- On July 19, 2016
“The unexamined life is not worth living…”
I’ve signed up for a new business service. This person is supposed to be a back-end partner and help me be more organized and consistent. I know I could use the help.
The hopeful elation of signing up for the service immediately gives way to a flurry of anxiety and fears.
I have to get everything perfect before we start this.(Does anyone else feel compelled to clean their house before the cleaning service comes??)
What if they find out I don’t know anything?
What if I sound like an idiot?
What if the results are not what I want?
Every thought releases a chemical.
Happy thoughts release positive energy chemicals like Oxytocin which reduces our stress and generates feelings of security and closeness.
Sad, mad, anxious thoughts generate chemicals that stimulate stress responses. These chemicals, like Cortisol and Epinephrine, suppress the immune system and increase our blood pressure. When these sad, mad, anxious thoughts don’t go away these chemicals stay around and can cause long term damage.
Unfortunately, we have far more propensity for dwelling on negative thoughts—stimulating production of those stress chemicals– than staying with the positive.
So we mentally, emotionally, and physically move from seeing “a world full of possibilities” to a world of “challenges to overcome” and we go into hunkering-down ‘protective’ mode. Notice how all my anxious thoughts are about me?
Without examining my thinking, I would probably talk myself out of trying this opportunity and remain overwhelmed and frustrated with the things that caused me to seek a solution in the first place.
It’s time for the old switcheroo! I’m going to give my thoughts the 180.
This technique is from Bryon Katie and explained in detail in her ground-breaking book, The Work. I’ve used it over and over to examine a negative thought space and help me come to a more realistic and open state of mind.
It goes like this:
1) Is it (what you are thinking) true?
Yes I have to do all this work before we meet to be sure I come off looking like I know what I am doing to this new business partner.
2) Can I absolutely know it is true?
Well, not really. I haven’t even worked with this person yet so I don’t know what I will need to do.
3) How do I react when I believe that thought?
I get anxious. I look at my overloaded schedule and think, “how will I fit more work in?” I feel burdened with having to decide all this stuff. I’m afraid I won’t get it perfect.
4) How would I feel if I didn’t have that thought?
If I didn’t have the thought that I have to do all this prep work, I would be more open and relaxed and maybe learn something from this person that will really help me.
Then flip it around 180 degrees.
5) What is the opposite of this thought in #1?
I don’t have to do any more work. I already have the knowledge I need to share with this person.
6) Which thinking is more true?
It’s more likely that I already have what I need to start out on a productive relationship with this new business partner. And if not, then we’ll figure it out together as we go along.
Hummm…that sounds a lot more positive, confident, and open, don’t you think? Yeah, and I feel a lot better too.
What thinking in your life can use a big switcheroo?
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