Doctor Juriaan about a new burnout wave: spirituality as a bitter pill

Doctor Juriaan about a new burnout wave: spirituality as a bitter pill
General practitioner Juriaan Galavazi specializes in holistic medicine. Regular medicine is and remains the basis of his practice, but it offers the opportunity to look at complaints from a broader perspective. Sometimes you need a different vision with a complaint in which you let go of old thinking patterns. This article shows how a ‘positive mindset’ can also ensure that you only experience stress and unrest.

Sweating awake

She takes one more deep breath and then steps into the office. She has enjoyed working for this company for many years. Every morning she looked radiant towards the day. But now… Sometimes she wakes up sweating and when she opens her eyes she looks at a huge mountain. Her breathing feels like she’s halfway there already, but the reality is she’s yet to take the first step.

At the first questions from colleagues, the imaginary band around her throat is tightened further. She wants to scream really loud. Go away! Leave me alone! But no sound comes out. Something in her says; “Come on, stay calm. You can do this. Watch your breathing… This feeling will disappear. Hang in there, it’ll be fine.” And indeed, the feeling disappears… But will return more and more in the months that follow. Until her breath is finally taken away and the fire in her is extinguished for a longer period of time.

Doctor Juriaan about a new burnout wave: spirituality as a bitter pill

Nothing for a while…

More and more people come to my office with the announcement that it is too much.  That it doesn’t work anymore. Almost all of them long for peace. Nothing for a while. More and more people too, who have already done a lot in the field of let’s call it “awareness”. Who has been doing yoga for a shorter or longer period of time? Various courses and workshops have been followed in the field of self-development. Have done mindfulness training or meditate regularly.

New burnout wave

A new burnout wave seems to be emerging. Originating from the flow of awareness and a “positive mindset”. Driven by the thought that if you manage to steer your mind well enough, you will feel good. Be grateful, name and visualize your desire, meditate, and do that every day… Then you will be successful. In other words; at those moments when you don’t feel well, it’s actually your own fault.

If you are not yet successful, then you owe it to yourself. Then you haven’t done your best yet. So you meditate more and read more books. And yes, that works. Meditation, breathing exercises, and mindfulness are all very useful tools for coping with stress. To get in touch with feelings of fear and uncertainty. Unless this is used (un)consciously by someone to counter these feelings: the battery is charged and you are ready to continue your path.

New anti-depressant pill

And with that, these forms of awareness can become the new anti-depressant pills. Assuming you’re on the right track, I think we’re taking a wrong turn here. And “awareness” is used as a way to cope with the stress. While your body is actually asking you to make different choices here. That something could actually change in your life. So why don’t we make different choices here?

One possible explanation is that we have not learned to deal with the loss of a choice. That we have not learned to carry ourselves in uncomfortable feelings. Feelings such as sadness, fear, anger, doubts, and insecurity. And that our head wants to get out of there as soon as possible. We often choose out of fear of losing. Losing your job, the place you live, the car you drive, the social status you have acquired, your partner, friends… This often results in doing more and more. Instead of asking ourselves what we really want and choosing based on a desire.

When you actually start making choices based on what you really want, it can be an exciting and complicated process. A process that the head prefers to avoid because it is often threatening and painful. So the head keeps us quiet with all kinds of awareness activities so that we can supposedly feel good and avoid the pain. Not realizing that it keeps us in a place that is actually not good for us.

Uncomfortable Feelings

Doctor Juriaan about a new burnout wave: spirituality as a bitter pill

What would it be like if you learned to guide yourself in these uncomfortable feelings? That fear, sadness, and uncertainty are also completely welcome. That you still feel deep confidence. That you learn to support yourself there without necessarily being dependent on the world around you. That other can give you support, but they don’t have to do it. That you have a great desire, but that it does not need to be realized.

That you don’t necessarily have to do anything. That you still feel solid ground under your feet and that the ceiling does not come down?  Would you then make choices based on your desire or later?

In my opinion, it might be more valuable not just to focus on positive thinking and ways to feel good. But also to learn to pay attention to the feelings of doubts, uncertainty, pain, and sadness. Without going into do-mode. They are ultimately the gateway to peace, freedom and happiness. Your body is calling for a change. The question is whether you are willing to stand still and really listen.


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