Fr TAYYIB Book, Forward by Mufti Menk
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Chapter 11 tips for when we fail,
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nothing runs perfectly. And it's foolish to expect that it will.
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We have bad days interruptions, unexpected feelings and impulses, and unplanned actions. These things make us prone to lose our better judgment, and we deviate from our intended path.
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This is reality. And it's not a matter of which we must become overly despairing or sad.
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Supposing It's evening, and the urge to have something sweet takes you. Despite all the sensible thoughts about reducing your sugar intake, it's almost as if the abstinence makes the snack more tempting. I'm sure you can relate to this. It's part of the human experience to desire things that we try to avoid.
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Now, it's not forbidden to have sugar. And we're not fasting because it's the evening. So somehow, we end up eating. And of course, it's sweet, it tastes nice, but we can expect to feel bad about it.
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And as a result, thoughts of failure bother us. As we prepare for bed,
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the same thing is likely to happen the next night and the next life seems to find a way to allow us to justify these little deviations to ourselves, we go for the pleasure, but we know that we're gonna feel somewhat terrible afterwards. Is there a way that we can intervene when the temptation is very strong,
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that we can reduce the chance of being tempted. And also if we are tempted, how we can manage our feelings, so that we are less likely to repeat the act in future?
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Well, one technique is one word breed.
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It's very difficult to out think temptation in the heat of the moment. The knifes is powerful. The brain moves the blood supply to the emotions more quickly than it does to logic and reason. We might know what's right, and what's logical, but our logic fades away under the bright light of this attractive thing in front of us, blinding us to the proper way.
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Continuing down this route will often make us more anxious. So we deal with the knifes directly.
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And you know what knifes means in Arabic.
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It also means a single breath and a moment in time.
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100 law, the very word knifes holds a clue as to what we do to gain control of a moment.
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Science has shown that simple slow breathing alone without needing to think about anything else is enough to make a dent in reducing intense emotions.
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I use something called the 510 10 five technique. Basically, it's a cycle which lasts 30 seconds. And you repeat the cycle around four times. So maybe five. So your total is around two and a half minutes.
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You breathe in for five seconds.
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Then you hold your lungs full for around 10 seconds.
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just counting it out.
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And then you breathe out over 10 seconds.
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And then you hold your lungs empty for five seconds.
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And then you breathe in again. And you go round that cycle. You don't have to do any fancy thinking or try to clear your mind. Just this exercise alone will start to reduce those unwelcome emotions.
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Controlling the breathing slowing it down, tends to calm the emotions because it sends signals back to the base of the brain, telling the brain that there isn't an emergency.
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There are more enhanced techniques such as the Riyadh method described in my other books and blog.
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It helps further to remove ourselves from being near the temptation.
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The further away the better.
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Even turning our back to it is a good start.
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Turn away from the food and perhaps look upwards. Because when we look up with we are naturally cueing the brain to think of higher things. We remember a lot. our heart and our conscience get a chance to come back into play. And we remember our purposes and goals more clearly.
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Simply hanging on while breathing slowly is often enough to bring unwanted emotions under control.
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You aren't fighting them
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ignoring them, you just accepting and accommodating them more comfortably.
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The more you practice, the better you get. And when we look back at successes, we'd become more confident over our behavior.
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I can also recommend a few other things to bolster our chances of managing unwanted emotions. The first is to recite this be while breathing, that's easy to do. reciting this be 100, Allah Subhana Allah, Allahu Akbar, tends to invite the blessings of Allah, and it interrupts the mental noise of unwanted thoughts.
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Allah hears us, and we are effectively seeking refuge in his name,
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trial, so taking a short walk, or go to another room. Moving your location tends to also move the location of your thought. And of course takes you further away from the temptation.
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Try drinking a glass of water,
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the gut becomes tense, when we are emotional. Drinking Water physically calms that down. And again, this feeds positive signals back to the base of your brain where your emotions are telling the nerves that things are calm.
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Another way is to sit down. Or if you are sitting down already lyder
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emotional states have their own posture.
