Last week, I responded to a question in the She Makes it Happen! – with Lara Young Group about how to stay on top of your negative thoughts and feelings. It was a fabulous question and I thought I would share Part A of the answer I gave with you here. But before I do, I’d like to share an ‘ah ha’ moment that I had at the weekend when I was struggling to cope with my three and a half year old’s tantrum.
Practice what you preach
While my daughter was flailing about, screaming and refusing to get dressed for the day on Sunday (Mother’s Day) these things were going on for me:
a) I was thinking “Please no, not again”, “Oh for goodness sake, I’ve had enough of this” “Why can’t you just co-operate?” and after about 1/2 an hour “I’m not putting up with this *%!#! any more!”
b) I was doing my best to remain calm, to speak slowly and reassuringly to my daughter whilst physically, my jaws were clenched and I could feel my stress levels rising along with a sick tide of helplessness at not knowing how to help her
c) Feelings of sadness and guilt followed. I berated myself for not coping with the situation as well as I “should” then resentment made an appearance as I found myself telling myself “This isn’t fair, it’s Mother’s Day!”
Then I remembered that I had a choice about how to respond. And for the remainder of the day I practiced a new way of thinking about her actions and their meaning. I sought to understand her. I consciously held positive thoughts in my mind and looked for opportunities to praise her, encourage and love her. I remembered that her behaviour is hers, and not mine. I affirmed “I am a loving and kind mother” and “All is well”
Last night, I re-read my response to the question in the She Makes it Happen and I realised how beautifully it applies to my own situation. Perhaps you can apply it to your own life too?
Here it is:
1. The first thing to recognise is that everything is temporary. How you feel, what your thoughts are and your physical well-being.
2. The second thing to hold true is that EVERYTHING is a CHOICE. We choose how we feel and how we respond and interact with the world. Your thoughts are far more powerful than you once imagined. The way we choose to think about people and situations literally changes our relationship with them AND our reactions to them AND our physical well-being too.
You cannot think a negative thought and feel good emotionally and physically at the same time. It is impossible to think badly about a situation or about a person and experience positive emotions and physical well-being at the same time.
Try saying to yourself “Nothing good ever happens to me, it’s not fair”
How does that negative thought make you feel? What happens to your body – the sensations in your heart, stomach, chest when you say those words to yourself? Is the experience a positive or a negative one? My guess is that when you say those words, a negative emotion, such as anger, or resentment or disappointment follow. And that when you say those words, your body reacts with some negative physical sensation – perhaps a feeling in your tummy or a tightening of your shoulders.
EVERYTHING is linked – beginning with your thoughts. And that’s why developing the practice of CHOOSING the words you say to yourself and to others is so important for your own well-being.
My first tip therefore is to choose more positive thoughts. Now, this is a habit that can take time to develop. Most people don’t turn into Pollyanna overnight 🙂 BUT simply by taking the very first step of recognising the impact that your language has on yourself, you are on the way to creating positive change.
Remember, as individuals we love being right. And so if we say to ourselves “Nothing good ever happens to me, it’s not fair” or any other negatively oriented statement – then our unconscious mind will do its very best to make it true by looking for EVIDENCE to support this truth.
So instead, start by re-phrasing and re-purposing your language so it supports you positively. For example “I love noticing all the good things that happen in my life”. As you say those words to yourself, notice the changes that occur in how you feel emotionally and physically. Are they more positive? Play around with words until you get to the place where you are FEELING more positive.
3. Because your thoughts directly impact on your emotional and physical well-being make a conscious choice to FEEL GOOD NOW. Have you heard of the emotional scale? At one end are negative emotions like anger, fear, hurt, resentment and at the other end we find positive emotions like happiness, contentment and joy. The key is to take ACTION to move yourself up the emotional scale.
Now it’s not about leaping from anger to joy or from apathy to passion, but it is about TAKING STEPS to move towards a more positive emotional state. Write down a list of things that you love doing, music that lifts you up, quotes that inspire you and when you are in a not so great place emotionally READ, WRITE or SING the words that make you FEEL GOOD NOW and then embrace the new emotion that arises.
I use affirmations and physical movement (like a happy dance) to get me out of a funk when I’m in one. Sometimes, the simple act of getting up and making a cup of tea or phoning a friend or walking the dogs or playing with my children can make all the difference. I also use some Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques to physically anchor positive emotions that I can release at any time.
Whatever you do – THE KEY IS TO TAKE ACTION.
So that ^^^^ was my response to the question in my group. And having re-read it and applied it to my own situation, I know that these tips work.
Or at least, like all change, it’s a work in progress 🙂
Please join me over in the She Makes it Happen – with Lara Young Group on Facebook where the discussion continues by clicking here.
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