You know those annoying thoughts that make you super anxious and stressed? The ones that you want to punch in the face for ruining your day? You have half of your brain that says these thoughts are irrational but the other side is such a good fighter that the battle is over before it begins.
So this is my attempt at punching some of those thoughts with some good ‘ol cognitive behavioral therapy. I’ve taken a select few and shown you how I try and re-frame my mindset to stop thinking the things that cause my stomach to churn and my blood pressure to rise.
Thought: “This thing that I was expecting to happen isn’t going to and now my plans are ruined.”
- Yeah, this happens. Sometimes a lot. And it sucks, especially when it pertains to money. But the real issue I have is not necessarily with the thing itself but with the expectation that I had of what would happen after I got it. Maybe I was expecting a large sum of money to come in and I started spending it in my head. That creates an expectation that things will be better or I will be happier when this money comes in, so when it doesn’t my world falls apart.
- What I’ve found: don’t expect things that are not 100%. If I am filing my taxes, I cannot plan out what we are using our refund on because what if we get nothing? Lowering my expectations is not about expecting the worst of a situation, but about not expecting that a situation will bring me happiness. This is a work in progress and something that will definitely take a lot more practice.
Thought: “If I do/don’t do this thing, then (insert person) will hate me.”
- Okay, first of all, if I do or don’t do a thing, unless it’s running over their dog or stealing their credit card, the person in question is not likely to hate me. The feeling of disappointing someone can be so heavy that I avoid all confrontation all together, which of course just makes the matter at hand so much worse.
- What I’ve found: being open and honest in the first place makes the situation SO much more bearable. Maybe this person is upset, but they get over it way more quickly when I am up front than if I wait, because more often than not, waiting just makes the thing I did or didn’t do so much worse.
Thought: “I have too much going on and I won’t be able to handle it all.”
- A busy day is a busy day. They happen. Sometimes many times in a row until you don’t remember the last day that you were able to sit down for more than ten minutes without interruption. But dwelling on it before it even happens just creates a sick feeling that makes it impossible to relax before the craziness even begins.
- What I’ve found: When I have many things on my plate, it can definitely rattle me, sometimes to the point where I snap at my kids when they’re doing absolutely nothing wrong. But I survive it. It’s long, and stressful, but at some point, it’s over. So before it even begins, I think about the day that the stress will be done and focus on how that day will feel. So if it’s one day, I think about laying down in bed that night after completing my day and how amazing that will feel.
Thought: “If I do/don’t do this thing then people will see me in a certain way.”
- WHO. CARES. This is something I need to repeat to myself all day, every day. WHO. CARES.
- What I’ve found: I’ve wasted too many years of my life worrying about others’ expectations and impressions of me. And now that I’m modeling behavior for two growing children, do I want them to see me as someone who is more focused on appearances then living authentically? Easier said than done. But it’s really as simple as just repeating to myself “what do I want? what will help me? what will make me happy?” and then doing it.