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If you notice someone who's angry or anxious, you might see that their shoulders are tight, that they're pacing a little bit, and they've got a pained expression on their face. changing to a more relaxed position is yet another route by which we can send these signals back to the brain and tell the brain that look, the body is calm. So try to become calm inside.
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And after all this, if we still fail, and we still eat that thing, we don't want to, we accept that action. And we can still make it a useful failure.
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Let's explore this a bit further.
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Firstly, if you eat the unintended snack, own the action, take responsibility for all your decisions, even the ones that are unwise, you made the decision, whether it was planned or not. When you own a decision, you can then take command of the situation in considering what you can learn from it, and how to avoid it in future.
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all food is to be appreciated slowly, mindfully, taking in the full flavor. And thanking Allah for the pleasure. So when you eat that sugary snack, include that in this food, try to eat it slowly. Give thanks to Allah and savor all of it. With full gratitude in your heart, taste every little bite, it might not be great for your health, but it is a last provision. And it is pleasant for whilst you eat it, at least. So tasted with joy, and appreciated for the provision from Allah that it is.
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It's a myth to say that enjoying sweet foods will reinforce your addiction. Actually, it is the mindless enjoyment, which is dangerous,
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slow, mindful, peaceful enjoyment, will only approve your appreciation of all that Allah has put on this earth. And you'll find that actually, you taste the food more intensely. And you won't want to eat as much in future because you have got so much more of that sensation of sweetness.
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And supposing you feel guilty afterwards? Well, let's examine that as well. feelings of guilt are the result of a poor decision made by a person of good character and values.
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It's not you or your character. It's your decision that you feel guilty about. If you actually had poor character, you wouldn't feel guilt at all.
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Remember that any decision is just the decision. It doesn't reflect on your core beliefs.
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We're all engaged in a struggle to show our find ourselves. And it's wise to accept that we never get this right as much as we would like. We accept our failures. It doesn't mean we agree with them or like them. But it does mean we acknowledged them as part of our experience of learning.
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Then the feeling of guilt goes on to become less destructive. And as a result, we think more calmly about how we might prevent the same decision again. But guilt moves to a position of mindful regret.
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We can also use something called the ABCs. antecedents, behavior and consequences
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when you succeeded in a
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Avoiding the temptation or not reflect on the ABCs later on the next day, or when you're feeling more rational again,
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antecedents are the events or circumstances that led to the decision. In the case of an unplanned binge or snack, the main contributing factor in most cases is accessibility. The nearer and more convenient the think is, the easier it is for for for it.
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Do not assume that willpower is effective.
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willpower is usually in the form of rational thoughts from your intellect, telling you that desert isn't good for you.
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These things are facts and logic. Remember that the knifes is able to overpower facts and logic.
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Knowing this, the effective step to take is to remove the offending stack from your proximity. Clear it from the house. Go ahead and remove it helped enough to buy time to calm down to make it easier for you to avoid temptation altogether.
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But this may not be possible if there are others living at your house. Or you might live in a place which is a short walk from a 24 hour store. So what then,
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well, for one thing, you can involve enough's in fighting its own impulses. Take time to breathe slowly. The 510 10 five method works wonders to calm the knifes down and really just lets the temptation pass like a boat remains in the same place, letting the waves underneath it just go up and down.
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Reflect on the feeling of temptation, it probably tells you that you're hungry, and that this little snack won't hurt. Or it might have a sense of rebellious while what the hell it's just a little cake, a little bit of ice cream. Step outside of that feeling and just let it be. You acknowledge you feel tempted and you don't fight it you just accept that this is the feeling. The reward method describes this in greater detail. It's a mental garden of peace. You'll find it in my blog and YouTube and other books. You can accept unwanted feelings as part of yourself. But understand that accepting them doesn't mean you agree with them. You just let them come and go like a storm over a
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You understand that feelings of temptation sometimes come from a good place, but just got a bit extreme. Enough. This is a simple blunt force, trying to help you feel good, probably wants to eat because it wants to feel fed and full. And it assumes that you won't find food in future. So it wants to eat whatever is in front.
