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A Mindset Hack for Processing Negative Thoughts

Uncategorized Sep 11, 2020

Here in Seattle, the wildfire smoke makes it feel like we are living in an apocalypse movie. Like Will Smith should be walking down my street. Instead there is not a soul out there. No one walking their dog, no kids riding bikes, no neighbors asking how it's going. It’s eery. Apparently, our current air quality is the worst in the world. Not a statistic you want to own. We haven’t been outside in 3 days.

It’s a global pandemic, the earth is burning and we can’t see the sun.

It's a lot... AND it’s also a great opportunity to practice what I preach. Today, I want to share with you a quick mindset exercise that will help you process your feelings and quell your nerves during times like this. 

 

A Stress-Reducing Mantra 

Next time you're feeling anxious, stressed, or worried, take a seat and follow me in this mindset exercise.

Put your hand on your heart and say the following: "Thank you brain for trying to keep me safe... I am safe." 

Often times when we feel negative emotions, we try to push them away. We judge them as if we should never have negative emotions.

But that's not the goal at all. How boring would life be without some pain? How much growth would really happen if you never experienced internal conflict and discomfort? The goal is to acknowledge your emotions and process them in a healthy way.  

 

A Negative Response to Negative Emotions

When we feel negative emotions, we often do 2 things.

  1. We judge them: "Who am I to feel_____? People are dying!"
  2. We deny our true feelings: "I'm great! How are you?" 
  3. We ignore them/distract ourselves by filling our days with mindless entertainment or chronic business. 

This is the opposite of what we should be doing. In fact, this is the absolutely BEST way to ensure that these feelings grow stronger. Negative feelings LOVE attention, and pushing them away is like trying to push a ball under the water. It pops right back up and hits you right in the face, stronger than ever.  

 

A Productive Response to Negative Emotions

How do we feel our negative emotions in a healthy way? In a way that allows us to ultimately be the boss of them rather than letting them be the boss of us?

We must FIRST accept negative emotions before we can move past them.

Our brains are working feverishly to keep us safe. The stress response is an important component to that. We NEED our brain to feel this.

When we are in a stressful situation, or simply living in a stressful world, and we feel stressed, that just means that our brain is doing its job.

When there is a global pandemic and smoke in the air you SHOULD be on high alert. The key is to not allow that level of stress to run your life. The key is to move past it. So in that regard, "Thank you brain for trying to keep me safe" is a true and real statement. 

After you’ve thanked your brain, you remind it by saying, “I am safe”. It needs to know that it can relax. The anxiety can soften a bit. You're telling your brain, "I'm not in danger. But THANK YOU for sticking up for me". 

It’s sort of like a loyal teammate that jumps in after you get fouled ready to fight on your behalf. And you're like "Whoa whoa whoa sis, we're good. Let's just win the dang game.’ And even though you don't need her at that moment, it IS nice to know who has your back.

Your brain has your back. It just needs to be told to simmer down sometimes.

 

How to Teach This to Athletes

I talked about this method yesterday in our private facebook group for coaches and even explained how you can use this method with your athletes after a tough practice, game, or simply just to help the team get through a COVID season.  You can watch the video below. 

 

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