Last time, we introduced the concept of mental earthquakes – a situation in which the pressure inherent in mental conflict builds until a sudden explosion of emotions and behaviors relieves the pressure and resets the mental balance into a new reality. The process may take the form of heated arguments, fights, and even violence – depending upon the amount and abruptness of the energy release, as well as the composition of the environmental “soil” – the context in which the energy is released.
Comparing earth’s quake zones to my mental conflict zones, I see that some physical quake zones have a tendency to release smaller amounts of energy more often, each of which causes little destruction; while in other areas pressure tends to build over time to a point at which a huge amount of energy is released all at once with devastating results.
Preventing Mental Earthquakes
Each time I deny my negative feelings in order to preserve a sense of well-being, for example, I tend to build mental pressure – think two tectonic plates stuck against each other. Pressure continues to build as I continue to deny my feelings until the energy of the pressure overwhelms my mental system – and – without warning, a sudden release of mental energy results in a devastating mental earthquake.
Then, instead of enjoying the sense of well-being I intended to experience by denying my feelings, I find myself busy rescuing mental survivors, cleaning up the environmental mess, and prosecuting those I think were responsible!
OR – I might just deny this mental earthquake, too, don’t bother rescuing survivors, leave the mess as is… And enjoy a much more massive and destructive mental earthquake later on down the road – one so massive, so sudden, and so intense that it might cause my mind to stop dead.
I could double-down on my efforts to defend against effects of such natural catastrophes by hardening my heart, building ever higher walls of denial, and fortifying my mental buildings (justifications). I wonder, though, if such preparation may not be the way to go… entirely…
What if, instead, I keep the mental pressure low:
- I frequently discuss my feelings with a trusted other – which in my case is my spouse. Others prefer to confide in a friend, a pet, or a tree. The objective is honesty and frequency! The more of each the better.
- I practice noticing – instead of denying my feelings, I’m now on the lookout for them! Better to relieve the pressure as early as I can. To do that, I have to tune myself to notice – proactive. There is, of course, the risk that I might set up pressures with expectation of them. So, practicing noticing means being sensitive to feedback, yet practical as well.
- I journal and I highly recommend this amazing pressure-releasing practice to anyone. Spend some quality time with yourself as you move the mental buildup out of your head and onto the page. It’s amazingly cathartic – relieving small amounts of energy built up each day – preventing a huge release later on.
We invite you to explore the mental earthquake prevention methods listed below.