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But the knifes is not as grounded in reality. It relies on feelings and impressions and inner drives more than actual facts. It's blind to the consequences of short term actions until afterwards.
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So allow the knifes to feel what it feels. And let the feelings just pass through you while you breathe through them. say Alhamdulillah. Go for a drink of water. Sit down lie down. distract yourself for a period so that the feeling passes.
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Reflect on the feeling further to find out if it's actually true.
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Are you actually hungry at all? And will this snack fill an important gap in your nutritional needs.
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Think about the setting. At the end of the day or late at night, we are likely to feel tired or sleepy.
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Our normal better judgments get equally tired and sleepy. The knifes gets stronger in these times. We're also likely to feel a bit more anxious about the next day, or about the things that have bothered us in the day past.
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We easily confuse tiredness and sleepiness and anxiety with feelings of hunger or craving.
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These are kind of false hungers. We gain a little more understanding of our feelings when we really look into them and examine what they actually say.
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Every time we reflect on this, we can do something that addresses the true underlying feeling rather than eating. anxiety can be calmed reflected on focused on as a source of problem solving.
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Developing a habit of reflecting on our do our talking to a lot every day about our plans tomorrow and taking stock of our actions, being thankful for the good and spotting the areas for improvement. These are all parts of a strong Islamic mindset. You don't need to be overwhelmed by them. It's just something you do after Salah or in the morning or when you have a moment to yourself. These things are described in greater detail in my other books and blog and what have you, but it's important to know that they fit into the day your way of life, too.
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tiredness can be dealt with by refreshing walk or lying down. And sleepiness is rarely left unsatisfied. If we start making preparations to go to bed, anxiety is part of life, and need not be feared at all. When we just let it be
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as simple as this knowledge and these steps sound, it's so helpful to remember them the next time they come around.
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And we're not failures when we make a mistake or an imperfect judgment. Failure is an event. It's not an identity.
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The very fact that we feel bad about it, and that we hope to improve our actions is the real evidence that we are of good character where it really counts in our hearts.
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Allah will judge us for our actions, yes, but before that, he checks our intentions. And as long as we acknowledge where our actions have let us down and ask for his forgiveness in helping reduce them. He has indeed promised to forgive us and help us. He tells us that forgiveness is his favorite activity. And he also tells us to be forgiving and merciful to ourselves and others. Otherwise, he will not be merciful with us when he comes to judge us.
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In other words, he commands us to be kind and forgiving with ourselves.
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This Islamic principle is incredibly transformative, just on its own.
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While at guilt and other negative feelings bother you, when the Lord of all creation himself has promised to forgive you. When you ask him. Why not turn guilt into a more productive thing. Reflect on your actions with a view to accepting the consequences and feelings and think of ways to avoid error in future. gain some knowledge about what might help and try putting that into practice next time.
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It might not work. It might take some practice, but try
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and move on with your life with cheer and optimism in your heart.
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If only we were to regard ourselves with as much deep love and esteem as how Allah regards us
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and the chapter
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About Tarek Kareem Harris
Tarek Kareem Harris, better known as Dr. TK Harris – MD DpOL (Oxon). Dr Harris is medical doctor who specialises in everyday mental health and wellbeing in Islam. He is ever thankful of his friend Mufti Menk, who introduced his work to the public.
He trained medically in Edinburgh and Oxford some 25 years ago and first worked as a heart surgeon, where he became fascinated as to how stress and bad news caused problems like heart attacks. He found his true calling in examining how the mind and body affect each other, and turned to neuroscience. He has been a neurospsychiatrist since then, helping thousands of people regain their mental health without financial cost to them.
Tarek Kareem Harris, later returned to Oxford to do study advanced organisational leadership, and began helping high-functioning people to thrive in their chosen fields using performance coaching methods. He studied the connections between the sciences of happiness, mental wellbeing and mental illness, and how they connect to Islam in everyday life.