The UN reckons that 363 million tonnes of hazardous waste is produced every year. That is 60kg per person and nearly 12 tonnes every second.
I would tell you exactly how many plastic bags are produced worldwide but the counter changes so fast I can only say that at the second I wrote this blog there were roughly 4.3 trillion.
This is perhaps not a complete surprise. In the two and a half generations of relative peace since the end of the Second World War with growing prosperity in the developed world we no longer have to make do and mend and have become the throw away society. The wide availability of products and resources has made obsolescence and disposability so normal that it makes no sense to us to fix things or do without anymore.
Interestingly, since the end of the war, there has also been a more open approach to therapy. In an altogether more positive way, we are increasingly asking for help to jettison the toxic waste from our lives. I remember the older generations of my family bemoaning the lack of stoicism in society, ‘we never needed therapy. We just got on with it’. The toxicity hidden in many of their lives and relationships however suggests that a bit of help from a therapist might have made things easier.
There is no doubt we can get by in life without ever having spoken about how we are coping or where we want to get to. Many people do. In fact we reckon that only 1 in 4 depressed people seek help from a professional but the level of toxic waste that accumulates over time can be overwhelming.
One of the rules of the mind is that thought creates a physical reaction. Weight gain is a good example of this. Comfort and binge eating are sometimes ways of responding to thoughts about poor body-image. Often the poor self-image has a root elsewhere but it is compounded by the weight gain: a cyclical problem that needs some intervention to stop. Replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones can lead to a completely different physical reaction.
Another rule of the mind is that imagination is more powerful than reason or knowledge. This may sound a bit suspect to you but we know that around 95% of the brain’s processes are not conscious ones. Those subconscious processes are not discriminating, they are automatic. So the subconscious mind is facilitating the comfort eating but it does not stop to reason whether that is good or bad for us: it is more powerful that our reasoning mind.
Have you ever had the most extraordinary dream that seemed so real and yet when you woke up you found it difficult to describe because it was completely beyond anything you had reasonably thought possible?
We can imagine amazing things somewhere in that 95% of our brain power. We can create positive changes by reprogramming our subconscious mind. If these rules of the mind are true, we can use that to create a different physical reaction: we can give up smoking, lose weight, overcome that poor self-image, get rid of that toxic waste.