Definition of wallow:
1). Indulge in an unrestrained way.
2). An area of mud or shallow water where mammals go to wallow, typically developing into a depression in the ground over long use.
A client asked me this week, how do I determine whether I am wallowing in a negative emotion versus feeling it fully? This is such a great question, and I wanted to tackle it here. Wallowing is an example of sitting too long in what we call an indulgent emotion. An indulgent emotion is an emotion that is comfortable to you. It is something that you dive in to more than you would like to, but it doesn’t give you a result that you want. As I’ve mentioned many times before, we know that thinking creates your emotion and that emotion drives your action and that your action gives you a result. Consequently, if you spend a lot of time indulging in emotions that don’t serve you, you are going to have results in your life that don’t serve you.
A couple emotions that I see myself and my clients indulge in regularly are overwhelm and self-doubt. When we are interfacing with a long to-do list at work, or a new project, we often drop into one or both of these emotions. These emotions can feel protective on some level, but if we sit in them too long, we actually create more stress in our lives. When we are swimming in doubt, we often hold back, and don’t show the world what we are capable. We then give up on the project, or do it in such a nervous fashion that we fail ahead of time. The same goes with overwhelm. Instead of taking stabs at the assignment, we vent, procrastinate, and take little to no action thereby leaving the work undone and creating even more stress as the assignments keep piling on. When you drop into “I can’t do this,” then you don’t give yourself a fighting chance.
I believe when we drop into overwhelm, boredom, doubt, procrastination, there is some sort of short term payoff. Often this payoff is the relief we get from feeling a negative emotion. It is can be so much easier to scroll through your Facebook feed than read tackling the uncomfortable to-do list. Rummaging through the pantry for a treat is so much more appealing than sitting down and writing this blog. So, what can we do? The first thing I recommend is to recognize when you are indulging. Find the times in the day when you are off track, when you are confused, and are not producing. What do you keep putting off on your list? If you have indulgent feelings, ask yourself why? What negative feelings are you running away from? What are the thoughts that are creating those feelings? What discomfort are you running from? Then you can ask yourself if you are willing to be uncomfortable enough to get yourself the goal you want?
Another great concept and question to consider is, can you find a way to find comfort in discomfort. Often, my weight loss clients will ask “How can I make losing weight fun?” or when confronted with a long-run or intense workout, we often find amazing music or podcasts to make it more interesting and pleasurable. When writing this blog, I set it up to have a fresh cup of coffee and some music in the background that gets me pumped. My challenge to you is to evaluate your day and find where you are indulging. When you find the most prevalent time and indulgent emotion consider letting it go and creating another positive emotion that will help you get where you need to go. Bribe yourself with some good music, a fun magazine, herbal tea and then go kick some ass.
If you need some help, or ideas along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out. If you have a question you want to me to answer in an upcoming blog, send me an email entitled “Ask Melanie” and I will give it a go. Have a great day everyone. Don’t forget to train your mind as hard as you train your body to get what you want out of life.