Before you click away on that really cool ad that popped up for your new favorite shoes, hear me out. I know you might not be all about the woo woo stuff but this is more than that. The way we think really can be the way we are feeling. It can make good, excellent and bad, end of the world, kill me now, I’m so done with life feelings. It’s a cycle and when you are aware of the cycle you can break it and start creating more good and excellent days.
So you ask, what is this crazy cycle you are talking about?
Thoughts -> Feelings -> Behaviors -> Symptoms
Repeat or maybe your cycle starts with a symptom and then goes through the motion. Regardless of the order, it is so important to recognize these crazy, not true thoughts before they become your actual reality. You think it enough it will happen. An example, “Well the last time I went to Disneyland I ended up sick and with a tummy issue, so this time will be the same. Or I’m in so much pain I had to say no last minute so I’ll never get invited again. Or I’m not able to do all the things I desire because of the symptoms of my chronic pain condition. My shoulder is killing me, I don’t think I can do anything today. My friends don’t like me anymore because they don’t have time for me.
How did reading those thoughts make you feel?
I bet heavy, icky, and you started noticing your pain a little more.
Don’t mind me while I pause to think, “I just won the lotto, my pain is completely managed, I have a rocking business, I get the freedom to spend time with those I love, and I’m so in love with my life, my husband is jealous”. See when you start changing your thoughts, it calms you. I bet just reading that released some tension, didn’t it?
This happens over and over again every day when we have thoughts, good or bad. Both of them take energy. Why do you think it is easier to have bad thoughts than good ones? It’s most likely because you were conditioned to think that way. Regardless there it is a way to start farting rainbows and bringing in the good in your life that you deserve.
#1 Overgeneralization Ant:
Situation: My friend only spent 20 minutes with me at coffee today, she doesn’t like me and has given up on me.
Let’s dive into this a little bit. What does this mean? First, let’s look at the fact that you are hanging out with your friend. She showed up for coffee and spent that time with just you. Let’s look at the things you don’t know. First, maybe she was working and that was all the time she had on her lunch break? Maybe she had other commitments but you were important enough that she wanted to squeeze you in and get to spend some time with you. She made time for you, therefore you are important.
#2 All or Nothing ANTs
Situation: You get invited to a Beach Party.
Diving into your thoughts: This party is at the beach and you know there will be beach volleyball involved, as well as hanging by the fire, great food (some of it you can’t have), friends, laughs, and so much more. You mind immediately thinks, you can’t go because one you can’t play beach volleyball your body would have you and two what if they have nothing you can eat. You decide, if I can’t have everything, then I will have nothing and decline the invite.
The problem with this train of thought is you end up missing out on a lot of things. Leaving you with other negative thoughts and physical symptoms. If you are able to see this in a different manner you can have the middle ground. For this example, you can be a cheerleader, pack a snack, and enjoy all the laughs that come with a good beach party. I know this might not seem like a big deal but with chronic pain you end up with all or nothing thinking. This is part of why I’m so passionate about the Power of Two and pacing. Having those middle days are so important and lead to a much more productive and happy life. Can you think of a time when you thought in the All or Nothing pattern? Now think about how you can change those thoughts.
#3 Fortune telling
Situation: I know tomorrow is going to be a bad day
This one is my worst enemy and I have tons of personal experience killing this bad boy. My mind is always telling me that I’m going to have a bad day the next day or I’m going to end up with some sort of crazy flu if I go someplace with tons of people. The problem is, most of the time this is not true. I really need to look at how these thoughts came up and why my mind is going towards the negative future thoughts.
One time I remember going for a walk with a friend and we ended up lost and walking for an hour more than expected. My thoughts started racing as I realized this was way more movement than I had made my body do in a long time. My thoughts drifted towards fortune telling and bam I’m telling myself tomorrow is going to be a waste because I was going to be in so much pain from overworking right now. My thoughts of all thing things on my tomorrow to-do list went flashing by and I felt myself already beat myself up for not getting things done. At that moment I took a breath and called out “Woman”(that’s what I call my ANTs). Yes, Woman. It’s kind of an inside story for another time. But when I get mad at someone that I don’t feel comfortable cursing at I tend to say things like, “Listen here woman”, and yes I have said that to my Grammy in the past which is where this all started.
Step #1 in Killing these ANTs.- Name Them
Woman has a mind of her own. She seems to think she knows everything, a real know it all. You know the type, the one you roll your eyes at or maybe want to punch in the throat to see if that would make her stop talking. At that moment, I knew I needed to put her in her place before she made my tomorrow suck. This is the first step in taking back your thoughts, Naming them. Now I know thinking of thoughts as a different person might seem silly or not useful, but hear me out. Naming them takes away their power and gives you back your power. It’s easier to walk away from someone else’s thoughts than it is to walk away from your own.
Name your negative thoughts something that you know you can really be upset about.
Part of this I cannot fail to mention is making sure you are checking in and being a way of your thoughts and what they are really doing to your life. If you do not check in with your body and mind, these ANTs can easily take over your life and lead you to surviving, not thriving. And you deserve better than a life a surviving.
Step #2 in Killing these ANTs- Replacing them
Now that you have named those bad body, “Listen Here Woman”, you can start squishing and replacing with positive thoughts. Just in some of the examples above, there is a way to turn them around and think about the can’s not the cants. Maybe it’s taking a risk at a new activity you think your body is not ready for. Or maybe it’s finally saying yes to those invites and doing part of the activates you know your body can handle. For the beach party, you can laugh, cheer, hang by the fire and enjoy people. Isn’t that better than staying at home, thinking about all the fun others are having and wishing you could be there with them?
Now, this is just a piece of the big puzzle. Are you ready to stop surviving and start living WELL despite your chronic pain?
Are you ready to take the pressure off and look at things differently?
Start with a simple (but effective!) exercise. I’ll walk you through your situation and show you action steps you can take right away to turn things around in all areas of your life.
This is the same exercise I used when I took control of my own chronic pain and conditions and, for me, it was a huge step towards reclaiming my power and taking control of my life.
No matter how you’re feeling today, you deserve to enjoy life to the fullest! You have the power to choose how you’ll live the rest of your life.
Check out the FREE Power of Two. Two activities, Two Points, and Endless good days.