Saturday, September 26, 2020

Talking To Your Brain


In order to have emotional fitness, one must learn to talk to your brain. Our brains go into overdrive when it senses drama and believes that the most important job that it can do is to protect you from danger. That fact is based on research. It is not to make you happy or happier. 

I have learned that we must train our brain. We must tell our brain what is good for us. It requires a kind, but tough talk to let our brain know that yes, we accept that the whole world seems to be in a funk. That does not mean that we all must slink around with our heads down and not be happy. Our brain needs to hear what some of the good things are that make us happy.

All of us have "those" days, even before the pandemic. Now, some of us, actually most of us, have "those" days more often. Usually, I am able to acknowledge how I am feeling, accept it without judging myself too harshly, think about what exactly and specifically is good in my world and move on. Usually!!

Yesterday was NOT one of those days. Stuff just kept piling up inside my brain and I was feeling lower than low. This actually lasted from the moment that I woke until later in the afternoon before I could shake it off. How did I shake it off? It took a long hard talk with my brain and actually telling it to step back and stop being so narrow-minded. Acceptance is a feeling that we can have some kind of control. That is to say that we need to focus on what we can control in each situation, not what we can't. Our brain makes it challenging to do this. The first thing that must be done is to kick out the drama. Stop being the drama queen which is exactly what I was doing to myself. I got stuck in the negative thoughts and this was not good for my emotional well-being.

I needed to learn from this. Embracing my feelings and challenges is a much better way then just surviving by keeping my head above water. Thinking of the word 'resilience' came to my mind. In a webinar with Nataly Kogan leading it, she said the definition of this word is to bounce back. Truly, that is not a bad thing. However, think about how much better it would be if instead of bouncing back, we bounce forward. Move on with a plan in place instead of just getting through it.

There are skills to put into place in order to bounce forward. Accept where you are, stop judging how you are feeling about where you are and do something about it. First off, gratitude is the one thing that can help us see something good instead of focusing on negativity. Open up your brain to a little tough love and to remind yourself that there are good things all around us. 

Our gratitudes must be specific to work well. Yes, we all are grateful for our family, our pets, beautiful weather...focus in and see the big picture and narrow it down to something smaller. I can give some examples:
  • I am grateful for my husband bringing me a cup of coffee when I am doing my hair and make-up in the morning.

  • I am grateful for the look of love from my furbabies eyes when they cuddle in to me.

I am grateful for granddaughters asking to call and talk to me and one old enough to send me text messages.

Without getting too political, there are things that I can't control such as how others feel and believe about the upcoming election and the division that seems to be happening in our country. It is a matter of agreeing to disagree.

Self-care means taking care of my emotional well-being. Some things that I can do is to be kind to myself and to others. Take little things such as grocery shopping, albeit on line, and ask how is this helping others? Well, it means we get to eat healthy since we are not ready to go out to eat, even under guidelines of mask wearing waiters and cooks and 6 foot distancing. I am so grateful that Steve and I are in this together. One thing that I am sure of is that we have become even closer by working together as a team. We support each other. 

When I make out my To Do List, I look it over and ask how does this help someone else? It gives me the bigger why I do it. It connects me to others through kindness. Picking up some birthday candles and cupcakes for one granddaughter's 4th birthday. She will be so delighted to be able to blow them out when we celebrate. The little things all add up to the big. These are things that I can control and make happen.

Giving myself a 10 - 30 minute self reset is very important. Read, write, draw, paint or organize a drawer or shelf. I try for one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This is kindness for myself. For others, just reaching out with a phone call, a text, a card in the mail? Sometimes it is these little acts of kindness that can help make someone's day extra special.

Kindness can not only help our own psyche. It does wonders for others all around us. As I was writing this blog, my husband asked me, "Would you fancy a cuppa tea?" Then, on his way out he told one of our furbabies, "Excuse me, sweet pea, I need to get through." OK! That is what I am talking about. 

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