Tag: reframing thoughts

Do you need a vacation…or a more balanced life?

sunset over waterI love vacations. They are chances to see new sites and enjoy activities you may not typically incorporate into your daily schedule. Putting yourself in a new location can be invigorating to body and mind, as you are having different experiences than usual.

However, if you mainly use vacations as escape from your normal reality, you might want to examine the level of balance in your life. If your daily life is unbalanced, a vacation will merely be a quick fix and not help the underlying issue.

Imagine if you didn’t need a vacation in order to feel calm and centered, but could find that in your every day?

If you feel your life is unbalanced, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you overscheduling yourself? If so, consider ranking to-do’s and commitments by importance and complete them in that order. That way, you will accomplish what is most productive, supportive, and essential to you. Eliminating those “should” tasks can add more time and increase your level of satisfaction.
  • What is causing you overwhelm? Is it something you can delegate or ask for help with? If not, can you choose to shift your perspective on what you perceive to be stressful?
  • How often do you feel tired/sick and what is the cause? Is it poor nutrition, lack of sleep, or your thoughts? These are all factors that play a role in decreased energy and health.
  • How soon do you feel burned out after returning from a vacation? Try to remember what the precursors were to your last burnout. Did a particular thing, or combination of things, happen that led to it? Finding clues to what causes you to “need a vacation” is helpful for keeping an eye on in the future so you can make adjustments before burnout happens.

Now that you have explored your past life-balance history, write a vision of your life in the future. What could your life look like on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis if it were balanced? What are you doing in that vision? How do you feel? Determine how you could make aspects of your balanced life into realistic goals to achieve.

Vacations are not solutions to an unbalanced life. Focusing in on possible causes of imbalance, steps to regain balance, and how you desire to see your life in the future will bring more equilibrium and joy to your life. Vacations will be even more enjoyable when you don’t dread returning to the “real world”!


Emotional Awareness

Desert

Let’s say elevating your level of positivity and happiness is a daily intention for you. You utilize mantras, affirmations, and/or other tools on a continuous basis. You are letting go of unsupportive thoughts and adopting supportive ones. But there are many moments, or even days, that you are far from a state of bliss. What gives?

Well, we’re not robots, so it’s perfectly normal to experience unexpected emotions even after a lifetime of positive focus. No one is a happy, smiley person 24/7. Nor should that necessarily be the goal, nor a marker for successful personal growth. A more helpful goal is to achieve emotional awareness, or being conscious of how we are feeling and why.

Here are some points to keep in mind regarding our emotional experiences:

Emotions are not destinations. They are road signs. Your emotions are a result of your thoughts. So if you recognize you are in an uncomfortable emotional state, take a look at what you are thinking. For example, if you’re feeling despair the thoughts creating that are likely defeat, hopelessness, and powerlessness. Once you’re alert to your thoughts, you can start shifting them to ones you consider more positive and higher energy. “Happy people” are not always happy and “unhappy people” are not always unhappy…they just engage in more of that particular kind of self-talk and, therefore, resonate the corresponding emotion.

All emotions are the same. Yes, you read that right. Emotions are neither “good” nor “bad.” They are just different from each other, and some we prefer over others. However, being able to identify what kind of emotion we are experiencing gives us the opportunity to shift our thinking in another direction. We can create more of the feelings we like (referred to as “positive” feelings) by changing or shifting the language we use in self-talk from words that create emotions we feel badly about to words that create feelings we feel positively about.

All emotions are useful. Emotions like despair, fear, anger, and frustration may be uncomfortable and undesirable, but they are signals that something isn’t sitting well with us. Uncomfortable emotions can nudge us into awareness and can help us define what we want in life. As we work to move on to preferable emotions, we may see beneficial results we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience in the absence of that initial unwelcome feeling.

Recognize and accept all of your emotions for what they are. Emotions are part of the human experience. Take comfort in knowing it’s ok to feel unwelcome emotions, and feel confident that you have the power to change your thoughts, and therefore your emotions and your experience, at any time.

