ow often do you feel like you’re managing your life, instead of life managing you? How frequently do you choose your responses to a stressful situation, instead of defaulting to overwhelm, anger, a victim mentality, or deep feelings of guilt?
And how has the COVID-19 pandemic changed your responses to these questions?
The one constant in life used to be change. During the past few months, we’ve added another unwelcome constant: uncertainty. And while we all know that striving to straighten out life’s curveballs is futile, especially these days, we can learn strategies to hit them out of the park no matter what their speed or velocity.
Why We React Instead of Respond
Overwhelm, anxiety, self-doubt, inadequacy, and unworthiness are indulgent emotions, and we can get to these fast when triggered by a stressful situation.
According to Master Life Coach Brooke Castillo, “An indulgent emotion is an emotion that is comfortable to you. It’s something that you dive into more than you would like to, and doesn’t give you a result that you want.”
These emotions are the result of unconscious thoughts that are often not even fully formed. This is why tears come to our eyes before we know why, or we erupt in a burst of anger before we realize what actually set us off.
The danger here is that these strong reactions impact those around us, playing a role in the kind of relationships we have with others, and shaping how we view our lives.
Our thoughts create our feelings, which determine our actions and ultimately, our result. This means that the more time we spend indulging in emotions that don’t serve us, the more results we’ll have in our lives that we don’t want.
Right now, in the midst of so much uncertainty, it’s particularly challenging to manage our overwhelm, anxiety, and stress. None of us have the blueprint for how to navigate a pandemic well, especially since so much is out of our control.
But what we can control is how we show up in every situation, with our coworkers, our families, and our friends, virtually and in person.
Here are three strategies you can begin using today to be your best self in the most stressful situations.
The most effective solution is to practice looking within the second you feel any strong emotion coming to the surface. Breathe deeply, keep your mouth shut (to protect those around you!), and quiet your mind until you identify the trigger.
There is always one to find. Your reactions have nothing to do with the other person involved and everything to do with you, and the opposite is true as well. This can be incredibly freeing because it means that in most situations, you already have everything you need to feel better.
It also means that you only have to own your responses, not the reactions of others.
Do the Work
Now, the real work begins. Over the years, we’ve all built superhighways in our minds. These are learned responses that have been ingrained over time.
This explains why we create the same results in our lives, over and over again. Our brains are highly efficient, and when a thought creates a familiar emotion, like overwhelm, it already knows what to do.
Until we create awareness around this subconscious process, we respond the same way we do every time we are overwhelmed, leading to the same result—which is typically what we just can’t seem to change in our lives.
Read this blog to learn more about how to change your thoughts and choose how you want to feel in any situation.
So we need to build a new superhighway. This takes dedication, increasing awareness, practice, and a lot of grace because you will resort back to the old pattern, and that’s okay.
Eventually, it will become easier to choose the response you’re intentionally working toward.
Make the Ultimate Investment
It is possible to achieve the results you want on your own, but it’s more challenging and will take longer.
Working with a coach can help you build new superhighways more quickly, providing invaluable insight into things you can’t see yourself and the accountability you need to create sustainable change.
Schedule a complimentary call to learn more about how you can choose how you show up in the most stressful situations, and shift your focus to what you can control.