Have you ever felt completely and utterly defeated by your own brain?
You’re sitting there, minding your own business and you suddenly think of something terrible. Something that makes your heart sink into your stomach. Something that makes you feel hopeless, sad, angry, or all of the above.
What if I told you that you could change this feeling simply by using the very thing that triggered it in the first place—your brain.
What are you feeling?
First, you need to understand exactly what you are feeling, which is much easier than you may think.
I do this by sitting down, closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, and focusing on how I feel in that moment.
After you spend a few seconds taking inventory of your body and mind, try to think of the word that describes how you are feeling. Some examples may be angry, exhausted, sad, or anxious (9 times out of 10 my feeling is anxious).
Once you have that word, hold onto it.
Then, take inventory again and determine where you are holding that feeling. If you’re tired, you may feel it in your head. If you’re sad, it may be in your chest.
When I’m anxious, I tend to feel a tightness in my chest and throat. Sometimes it even feels like I have a weight sitting on me.
The more descriptive you can be, the better.
And I mean really feel it.
Personally, when I feel myself getting anxious, I tend to push it down into the depths of my soul and ignore it as best as I can.
Out of sight, out of mind, right?
That’s actually doing more harm. Our bodies are designed to feel emotion, so you need to open up and feel them.
Pay attention to that tightness in your chest or that heaviness in your head. As you do, you will notice the feeling becoming less and less intense.
Find the negative thought
Easier said than done, right?
You may think that these feelings just happen, and you have no control over it, but every feeling you have comes from a thought. And you have 100% control over what you think.
This part may take a bit. You really have to dive deep to find that negative thought, but when you find it, you will know.
In the past, my reoccurring thought has been “You are never going to be normal.” Pretty brutal, right?
The bad news is that these negative thoughts are making you experience the negative feelings.
The good news? To change this, you simply have to change the negative thought to a positive one.
Create a true positive thought
The key here is a true positive thought.
In an ideal world, I would want to change my negative thought, “You are never going to be normal” into something like “I am perfect the way I am.”
That all sounds fine and dandy, but will I actually be able to convince myself that’s the case? For me, no.
Instead, you must come up with a true thought that you will believe.
In this case, I chose “I am a work in progress.” Much less pressure than trying to be my own version of “perfect.”
Feel it again (in a good way this time!)
Once you have your new, true positive thought, it’s time to feel all the good things that come from that thought.
To do that, just say that positive thought to yourself in your head, and take an inventory just like you did with the negative thought.
What emotion do you feel?
When I say “I am a work in progress,” I feel hopeful. And when I feel hopeful, it makes me feel light, airy, and free. (Much better than the weight of anxiety.)
And there you have it—a foolproof way to feel better.
I learned all of this from a webinar I listened in on several months ago, and it completely changed my perspective on how I can handle my thoughts and feelings.
Particularly those thoughts and feelings that made me so anxious all the time.
Next time you find yourself feeling sad, angry, or just a little off, give this technique a try!
It’s one of the many tools I use to manage those everyday stressors (more to come 😉 ).