and accepting the fact that you can’t control the future, in order to enjoy life more.

We are very connected to pain, which is created from our past experiences. We often think that we can use our smarts, use our brains to get out of every situation, but it’s not always the case. Often we will find ourselves being very anxious and stressed if we are always stuck in our head.

So bringing a lot of awareness to the present moment, being mindful, being grateful and appreciative of everything that’s going on, yet, and this is where we have to be careful, knowing that we also need to take action if we want to add value to our future and change things that we’re not happy with, we do have to take action, but being very aware of the present moment so we know where we should focus our energies on.

That’s the point of this book, and I hope you got that message from this lesson. If this is interesting, if you’re confused, if you want to go deeper, go search out the book The Power of Now, The Power of Now is a very powerful book. 🙂

Again, if you want a transcript to this episode, go to feelgoodenglish.com, you will find them there.

And until the next episode, have an awesome day, an awesome week and an awesome everything.

Bye bye.

How to improve your listening

 

  1. Start by listening to the podcast episode.
  2. Don’t read the text. Listen only the first few times.
  3. Listen again while reading the transcript.
  4. Use the vocabulary button to the right to learn new words.
TO REGRET

feel sad or disappointed about something that did or didn’t happen in the past: I regret waking up in the street this morning after a long night of tequila drinking. 

TO READ ALONG

to read together with someone or a presentation: Please read along with me while I talk

REMEDY

a cure for something: I’m been looking for a remedy to help cure my broken heart 

TO COME DOWN TO

1) to be reduced to something; to amount to no more than something. It comes down to whether you want to go to the movies or stay at home and watch television.

2) to be recognized as the most important thing It comes down to simply teaching the basics to these kids.

TO GO THROUGH
1. to search through something. She went through his pants pockets, looking for his wallet.
2. to use up all of something rapidly. We have gone through all the aspirin again!
3. [for something] to pass through an opening. The piano wouldn’t go through the door. 
4. to pass through various stages or processes. The pickles went through a number of processes before they were packed.
5. to work through something, such as an explanation or story. I went through my story again, carefully and in great detail.
6. to experience or endure something. You can’t believe what I’ve gone through.
7. to rehearse something; to practice something for performance. They went through the second act a number of times.
TO BE TRAPPED

not able to escape or change a current situation. That crazy girlfriend is pregnant! I’m now trapped with her forever! 

TO THINK OVER

to think about something and whether one will choose to do it. I need a few minutes to think it over. Let me think over your request for a day or so.

*SHOULD HAVE DONE*
TO BE IN YOUR HEAD

to be thinking too much, not able to stop thinking about something Man, you need to get out of your head! You’ve been worrying about your crazy pregnant girlfriend all month! 

TO ENTAIL

To have, impose, or require as a necessary accompaniment or consequence: The investment entailed a high risk.

TO CALM DOWN

to relax; often used when someone is freaking out Calm the F*(% down, dude!

STUCK IN YOUR HEAD

similar to “in your head”, not able to stop thinking about things. That Back Street Boys song has been stuck in my head all day! 

<iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/314185276%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-sxIq8&color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false"></iframe>

Kevin: And tell me, show me something you’ve gone through recently that was kind of difficult.

Ana: The last couple of weeks… hmmm…

Oh! Well, I’m actually planning a trip to Europe. So that’s been very stressful for me. Oh, my goodness. It’s something that you have to go through once in your life at least, to be able to plan for a trip. Just all these things that you have to check, all the flights, all the train tickets, the—what else? You have to be sure that you’re prepared for everything, everything that you’re going to face.

In my case, I am a very anxious person. Personally, I’ve had problems with anxiety attacks in the past. So I have to make sure that everything is prepared for before I do something big like this. If I don’t feel like I’m acting on all these decisions that I’m going to have to make, then I feel stuck.

Kevin: So, what has Anna gone through recently that she’s had some trouble with or she’s had some difficulty facing?

Now, it’s your turn. What’s something that you have gone through recently that hasn’t been easy, that has caused some stress

Kevin: It sounds like, in this situation, you’re planning for a trip, and there are a lot of things that you have to think over. You don’t just rush into something. You want things to go right especially when you’re traveling abroad.

Ana, what are some of the strategies you might use when you have big decisions to make and you have to think over a big decision?

Ana: Well, I mean, honestly, like I said, I’m a perfectionist, so I naturally think everything over. So, in this case, it’s an even tougher thing to go through. I actually got an Excel file, and I laid everything out. I laid out the whole itinerary in a big spreadsheet with location, what city I’m going to be in, how much everything is going to cost.

Well, kind of like a personal budget, I break down everything, all the expenses that I’m going to have to make. I break it down when it comes to transportation, when it comes to—what else—food, commuting from city to city, not only within the city.

Kevin: “Thinking things over” means “to consider the options of something,” to think deeply about something. Ana says that she naturally does this. Why does Ana naturally think things over?

Kevin: What are some of the strategies you might use when you have to think a big decision over?

Kevin: So, let me ask you this. What could you do to not overthink things, to not think things over too much, so you don’t drive yourself crazy thinking things over?

Ana: Well, actually, I think that what has worked most for me in the past is to think to myself. When I try to calm down whenever I’ve had these moments of anxiety, in order to calm down, in order to calm myself down, I actually think about what I’m doing.

So, it’s not that I think it over too much. It’s that I just reflect. I self-reflect. It sounds funny, but I honestly tell myself, “Ana, you need to relax. You need to calm down. So, breathe… relax…” And then, that’s whenever the moment settles down.

Kevin: What does Ana do to calm herself down?

Kevin: What do you do when you’re feeling stressed or anxious or nervous to calm yourself down?

Kevin: Action steps for the week using these phrasal verbs, I want you to think over the importance of dealing with stress and anxiety.

We all experience difficult times. We all go through rough spots, you could say, in our lives. So, it’s important to learn how to deal with difficult times and what we can do to calm down in times of stress and anxiety.

So, think that over a little bit.

Write your answers to the phrasal verb questions here

How to improve your speaking/writing

 

  1. Start by listening to the interview
  2. Don’t read the text. Listen only the first few times.
  3. Listen again while reading the transcript.
  4. Answer the questions in the audio, speaking out loud. Pretend you’re talking to me. 😉
  5. Write your answers to the questions to the right using the contact box below.
QUESTION 1

Talk about something difficult you have gone through lately. How did you deal with it?

QUESTION 2

When you have a big decision to think over, what strategies can use to make a good decision?

QUESTION 3

Are you an anxious or easy-going person? What do you do when you need to calm down?