*This is an article from the Winter 2023-24 issue of Contentment Magazine.
By Carla Hay-Perdue, DNP, APRN, FNP, ANP-BC, NC-BC
What if we could decrease our chronic stress and tap into a feeling of peace and well-being? The good news is, we can! In 2017, I began studying a different paradigm used in psychology that has made all the difference in quelling chronic stress. This paradigm is known as Health Realization, The Three Principles, or the Principles of Resilience. This paradigm has three components: The Universal Mind, Thought, and Consciousness.
In the 1970s, a man named Sydney Banks experienced insights that changed his life experience. When he realized how much these simple insights changed him, he began to share his knowledge with others. After a few psychologists and psychiatrists learned this, they saw things differently. Psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and coaches now teach the principles worldwide.
I like to use the metaphor of a movie projector to explain this paradigm. I like movies. Adventure movies are my favorite. When Indiana Jones dropped into the pit of snakes, my feet came up on the couch. When The skeleton popped out of the wall, I yelled. My heart and breathing quickened with the desert chase. Because of my thoughts, it was as if I was there, and I triggered a stress response.
How our psychology works – The projector of life
I am the movie projector of my life. You are the movie projector of your life. Each of us has our own movie theater, complete with a power source, projector, and screen. The movie is our life as perceived by us. Just as three components make up our psychology, there are three main components of this projector.
- The Power Source is called the Universal Mind. It is the energy and intelligence of all things. It is our spiritual roots. We have access to this connection from birth to death. It provides the knowledge for Monarch butterflies to fly from Canada to the same area in Mexico year after year. You are trying to solve a problem all day long and getting more frustrated, so you go for a walk, and the answer pops into your brain during the walk. What happened is you quieted your personal thoughts, accessed the Universal Mind, and wisdom, insight, and answers came through. “There is one Universal Mind, common to all; wherever you are, it is always with you.”1 It is constant and unchanging for everyone and plays like a quiet violin when we plug into this power source and listen.
- Thought is the reel of the film of life. It is how we interpret our world in our movie. We live in a thought-based universe. You are only one thought away from happiness, sadness, or anxiety. We create thought 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thoughts come so fast we are not aware of many of them. We all experience good, bad, funny, or even evil thoughts. We do not control the thoughts, but they are our creation. “Thought is the creative agent we use to direct us through life.”2 Every thought we have produces a feeling 100% of the time. Our feelings are a barometer of our thoughts. In other words; “the principle of thought points to the fact that we live in the experience of our thinking and, as it most often seems, not in a direct experience of the outside world.”3
- Consciousness – Consciousness is the lightbulb of the projector. It illuminates the screen in our personal movie theater. It shines a light on the awareness of information that comes to us through our five senses as interpreted by thought. I drive in the country, and the light bulb of consciousness can illuminate deer, a lake, ducks on the lake, or even wild hogs. If I am lost in the thoughts of what I need to do or if I am focusing on the past or future, then these items do not make it in my movie. To me, they are not there.
How does this work?
Right now, I am writing this article. I am enjoying the challenge of this part of my movie. I can change films at any time. I can rewind time to past events like the last campout and visualize kayaking on the calm lake. I feel peaceful. I could also remember the past when my husband was in ICU. Now, I create a feeling of sadness. Oops, I am not here! I am missing what is going on now.
I can even use my thoughts to fast forward to the future. Thoughts of what could happen with war and plagues and thoughts anticipating a freezing winter create an anxious feeling. What if there is insufficient electricity or gas for heat, resources, or food? OOH! My pulse and breathing increase, and my muscles tense. I am having a stress reaction. It is like watching that Indiana Jones movie! I will change the film back to the present. In the present, I can connect with the Universal Mind and deal with each problem as it comes up. I know I have all the resources I need when I need them if I stay in the present. Being in the present moment decreases my feelings of stress.
Learning this paradigm of psychology has increased my awareness that:
- I am always connected to a higher power that has my back if I quiet my mind and listen.
- I have the gift of thought. Through thought, I perceive the world and the people around me.
- Others perceive their world through thought. They think differently, so we live in separate realities. They have a different life movie.
- We have inside-out thinking, which means that feelings are 100% of the time caused by our thoughts in the moment. If we do not latch onto the thought, it will pass and another will take its place.
- The future is an incomplete equation. We do not have the information needed to predict the future. Trying to predict increases anxiety and stress.
- We can handle anything that occurs now, so there is nowhere else to be.
- When outside-in thinking disappears, there is a feeling of peace and well-being. It is our default setting.
- Sometimes we see it, and sometimes we don’t. We all have that feeling that doesn’t look like it comes from thought. It seems to originate from circumstances, relationships, health, etc. It always comes from our thoughts in the moment.
“When people grasp the connection between their thinking and their feelings, perceptions, states of mind and behavior, they gain perspective on life. Shifts in their experience show up as ‘thought events’ rather than effects of external circumstances or how others treat them.”4
Knowing these principles decreases our tendency to latch on to stressful thoughts and increases our feelings of peace and wellbeing.
- Banks, S. The Missing Link. Vancouver (BC) Lone Pine Publishing: p. 30, 1998.
- Banks, S. The Missing Link. Vancouver (BC) Lone Pine Publishing: p. 36, 1998.
- Kessel, A., Neill, M., Marmur, E., Malik, R. A superpower? An educational initiative? Or something else. Journal of Public Mental Health. 16 (4): 169, 2017
- Kelley, T., Pettit, W., Sedgeman, J., Pransky, J. Psychiatry’s pursuit of euthymia: Another wild goose chase or an opportunity for principle-based facilitation? International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, 25 (4): 334, 2021.