While there are definitely times when there are terrible things that occur in the world, and it’s super stressful, I’m not referring to those times in this blog.
I’m referring to the times when you get stuck in a thought pattern that causes you stress! In other words, you become your own worst problem!
Unfortunately, your body doesn’t distinguish any difference between an external stressor (world event) and thoughts that cause you to feel stressed. The SAME hormones get secreted!
So I met with my friend “Ann” recently. She grew up on an island off the coast of Greece and is a big believer in owning property, since she grew up in a tiny place that doesn’t have very much land, and land gets more valuable over time!
She’s been in the United States for 15 years, and they’ve been renting this entire time. We’ve been friends for about 3 years, and she’s wanted to buy a home for the entire time I’ve known her.
But… the timing just hasn’t been right. First her husband’s job was up in the air, then hers was, then both jobs were… then they were thinking of moving the kids to a different school. Then they considered moving back to Greece.
Bottom line? They haven’t bought yet. She’s watched the market increase, decrease and now increase again. And it kills her. She wants to be building equity, not renting!
Every time we see each other, she laments her rental state. And she’s admitted that it’s something she thinks about a lot. All the time, actually.
We got into it again the other day, and I just had to say something. I completely know, and can even empathize with the deep desire to be in any situation but the one you’re in, but repeatedly being upset about the PAST state (i.e. being a renter not an owner) is hugely stressful on her body!
EVERY time she has these thoughts and laments the past, she is starts up a stress hormone cascade in her body. This cascade impairs digestion, can cause insulin resistance, difficulty losing weight, and a whole host of other issues.
And it’s definitely not serving her, or making her feel better!
So I said:
“Ann, this is totally not serving you! The past is DONE. You didn’t buy a house 9 years ago. Your future is coming and you WILL buy a house (we had just discussed that they will buy something by the end of next summer). You have GOT to forgive yourself! What’s done is done, and you can’t change it!”
On some level, Ann knows this, but hearing it woke her up. For a moment she stopped focusing on her past rental state and acknowledged that she needed to stop thinking about it. But then, after about 3 minutes, she went right back into lamenting her past rental state!
So THEN I said:
”Ann, your problem is between your ears! Your thoughts are your biggest problem and wreaking havoc with your health. It’s TIME. TO. STOP.”
She definitely heard me on that one.
But changing thought patterns and habits can be a challenge, and take practice, practice, and more practice.
Here’s how you do it:
- COMMIT to having thoughts that empower you.
- TELL someone else your old behavior, and what new commitment will replace it (so they can help you stay on track).
- BANISH your old thoughts. Now look, you WILL find yourself thinking your old, dis-empowering thoughts! The trick is that when you find yourself thinking those thoughts, STOP. REDIRECT. RECOMMIT.
- START OVER. You will fail to discipline your thoughts. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person! Just start again.
- PRACTICE this until you have a new thought pattern.
This world is challenging enough without being your own worst enemy!
Struggling with this one? Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.