Tired of Feeling Bad? Read this.
Updated: Aug 30
Most mornings I wake up and immediately have a pit in my stomach or an uncomfortable feeling in my chest – like an elephant is sitting on it. Instead of noticing the bed covers or feeling the ground as I get out of bed I am in the world of my thoughts. And often those thoughts are negative.
But what if we knew that our painful thoughts weren’t ours but were as random and impersonal as if they were overheard spoken by the people at the next table at a restaurant.
Then we could blow them off like we blow off the random opinions of our crazy distant relatives.
Or if they’re sad, we could soothe them like we would if they were spoken by a dear friend having a hard time.
We would know that just like what comes out of the mouth of a tired, tantruming toddler we don’t need to do anything about the thoughts but instead lovingly put them down for a nap.
That’s how impersonal thoughts are – they just pop into our head. We really have no control over them. The painful ones come from our conditioning or our trauma.
What about positive thoughts?
The ones we get when we are taking a walk which feel like a gift of inspiration? Or when we feel so much love for our family, friends, pets? Or that make us laugh until our stomach hurts.
Who knows where the awesome ones come from? Our own hard-won wisdom gained over the years? Grace?
Those just pop into our heads too but because they feel so good – like relief, warmth, excitement – then we can believe those thoughts. We can trust those because our bodies are telling us that those are true for us.
If our bodies feel bad it’s not true – discard, ignore, soothe but don’t worry that it is true.
If our bodies feel good then believe that thought. Go with it. Embrace it.
So now when I feel awful sensations in my body I’m learning to remember that it’s just my body alerting me that I am believing thoughts that aren’t true for me.
Then I picture a group of people at a nearby table saying whatever thoughts that I was just thinking and it’s pretty hilarious.
I can see the absurdity of the thoughts.
Then I try instead to notice what is happening. What do the bed sheets feel like, the ground under my feet? What is happening around me? For real.
Notice what your kids look like – their eyes, their expressions. Your partner’s face. Feel your pet’s fur. The air on your skin.
Honestly, I still have the stomach pit and chest constriction more often than I like. But I’m trying to use those feelings as a springboard towards presence. I want to let them be a reminder to notice what IS rather then let it be the opening to a rabbit hole of thoughts and worries.
It’s a process, right?
1) Notice painful emotional body sensations
2) Notice your thoughts
3) Imagine those thoughts are not yours but were overheard from a group of people or belong to a crazy relative, a friend, a tired kid
4) Laugh at the absurdity and ignore or sooth the friend or baby
5) Notice what is REAL right NOW with your 5 senses – what do you see? Feel? Hear? Taste? Smell?
Try it! I dare you