There are times when you feel anxious, it is tempting to get upset when you start thinking that you hate this feeling of anxiety, or you shouldn’t be having them, or wishing they would go away which might end up with a bad experience. That means, how you relate to your thoughts and feelings really does matter.
Researchers have reported that we have over 60,000+ thoughts per day, meaning they are with us constantly, yet many of us don’t stop to consider how we are relating to them.
The thoughts we attach to create our feelings is significant because everything we really want in life is attached to the emotional experience we think we will have.
Most of us are more than happy to feel our feelings and relate to them positively when they feel good, but the struggle becomes real when we don’t. We don’t want to sit with and allow boredom, guilt, shame, anxiety, or anger in us. We start to label these emotions as bad and often have thoughts like “I can handle this emotion” or “I don’t want to even have this thought” which contributes to a poor relationship with our thoughts and feelings.
I had this experience when I went on a flight, I started to have thoughts about being trapped, not feeling in control/have the ability to go to the bathroom when I want, or worry that something bad will happen in flight. Then, I realized that I can compound my anxiety by thinking “Oh no, not now, I can’t have this thought now”.
I found that I judged myself for having anxiety, believing that I was weaker, or that something was wrong with me. As I uncover how much this added negatively to my experience and slowly took steps to relate to my anxiety differently, it helped me pivot from judgement and animosity to the gentle observer who is curious and compassionate when I have an anxiety spell.
The remedy is to start to explore how you are currently relating to your thoughts and feelings with compassion and curiosity. I started to relate to my anxiety in a healthy way. Instead of hating it, wishing it wasn’t there, and running away from it, I try to understand it, allow it, and remind myself that I can handle ANY emotion that I will experience.
Now, when the worried thoughts come in, I observe, remind myself that I am not my thoughts, and let them pass through. Slowly but surely, I have been able to interact with my thoughts and feelings in a more accepting way.
This week, see if you can identify the thoughts and feelings you have about your thoughts and feelings. Notice if that leads to a positive, neutral, or negative experience. The last thing we want to do when we feel upset, is to add a negative thought by feeling bad about being upset. Instead, remind yourself that you can relate to your thoughts and feelings positively by removing the judgement and adding compassion and curiosity.
If you would like some support with this pattern to increase emotional tolerance, I invite you to schedule a connection call with me to see how coaching can help.
Have a great week everyone!
Mind Your Strength,
Melanie Shmois, MSSA, LISW-S, is a licensed social worker, holding a Master’s Degree (MSSA) from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Spanish. After spending 2 decades helping others achieve their mental and personal goals, Melanie worked with Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo, and became a certified Life and Weight Coach through the Life Coach School.