 


How to Talk Yourself Out of a “Bad Mood”

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We’ve all experienced a “bad day.” Even people who always seem to be in a good mood have days where they have low energy and aren’t seeing the world in their usual positive light. There are a million reasons why we might have low spirits, but the common denominator is the kind of thoughts we are having prior to and during a period of negativity. What are your thoughts (aka self-talk) when you are in a “bad mood”? Perhaps this line of inner conversation sounds familiar:

Wow, what a crappy day. I feel terrible; I can’t seem to concentrate on anything. I’m never going to get anything done today. What a waste. Why can’t I snap out of this funk? There must be something wrong with me. Great, another thing I have to worry about. I don’t need this. Why can’t things go my way? Ouch, my neck really hurts. Why does this have to happen now? I should probably do some yoga or stretching. Ugh, I’m so tired. I should start eating better and working out more. Who am I kidding, it’ll never happen. It’s just too hard. I don’t have any discipline. Whoa, where has the time gone? I never have enough time! I just want to crawl back into bed. I wish this day would end.

Yikes! This self-talk would put anybody in a bad mood!

Often, the shift from a not-so-good mood to a good one is triggered by something great happening to us. And suddenly, we’re in high spirits! How did that happen? We interpreted the stimulus we experienced as positive and began having a different conversation in our heads. Our thoughts changed from being down on ourselves to telling us how awesome we are and that things are going our way. We feel more confident and happy, body pain fades or goes away completely, and we have so much more energy. We literally talked ourselves into a good mood!

As I tell my clients, sometimes the shift from negative thinking to positive thinking is as simple as changing the words you use:

Eliminate these words: Replace with these words:
should it would be better
have to I choose to
ought to I could
must what I prefer is
can’t I can
don’t I will
weak empowered
supposed to  

It works best if you write the positive words on post-it notes and place them everywhere…on the dash of the car, bathroom mirror, refrigerator, and so forth. Seeing the positive words will remind you to be aware of your self-talk, and adjust it if it’s not supporting you.

We have the power to change our state of mind in an instant by using positive self-talk to flip our perspective. How empowering to know we don’t have to wait for our external world to show us something positive…we can talk ourselves into a positive outlook!

For added support, here are some other posts that relate to positive thinking and lifting your spirits:

How to Shift Your Unconscious Beliefs and Create the Life You Want

Support Yourself Through Transitions by Changing Your Thoughts

Shifting Your Perspective to Relieve Stress, Anxiety, and Anger

Living in Abundance


How to Stop Procrastinating

cat hidingWe’ve all been there: You have a task that has to get done—cleaning the house, exercising, clearing out the garage— but you always find something more important to do, or you just can’t make yourself do it. If this happens to you often, you might wish you were more disciplined, and even mentally beat yourself up about it.

Procrastination is easier to tackle then you might think. The following tips will share how you can cross those important items off your to-do list and become a more organized, disciplined person:

Reframe your attitude about tasks and “being disciplined” in general. Your thoughts shape your beliefs, which create your reality. So it can be beneficial to examine your thoughts around the activities you are avoiding. Ask yourself: Why am I avoiding this? Why do I think it will be hard or unpleasant? What is my perception of discipline? Often, the story or drama we create in our heads is an inaccurate representation of reality or possible reality.

Do you think of yourself as an “undisciplined” person? How so? Could you let go of that belief about yourself? If you have beliefs that you can’t finish anything you start, you’re lazy, or have no focus or attention span to do anything…these thoughts are sabotaging you, and may be contributing to a negative experience by fulfilling any expectations of failure that you may have.

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

– Henry Ford

 

Get your thoughts into a headspace of success. Change your thoughts of “I can’t” or “I’m not” to “I can” and “I am.” Visualize yourself beginning the task with ease, successfully completing it, and feeling the result of accomplishment. Will you feel proud, happy, or grateful? Take the time to feel and enjoy that moment now. Your body doesn’t know the difference between what’s real or imagined, which is why you can get upset again when you recount a story to a friend about how someone did you wrong as strongly as you had during the actual event! So why not use the power of thought and emotion to support you instead?

Just start! The hardest part is starting a task or chore that you have been avoiding. Try this: tell yourself you are going to do the activity for 10-20 minutes and set an alarm for that time. Having an end point will allow you to see the light at the end of the tunnel. If you stop when the alarm goes off, that’s more than you would have done if you had kept putting it off. If you keep going with your activity after the alarm sounds—either because you’re in the groove or it’s not as challenging as you imagined it would be—excellent!

If you can get into the habit of reframing your thoughts to support you in accomplishing tasks, embodying how great you will feel afterwards, and then taking that first step, you will soon be a more organized person. You can avoid feelings of guilt, worry, and disappointment for not completing tasks, and the time you previously spent procrastinating will be spent accomplishing your goals.