The Way you Think about a Situation is Causing Stress
When you experience negative emotions, ask yourself:
What is going through my mind right now?
We are in a thought-created reality, so your thoughts create your experience and feelings. I love helping my clients see this clearly. We tend to live in a sped-up world and not realize we are our own worst enemy when we are going a million miles an hour. If we don’t slow down, reboot, recover, reflect and refill our energy cup, we become depleted and don’t see things clearly. Some of my clients are so consumed by the problem that they don’t see any solutions or are talking to everyone to get validation or proof they are right—further deepening the issue, problem-focused, and pointing them further from the truth.
What mental images are you creating in this situation?
Not everyone, but many paint pictures or create mini-movies in their minds, sometimes hundreds of steps ahead, not fully living in the moment but living in a mental image-created reality that often has a negative outcome. This is typically a habit created to keep you safe and keeping you in the comfort of your safe zone. Preventing any pain (Sabor tooth tiger), emotionally or physically, keeps you from learning, growing, expanding, and experiencing life’s many wonders and beauty. To live life fully, it does involve some risk, stepping outside your comfort zone.
How might you be thinking of the worst possible outcome?
I see this frequently with clients, playing out the worst possible case scenarios, not one but many. Usually, they will tell me, “I want to (insert what they want) but….” Everything after the but is the long list of excuses or what has happened in the past and how it will happen again—not living life with openness, curiosity, and expansive—living in fear.
Seeing the worst in everyone and everything. Did the past happen? Yes, reflect, learn and grow, but the past is always a distorted reality and is pure thought now. Bringing the past to the current generates more feelings, feelings that aren’t good and will keep you stuck as a result. Our brain will prevent us from moving forward on anything it sees as painful, even if you want it bad, a status of ambivalence.
What meaning are you making out of the situation?
It’s so easy to create meaning in any situation. If you text someone and they don’t text you back for hours or days, what meaning do you construct from it? All thought created.
These thoughts can damage relationships and make for a miserable day, especially if you dwell, ruminate, and create something out of pure nothingness. I often see this type of reaction as a victim mentality, but ultimately a tremendous poor use of mental energy and “stress” created reality. Wouldn’t it feel good to live life with more peace, harmony, and flow?
What rules are being violated in this situation?
I see arbitrary rules created all the time working closely with clients. Rules of “how they would do it” are all purely made-up of more thoughts. What I see is someone that has a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves and high expectations of themselves and others that not even themselves can deliver. Ultimately this creates a life of pure unhappiness, resentment, and fear-based. Often made-up rules have the words “must” and “should” in them. Here are a few: I should work out. I should eat better. I must get all my to-do list done today. Everyone must drive with more awareness. Are these rules necessary? Are they creating more heaviness, stress, worry, and anxiety? Do you want to feel a different way??
It’s sooo easy to feel lighter, free-er, and in control. We, humans, get conned so easily into an overthinking habit. That’s all it is, a habit. Easily broken but does take someone else outside your life (not anyone in your family or friends circle, someone skilled at finding your thought patterns, a coach like me!) to help point out what you’re not seeing, how you’re creating your reality, and work with you closely in a new way of being.
I find it fascinating how some of my clients take off like a rocket and grasp what I work with them on, and others that struggle a bit but then grasp the understanding in a few months.
It’s pretty clear over the years the difference between the two types of clients, the ones that take off like a rocket, are open, curious, apply to their lives immediately and get my support frequently, twice a week.
Then, those who struggle are resistant, challenging, sped up, and not prioritizing their well-being. I get it; at the start of my journey, my well-being was the lowest priority; I had toxic rules and beliefs. As a result, I paid dearly and was in the second category of clients. I was resistant, questioned everything, was righteous, and thought I knew what was best for me (ego-driven and addicted to overthinking). Once in a while, I have a potential client that reaches out to me that sounds like a version of my younger self. I find these clients fun and learn so much about myself in every interaction. Funny how life offers you these gifts.