Here’s just a few thoughts I have heard from my clients this week:
I hate my job and it is ruining my life.
I can’t have any fun unless I am pain free.
I am worthless because I haven’t written a best selling novel.
I can’t be happy unless… insert any situation here.
These thoughts can drive you crazy, if you let them.
I like to call this thoughts gone wild syndrome. It starts with one self-defeating thought and then it turns into mind swirl so huge that you feel depressed in about 5 minutes because you’ve already created a full-blown personal catastrophe. At that moment it seems easy to give up on attaining your dream before you even get started.
The problem lies not only in what you’re thinking, but what you are feeling.
I’ve had my share of experience with the thoughts gone wild syndrome and here’s how I approach it:
I had a pretty bad week last week. I had a myriad of things going on personally and I could feel them weighing me down.
My thoughts were cloudy. I felt upset, sad, angry, and all kinds of other crappy feelings were emerging.
Yes, even a coach has a bad day.
However, it’s not about the day being bad or good it’s how you choose to navigate through it.
Instead of following the path of resistance which in my case would be:
a) Ignoring my emotions or
b) Fighting my emotions by coming up with tons of reasons I should be positive in that exact moment, I allowed myself to just sit there and be in the sensations of those emotions.
I experienced them in a way where I was not getting more depressed, moping around or taking it out on others. I sat in it as the watcher (Thanks Martha Beck).
I curiously observed it, heard what it was telling me, and watched my reaction or my non-reaction to that message. By being the watcher I wasn’t reacting to every emotional wave and I wasn’t being the victim. I was allowing myself to experience the emotions and to watch how they were affecting my body and mind, but not attaching to them. When you to allow them to be there you won’t feel like you’re struggling against reality.
When you feel that jolt of reaction and see your thoughts going wild this is what you can do:
1. Allow yourself to feel what you want to feel without rules, without doing it right, and without fixing it.
2. Become the watcher. Watch how your emotions change, how your emotions respond to your thoughts and vice-versa. Observe them and notice if they changing on their own. Or are you forcing them?
3.Write them down in a journal. Set a timer and write down the thoughts that are driving you crazy.
4. Don’t resist them. When you write about them and see them on paper you will begin to realize that they are just a story.
And like any story they can be changed.
But here’s the catch: the new story will only stick if it is coming from the authentic place within you who knows exactly what you need and how to get it. You get to that place by accessing your emotions, listening to what your body’s reaction is telling you, and then creating thoughts that are in harmony with your unique personal wisdom.
And when the thoughts go wild again, which they surely will, just repeat the process.
It’s all about practice baby!
very timely blog post . . . for me at least. just last night i was wrapped in one of my (what now seems like) weekly downward spirals. only this week, the thoughts were more catastrophic – in a global sense. one of my interests is environmentalism, another is animal rights. these two interests are now making me depressed. it seems easier to deal with personal thoughts – thoughts of not being good enough, etc – than these world issues that are completely out of my control. how does this exercise work on these global, end of days, thoughts? i can’t make the connection because i feel useless in helping humans, animals, the planet escape all these terrible things i keep reading about!
What I hear from you is PASSION! You have to be very passionate about environmentalism and animal rights to be depressed about not being able to help. As the saying goes “you have to be the change you want to see in the world.” You can’t help the situation or yourself, if you feel powerless and depressed about the issue. That doesn’t mean disregard the depression you feel when thinking about these topics. Simply be aware of how deeply you care about the issues. The ask yourself, what message is being depressed about these social conditions telling you? How can you use that message for the greater good?
Give it a try, I’d love to hear how it goes:)
When you say it . . when you see PASSION it makes complete sense. but when i am wrapped up in the downward spiral there is nothing positive about it, i feel trapped by these interests and thoughts. but when you look at it in a different light everything changes. i will have to journal about this . . .ask myself these questions. i will let you know how it goes!
Thanks – you always manage to reveal a different side that i can believe.