I thought I’d share with you something I consciously decided this week. I decided it was time I stopped choosing overwhelm.
You see, I realised that for the last two or three weeks I was choosing to indulge in overwhelm and that was not serving me, not one little bit.
What do I mean by choosing overwhelm? Well, it’s a choice. We think that emotions, such as overwhelm, just happen to us because of what’s going on in our life. But really, what’s happening, is we are have thoughts about what’s going on, and it’s those thoughts that cause us to feel overwhelm.
And, over the last few weeks I had a lot of thoughts that were causing overwhelm. Thoughts such as ‘I’m too busy’, ‘I’ve taken on too much’, I can’t fit everything in’, ‘I’m tired’, ‘I need a break’, etc. etc.
These thoughts, resulted in me feeling completely overwhelmed and you know what happened with that. Not a lot – literally!!.
I stared at my laptop and started lots of things but couldn’t concentrate to finish them.
I snapped at my family because I felt stressed.
I focused on problems rather than solutions which meant not a lot got resolved.
I ate far too much chocolate and, if I’m completely honest, drank too much wine.
So, this week, I decided to change my thinking. Because, when I looked at it, the only thing that had changed over the last couple of weeks was my thinking. I had a lot on prior to this, we all do, but I was focused, and my thoughts were concentrated on what I needed to do to meet my plan rather than on having too much to do. And as a result, I was effective and achieved what I set out to achieve.
You see, the emotions you experience are directly related to your thoughts and your thoughts alone. They are not caused by an event, or circumstances, or anything external to you such as something someone says. Events, circumstances, or things external to you will trigger a thought and it is that thought that causes the emotion, not the actual event.
Imagine this scenario:
You walk into work and your colleague walks straight past you without acknowledging you.
You could think to yourself ‘How rude, that’s it, I’m never helping them again’
Or you could think “I’m so boring and invisible, they didn’t even notice me. No one likes me, no wonder I don’t bother talking to anyone’
Or you could think ‘I wonder what’s wrong with them, I should check in on them later to see if they are OK’
The exact same event or circumstance yet three different thoughts.
Stop for a moment and have a think about the emotions each of those thoughts would cause. Each would cause a completely different emotion.
It’s clear to see from this that it is the thought that causes the emotion, not the event, person or circumstance.
Now, let’s take that one step further. Have a think about the emotion each thought would cause and let’s see what action might happen as a result of that emotion.
Thoughts such as ‘How rude, that’s it, I’m never helping them again’, will probably cause an emotion such as anger which may result in you not talking to the person or snapping at them.
The thought of “I’m so boring and invisible, they didn’t even notice me. No one likes me, no wonder I don’t bother talking to anyone’ could result in an emotion of sadness or inadequacy and result in an action of keeping to yourself and not engaging with people.
Thinking ‘I wonder what’s wrong with them, I should check in on them later to see if they are OK’ would result in a completely different action to the thoughts above.
The formula is CIRCUMSTANCES trigger THOUGHTS which cause EMOTIONS which cause ACTIONS (or in-actions).
Now let’s go even one step further.
If you’ve read my articles, you’ll know that I regularly write on how it’s your actions that cause your results.
Given your actions cause your results,
Emotions cause your actions (or in-actions),
Thoughts cause your emotions…
…then, it’s actually your thoughts that have a direct impact on whether you are getting the results you want or not. What??
In my case above, my thoughts were causing me to feel overwhelm, which resulted in me being ineffective which meant I didn’t achieve the results I wanted over those few of weeks.
So, if you are not meeting your goals, or not getting the results you want, or there are things in your life that are not the way you want them to be, it’s due to your thinking.
It might be time to change your thinking!!.
But, given it’s been estimated that you have around 60,000 to 65,000 thoughts a day, it can sometimes be a little tricky to uncover those unhelpful, negative, limiting thoughts and replace them with helpful supportive ones. Take the time to notice your thoughts, write them down. If you’re feeling an emotion you don’t like, work out what the thought was prior to that emotion. And, if you’re finding it tricky to uncover the thoughts that have been holding you back, that’s where a coach can help.