I just came back from a three-day intensive workshop in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida focused on improving your Mindset. It was hosted by Fabienne Frederickson, owner of www.boldheart.com, spiritual healer and business coach.
As someone who’s learned over the years that the way we think about things is how we feel about them, it wasn’t necessarily any new information for me but the reminder of it all was damn helpful!
I used to struggle as a young adult with feelings of inadequacy, unworthiness, fear of the future, worry about how I was ever going to be more than what I was, and symptoms of anxiety. After a decade of being exhausted by feeling so low, I began to search in my early 30s for ways I can manage all of these things and even change how I was feeling and the ways I was behaving. This led me to explore a shit ton of self-help books (can anyone say self-help book junkie??) and it was within all of this research that I saw a common theme: how I was thinking was making me feel like garbage.
Sounds simple, right?
Well technically the theory IS simple but the practice in changing thought patterns is HARD.
I began really monitoring how I was thinking and I noticed how mean I was to myself. If I made a mistake, I would immediately call myself an idiot. If someone didn’t want to hang out with me or return my call, I immediately thought it was because I wasn’t good enough for them to be friends with. Any time I had a thought, I directly went right down the rabbit hole of it must be me. I must be broken or deficient or worse, unlovable! No wonder I was a hot mess of depression and anxiety!!
Going to this retreat reminded me of how freakin’ powerful our brains are but also how powerful it can be once you learn to harness your thought patterns for good rather than evil! Hehe… Joking aside though, there are scientific studies which show that thinking negative thoughts is the number one reason we struggle with low self-esteem, poor self-image and feelings of anxiety and depression.
If you’re struggling the way I used to, you can take a small step right now to begin managing your feelings.
You do this by simply backing up and pinpointing the negative thoughts you had right before you started to feel crappy. Because we have over 60,000 thoughts a day and most of these are unconscious, it can be very revealing once we identify the ones that are negative and are causing us distress.
Once you’ve identified some of these, you can now begin to re-frame them (this is a term that we use in the therapy world) which basically means to change the thought from a negative one to a slightly more positive one. It shouldn’t be ridiculously positive because then your brain will reject it right away as false, but it should be a small improvement on it.
For example, let’s say you think “My boss hates me because I can never get these reports to her on time” – changing it to a nicer version could be “I know my boss is frustrated with me because I’m late with these reports but I will work on turning them in on time next week.”
This small tweak sounds plausible so your brain won’t reject it and it will go a long way towards catching you before you go down the rabbit hole of despair. Try this over and over throughout the day and let’s see how it can begin helping you feel better.
Stay tuned as I will share more tips on how the way you think can change your life!