A Strategy for Feeling Better & Surviving Pandemic Fatigue
This is Part 3 of my Introvert’s Survival Guide for Pandemic Fatigue blog series. Read Part 1 here.
There’s possibly never been a more important time to learn how to change our thoughts, manage our mind, and practice gratitude. In this blog, I’m giving you a strategy that you can begin using every time you want to change the way you feel.
If we’ve been connected for a while, you’ve likely heard me say that your thoughts create your feelings, which determine your actions and ultimately, your result—and that typically proves your initial thought to be true.
We’ve built superhighways in our brains by thinking the same thoughts over and over. The negative thought patterns typically begin with I can’t, I shouldn’t, I wish, I hate, if only… These superhighways can get you from zero to sixty fast, subconsciously taking you to the thoughts you’ve practiced most almost immediately after you’re triggered.
And while we can’t always change our circumstances—which is especially true right now—we do have the power to change our thoughts so we can begin training our minds and start to feel better.
When you begin to change your thoughts to ones that are more supportive, thoughts that begin with I can, I am, I love, I appreciate, you start building new superhighways in your brain.
Moving From Overwhelm to calm
To give you an example, I often struggle with overwhelm, especially when I have a lot on my plate at work with tight deadlines. The superhighway I’d built in my mind is, “I’ll never get it all done.”
This thought was creating my overwhelm and making me a lot less productive. Overwhelm tends to put us into victim mode, making it very hard to prioritize, focus, and accomplish.
But the truth is that despite the overwhelm, I always get everything done. It’s just a lot more stressful than it needs to be and takes longer because I have to manage my overwhelm on top of everything else I have to get done.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I decided I wanted to feel calm and clear. I spent some time figuring out the thought that could create the feeling, and I finally landing on what was actually true every single time: “I will get it all done. I always do.”
This thought has an immediate calming effect, allows me to move into prioritization mode, and start operating at my best instead of sinking into overwhelm.
In my last blog, I talked about how I’ve been journaling. Part of the work I’ve been doing has been identifying the thoughts that are making me feel hurt, sad, and a bit depressed, and identifying a new, more supportive thought that can create the feeling I want to feel instead.
Here’s the self-coaching strategy:
- Identify the thought that’s creating the feeling you want to change.
- How is this thought making you feel?
- What is it causing you to do?
- What is the result?
Now, decide how you want to feel. Choosing how you feel might seem strange, so take the time to sit with that a bit if you need to. Scientists have found that there are 27 different human emotions available to you, so try to push past what immediately comes to mind and go a little deeper.
Putting it Into Practice
It’s essential to write out your responses to the questions above, including your new supportive thought and how you want to feel. Writing tends to unlock a deeper level of our hearts and minds, and you’re also going to want to have your new supportive thought in writing so you can refer to it and practice it.
You’ve spent years creating your negative superhighways, so it will take some time and practice to build new, positive ones. Identify a strategy that will keep your new thought easily accessible, and help you remember to practice it the next time you’re triggered.
The first few times you go through this model, it can be a little challenging to identify your new thought or your new feeling. If you’d like to walk through this with me, just follow this link.
Read my new Survival Guide to discover all six of the strategies I’ve been using to fight pandemic fatigue and create more joy.