Some mornings are just like that.
You wake up with an underlying angst, a low-level dread that casts a shadow on the day before it even begins.
What do you do?
If you’re like most people, you brush your teeth, move through your morning ritual (coffee, please), and get on with your day.
In other words, you suck it up, stuff it down, and do your best to get things done.
While this is a hard won and seemingly productive coping strategy, it’s probably not such a good idea.
That undercurrent of malaise is a cue that you’re afraid of something and your body is responding by keeping its systems on alert.
This is a highly efficient physiological process when there’s something real to fear. And I’m talking about actual danger, the “I think I smell smoke” kind of real.
What we’re talking about here is more nuanced, it doesn’t feel like fear, it just feels like yuck – and so it’s seems easier to simply keep on keeping on.
Unfortunately, while your body is designed to move in and out of alert mode to keep you alive in an emergency, it’s not designed to stay there.
And so, what appears to be a productive coping strategy, is actually raising your blood pressure, effecting your sleep, impacting your relationships and here’s the real kicker – making you less productive.
The GOOD news?
You don’t have to feel that way. You don’t have to suck it up. You can shift yourself out of the angst.
Untie the knots.
Use the acronym F.E.A.R to remind you of what’s really behind your angst and to help you remember the steps to pivot out.
Give it a try. Your body, your relationships, and your career will thank you for it.
Find the emotions. Take a moment to name the emotions you’re feeling. Anger, guilt, shame, sadness, self-pity, dread?
Explore the thoughts behind those emotions. Try to separate out the facts from the stories.
Hint: The facts are the parts that every person would view in the same way and the stories are the things you tell yourself about the facts.
For example –
Thought: “He slammed his hands on the table to intimidate me.”
“He slammed his hands on the table” is a fact, while “to intimidate me” is your story about that fact.
Accept the facts for what they are and Acknowledge what other stories might exist when approached from a different perspective.
For example –
Fact: “He slammed his hands on the table…”
Possible stories: “…because he was frustrated.” or “…to emphasize a point.” or “…because he was having an awful morning.” or “…because he didn’t know what else to do.” or “…because he bit his tongue while he was eating that donut.”
Release or Reframe your story. Your story doesn’t change the facts, it only changes how you feel about them. And how you feel about them impacts everything you do (or don’t do).
Moreover, holding on to a story that doesn’t serve you keeps your body in that state of constant alert which:
saps your energy,
wreaks havoc on your body,
blinds you to opportunity,
makes you reactive in your relationships,
squelches creative thinking,
and makes you feel lousy!
So, let it go or choose a new story that truly serves you – one that inspires and empowers you.
Having trouble with one of the steps? Reach out and I’ll walk you through it. ;)