A group of women sat around a reclaimed wood table, the aroma of coffee from the adjacent coffee shop wafting into the room. Friendly hellos, and sips from mugs were the order of the morning.
The sun emerged from behind a cloud, and bounced off a sill as one women tilted her head and squinted her eyes.
Another popped up to adjust the blinds as the woman squinting said, “No, please leave it. I’ve been feeling so down – maybe some sun will perk me up.”
“You too?” came the reply, slowly and sheepishly followed by: “I hate to admit this, but I’ve been in a slump that I just can’t seem to break. It sucks. This group is always so positive. I thought it was just me!”
That was all the room needed!
The guard was down and there was a palpable bonding, as everyone opened up and began to share a little, and in some cases - a LOT, about their personal fiendish little demons.
It was fascinating though, that after awhile, after the big exhales and comfort of feeling like you’re not alone, the group realized that while it was good to share, it didn’t really FEEL all that good.
After a little more discussion, it didn’t take a lot of convincing for the group to recognize that much (but not all) of the negativity in their lives was “self-imposed” – it was worry, not necessarily reality.
Worry about others, politics, world events – let's face it, there's a LOT out there right now. But.. they were all things beyond the control of anyone in the room.
Someone asked why we let ourselves get like this when we all know better. "Why can't we just focus on the things we can do something about?"
The reality is we’re wired that way. Our ‘on-guard’ behavior is thought to be an evolutionary trait – an innate survival skill to protect ourselves, keeping us alert and ready to take action.
While we’d like to think we should have evolved beyond that, we clearly haven’t. But the good news is we can at least recognize and manage it. There are a lot of books on the subject, and I could write one myself, but let’s just start with a few simple tips:
· Recognize (be aware) of the thought that’s upsetting you.
· Ask yourself if the issue is “true” and then again, if you can be absolutely sure it’s true.
· Acknowledge how you react when you believe it’s true and the impact it’s having on you.
· Envision how things could be different without the thought.
By asking yourself these questions, you begin to train your mind to not blindly accept and react to negative thoughts or beliefs, and instead see reality, and perhaps have a little more hope.
I encourage you to give it a try!
I welcome your questions and comments. Simply COMMENT and I’d be happy to respond. Know someone who’d like this – please pass it along.
Also, I’d love to know what specific topics you’d like to hear more about. What’s important to you?
Wishing you positivity,