The thoughts we choose to think create our feelings. If you want to feel stressed, choose thoughts that make you feel stressed out. If you want to feel overwhelmed, choose thoughts that overwhelm you.
When we look at it that way, choosing thoughts to make us feel stressed seems crazy. Well, crazy or not, that’s what I have been doing. Every day, I was choosing to think thoughts that made me feel anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed. What were my thoughts? Some version of:
I don’t have enough time. I have too much to do. I am so busy.
I used to get together with my friends and complain: “I’m so busy. I have so much going on.” We traded stories on how busy our lives were and how unmanageable everything was. I acted like my life happened to me; as if I had no control over what my days contained; as if I had no control over how I spent my time. I acted as if I was a victim in my own life.
How do you think thinking this thought made me feel?
Overwhelmed. Stressed. Anxious.
Are those ways I want to feel?
How do I act when I feel that way? Not the way I want to.
How do I act towards my kids when I feel overwhelmed? What do I say to my son if it takes him an extra 30 seconds to find his soccer ball for practice?
How do I act towards my partner when I feel stressed? What kind of listener am I when he’s describing his day at work?
How do I act to myself when I feel too busy? Do I take time to exercise my body? Do I get the sleep I need? Do I make a healthy salad or shove food in my mouth as I’m moving out the door?
How does acting that way show up in life? Wondering how we feel disconnected from our kids, wondering how we’ve grown so far apart from our husbands, wondering how we gained all that weight? Again, as if it happened to us. Nope. We create the results we see in our lives.
Thing is, everyone has something going on. Life is as busy as we allow it to be. I told myself I was too busy when I had no children and was 24. I told myself I was too busy when I had one child, was married, and was a full-time mom. I told myself I was too busy when I had three kids, no husband, and a full-time job. How I feel is in my control, whether I have 14 kids or none. How I feel is based on the thoughts I choose to think regardless of what is going on around me. I am in control of how I feel.
Nothing will change in your life until you change something. In this case, I can continue to think I’m too busy and feel stressed or I can choose to change. I chose to change. Yes it’s hard but that’s what life is all about. Hard isn’t bad. It was hard to learn how to walk but I did it. It’s hard to reprogram my brain but I’ve done it before and know that it will be well worth it.
Easy thought: I have too much to do. I’m too busy
Harder (but more rewarding) thought: I have enough time to get done what I want to get done.
We are adults. We are in charge of our lives, our thoughts, our feelings and our actions. Yes this is hard. It’s much easier to blame someone or something else. It’s harder to take responsibility for our life and our time. It takes planning and being deliberate. It takes listening to my thoughts and monitoring how I’m spending my time. That said, I’m all in. I commit to thinking I have enough time. I commit to taking responsibility for my time and how I spend my days. I commit for my kids and for my partner. But mostly? I commit for me and the way thinking the thought “I have enough time” makes me feel.
Next week I’ll write about committing to yourself and to your new goal. How to move away from the mindset that life is too busy or that life happens to you by making a plan and sticking to it. Let me know if any of this resonated with you. Do you tell yourself you’re too busy? Do you tell yourself you’ll never get it done? How does thinking that thought make you feel?
This is what Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Coaching is. This is what I do and why I do it. It works and I see how there are no external forces getting me to feel a certain way. I am in charge of my thoughts and my thoughts create my feelings. Do I coach because I have it all under control? Hell no! I coach because I don’t have it all under control. I work on my thoughts and behavior every single day and share my journey so we all can grow. Why not join the fun today? There are many ways to get started: