How often do you hear people say things like, “The pandemic is ruining everything”, or “My boss makes me crazy”, or “My job is burning me out”, or “My finances cause me so much stress”, or “My mother-in-law drives me crazy”? My guess is you have heard many people say something similar to one of these things, and likely you have said things like this as well. Most of us have! If you can relate, you are not alone, however, it is something you may want to consider changing.
The reason I would like you to consider changing this is because it results in your being powerless. If you believe that your life is ruined because of the pandemic, you give up complete control over your life. If you believe that your boss or mother-in-law are driving you crazy, you give up complete control of your sanity. If you believe that your job or your finances are causing you stress and burning you out, you give up complete control over feeling content and relaxed. While I am not suggesting that any of these situations may be easy or fun to deal with, I am suggesting that you can think about them differently in order to feel differently.
The circumstances or people (pandemic, boss, job, finances, or mother-in-law) do not cause your feelings. What causes your feelings is what you think about the circumstances or people. For example, when the pandemic hit, I think most of us initially thought, “what the f*** is happening in our world?”. However, some of us chose to then think things like, “things are different and uncertain; however, I have more time to do the things I have been saying I wanted to do for so long”, or “I am grateful I have more time with my family right now”. Some of us chose to think things like, “this year is such a waste”, or “this is so stupid that I have to wear a mask”, or “I am going to lose everything”.
When you read the thoughts of the first group, how do you feel? You likely feel much calmer, grateful, maybe even energized or inspired. When you read the thoughts of the second group you likely feel frustration, anger, and fear. The circumstance is the same for both groups, however, they are choosing to think differently about it. This in no way minimizes that people have lost loved ones, lost jobs, lost the ability to attend school, activities, and celebrate milestones in the way they wish. Those things are real. The difference is that the second group’s thoughts increase the suffering they are experiencing.
Most often, the thoughts you are experiencing are initially unconscious. You certainly cannot keep track of thousands of thoughts going through your mind each day. It is because of this that you attribute your feelings to circumstances, and not your thoughts. However, once you learn to recognize your thoughts that are causing your feelings, you gain back power that will allow you to reduce your suffering. Since your thoughts create your feelings, once you recognize your thoughts, you can then decide if there is a different thought that would serve you better.
It will also result in you getting different outcomes in your life. What you think creates how you feel. How you feel impacts the actions you take in your life. The actions you take on a day to day and week to week basis, impact the results in your life. This is true of any situation. I have seen so many clients have massive breakthroughs when they fully understand this and can put it into practice consistently. Because it is such an important concept to understand, I will review it one more time. Thoughts, not circumstances or people, create feelings. Feelings influence our actions. Our actions are what produce the results we get (or don’t get) in our lives. Our circumstances are neutral. It is what we think of them that empowers us, or disempowers us.
Here is a good exercise to begin to bring your thoughts into your awareness:
Consider how empowering this is! If you learn to manage your thoughts, you can change the results you get in your life and feel better overall. Even when you have no control over the circumstances or the people in your life, you can choose to think differently, feel differently, act differently, and get the results you wish in your life. I have experienced it both ways, and I have seen so many of my clients do the same. When we blame our circumstances or other people for how we feel or the results we get in our lives, we give up all our power.
If you commit to doing just two things, you will start to be able to take control of your mind. First, commit to doing the above exercise a minimum of one time per day. If you can do more, that is even better. Second, commit to practicing five minutes of mindfulness meditation per day. This will help you learn to be in the present moment, which will help you learn to better identify your thoughts. If you are unsure of how to do this, you can get my 5 Minute Mindfulness Meditation Cheat Sheet which will walk you step-by-step through this HERE.
If you really want to master this process, consider coaching with me. Working with a life coach helped me master this and it has been truly transformational in all areas of my life. Once you become proficient at this, you can create change in any area of your life. If you are interested in learning more about coaching, you can go HERE.
Finally, just being reminded about the power of this on an ongoing basis will help you remember to apply the process I described above. Mindset is at the root of all my work because it is so powerful in getting my clients results. Join my email list by clicking HERE so that you get ongoing information like this delivered to your inbox each week. You will also be notified when I release a new blog post. I look forward to having you join my community!
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Karen Vincent Solutions
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