Week 5– or is it 6? – of shelter at home. The world’s on lockdown.
I’ve got it easy – I’m used to working at home, I’m not juggling a relationship and kids and homeschooling and, and and…
I consider myself lucky. Lonely, but lucky. My yoga teachers have gone on line, so I do get to see some of the faces and hear some of the voices that were a permanent fixture in my life before, I shop mostly in the same stores, and see some familiar faces there. My social life, forget it. Kaput.
I did have a small online Zoom full moon party this month, and connected with family electronically for Easter and just last week wished my granddaughter a happy 12th birthday both sides of her family in five states dropping in to sing. And of course I’m using Zoom to bring you training that is helpful in this troubling time
So yes, I consider myself lucky.
I’m also fortunate that my studies through the years – about minimizing negativity and increasing positivity are serving me very well now. I’ve had many brilliant teachers though the years and I continue that study – right now with Dr. Sandro Formica who conducted the Chief Happiness Officer certification program that I took last year. Right now I am studying resilience with him.
All that said – because as you know, since I’ve shared it before – I’m not a “genetically happy” person. And, I was raised by trial lawyers – my parents had their own practice – so I’m highly conditioned to always look at the worst that could happen.
I’m very good at that.
So during this weird, crazy almost unfathomable time, you can imagine where my mind wants to take me first. Yup – awfulizing, disasterizing, catastrophizing and dramatizing is what comes natural to me, so when I want to keep myself out of the immunity depleting trap I have to reign my thinking in.
Fortunately – I’m well trained to do that. I’m well trained in reminding myself that I can’t believe everything I think. But in the beginning of this crisis, I needed info so I allowed myself more media than usual. Now I’m on a slimmer media diet and it’s easier to keep my old ingrained habitual thinking patterns from emerging.
I’d like to share the strategies I use to overcome the fear and protect my future. They work for anyone.
Be the Witness – Are you thinking or having thoughts? We think 60 – 80,000 thoughts a day; 90% of those the same thoughts as yesterday and 80% of those are likely to be negative. Thinking is creative. Having repetitive negative thoughts is dangerous because these thought activate the centers in the brain responsible for depression and anxiety.
Witness your own thinking and see what thoughts have you. Positive thoughts are so much more productive.
Dispute Your Thinking – Once you start paying attention to your thoughts you can start channeling your inner lawyer and dispute those thoughts. Are they true? Are you sure they are true? Who do you become when they are true? Dive deep and find yourself a productive, deliberate and positive rebuttal to the thoughts that have you.
Adjust Your Explanatory Style – Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist is determined by how you explain the things that happen in your life. Winston Churchill said “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty.” He was right. When faced with a negative occurrence the pessimist sees it as a permanent and pervasive condition and take it very personally.
The optimist when faced with the same negative situation sees it as specific and temporary and doesn’t take it too personally. Since how you interpret situations has everything to do with how your body responds to it, now is a good time to make adjustments. The body can’t tell the difference between something real and something vividly imagined, so if you want to protect your immune function, adjustments may be necessary.
Reach for A Higher Thought – As you begin to pay attention to your own thinking and observe where it might not be serving you well in this time, add some deliberately positive statements to your mind movie. Thoughts like: Things always work out for me. I’m good at what I do. I enjoy my life. I am so grateful. Life is good. I am healthy and strong. I am creative.
Your body hears everything you say and responds accordingly. Just like you watch your intake of food and add more healthy ones now, so it’s important to watch what you are feeding your mind.
Thoughts cause feelings and feelings cause biochemical reactions in the body. Here’s the piece to remember and pull all this together: spend 6 minutes in negative emotions and they can shut your immune system down for up to 6 hours. Spend 6 minutes in positive emotions and they will build your immune function for up to 6 hours. It’s a choice. Over and over, it’s a choice.
Ask Better Questions – Every quest begins with a question. We can choose empowering questions or disempowering ones. Empowering questions sound like this: How can I make this work? What can make it better? How can I create more health? What else is possible here? How can I create more joy? How can I set the stage for success? Stay in alignment with my desires? Always come out on top?
Disempowering questions sound like: What’s wrong with me? How come I’m so stupid? How did I screw up? Why am I unhappy? Blah, blah, blah…. I’m sure you get my drift here.
Make Space for the Good Stuff – Get yourself a daily gratitude practice. Write down and experience things you are grateful for several times a day. I do that in the morning and in the evening. Keep a gratitude book or a blessings book handy and capture those random moments of gratitude too.
If you are having a challenge with a person or a problem create a “positive aspects” list where you force yourself to write down 7 things about that person or situation that you can like and be grateful for. This practice really stretches you! For a long time, while struggling in a relationship I had a positive aspects book where I would keep reminding myself of the not-always-apparent goodness of the relationship. It worked!
Learn to deeply savor the goodness in relationship, in food, in nature. The more we stay in the experience of positive emotion the healthier for our body. Tell others what you appreciate about them. Send an appreciation email to someone new every morning. Send a gratitude letter to someone you’ve never thanked for something. Spread the goodness!
Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Body – Move it, shake it, stretch it, shimmy it, get it out of the chair and off the couch. We need to physically discharge the stress from our body or it moves deeply into our cells. Have no doubt about it. We are experiencing collective trauma. When trauma gets stored in the body, it makes for trouble. Don’t bottle it up – bust a move, sing a song, dance dance dance.
If you’d like these words to come alive you can hear all this and more on this 45 minute webinar called “Don’t Believe Everything You Think”
An important message for this special time. Enjoy.
I’m sending you gratitude, love and lots of positive energy. Let me know how I can best serve you, your employees and your customers at this time. 561-279-0027
It’s a great time to upgrade your leadership skills and your emotional intelligence!
We are starting Positive Leadership Groups soon – please let me know of your interest.