The "Aaron-Tiger-Consumption-Test for Well-Being"

This is one of my favorite weeks in our curriculum cycle in which I have pushed the theoretical discussion to the limit and we tie all of our deep discussion back in to the body, and the cognitive-somatic connection. One of the ideas we have approached from different angles is the recognition that strong emotion, including happiness, anxiety, and anger are not external, but instead come from the way we filter experience though our genetic inheritance, prior experiences, and current beliefs. 

This is so empowering because it means that by becoming aware of our thought patterns and emotional triggers and developing relaxation techniques, we can increase our happiness and decrease negative emotion. One of the ways I illustrate this is with the "Aaron-Tiger-Consumption-Test for Well-Being". It's very simple. When you are feeling strong anxiety, fear, sadness, etc. you ask yourself, "Am I being eaten by a tiger, right now?". If the answer is yes, it's alright to freak out. If the answer is no, the chances are better than not that your fear/anxiety is in reaction to concerns about the future, or the past, but not the present moment. You are okay, and safe, in the present moment. This doesn't solve any problems other than the immediate sense of panic, but it does create space for calm, clear eyed problem solving.