This blog is a continuation from earlier post this week. Read previous blog.
You start your day with the following thoughts.
- I didn’t get enough sleep
- I don’t have enough time
- I’m always behind and can never catch up
A few others known to be in this neighbourhood are:
- I don’t have enough money
- My life is so hard
- I can’t get anything right
Do you notice how disempowering and negative these thoughts are? If this tape is playing in your mind 24/7, what kind of neighbourhood are you living in?
The first step to breaking this cycle is to NOTICE and not judge.
Most of us automatically believe these thoughts as true without questioning them. More on that in an upcoming post.
Notice when these thoughts are lingering or on the forefront of your thinking.
When it’s happening, notice any physical sensations in your body.
Are you noticing:
- Clinching jaw
- Shallow breathing
- Tightened shoulders
- Stiff neck
- Dry mouth or eyes
- Anything else?
If you notice any of these physical sensations, you have engaged the “stress response” The part of your brain that wants to fight, flight or freeze because it feels like it’s under attack. Even though there is no real threat. That’s how powerful your thoughts are.
If you can catch yourself in the moment when you feel triggered, here’s a trick that is guaranteed to work, I promise.
The second step is START BREATHING.
Yep, that’s right, BREATHE.
The reason why this works is because when you are in the stress response, oxygen does not go to the rational brain. Instead it nourishes the primitive brain responsible for emotions. This results in us getting physically aggressive or withdrawing because our emotions or rather “feelings of insecurity” have burglarized your mind. Even the smartest of us can go stupid in this phase.
When you consciously breathe in more fuller breaths, oxygen can go into your rational brain and help you focus better and minimize the emotional tirade.
If you want to learn more about this stress response, join me in my upcoming webinar Embracing Conflict with Ease on Tuesday May 30th from 1-2 pm EDT when I take you through other techniques you can take to address the stress response especially if you are handling interpersonal conflict in the workplace.
As a recap of what to do when your neighbourhood is “disempowering and unforgiving”:
- Notice the types of thoughts coming up and label it “pleasant” “unpleasant” or “neutral”
- Notice the physical sensations in your body. Are there any patterns?
- When you notice the stress response, take at least 5 deep breaths. How do you feel afterwards?
In the next blog post I am going to share what might be triggering these unwelcomed thoughts and how you can transform them.