Nothing like a little uncertainty to launch us on a roller coaster of emotions. One moment we're feeling great and the next, we glimpse a headline, receive an email, or get a call that casts a barrage of self-doubt and throws us down in despair and we doubt everything we knew (and feel).
This roller coaster is real (and normal) when you are charting the unknown. It's particularly challenging if you are a person who is used to being in control and always having the answer. It can lead to some pretty intense lows. So what can you do?
Critical thoughts and self doubt are natural parts of personal growth. But not all thoughts are true or need the intensity of attention we give them. We can't stop thoughts from arising but we have some say in what to hold on to and what to let go. In that way, the roller coaster has fewer lows and a bit more of an even feel.
Here are some strategies to consider
When you can put your thoughts into words by labeling them or writing them down by saying, "I feel..." or "I made a mistake", they stop racing by and you can you can take a moment to look at them.
2. ) What (if anything) is objectively true about this thought?
Take the emotion out of the thought - it's not a "good" or "bad" thought - it's just a thought. Sometimes thoughts are based in reality. Maybe you did make a mistake or perhaps there is a danger to be alerted to. But often times, the emotion behind the thought inflates its impression in the mind. It can be helpful to break down reality.
3.) What is this thought trying to tell me?
Thoughts float in and out of our minds and some stick more than others. Sometimes a thought is trying to trying to tell you something - maybe identifying a potential danger, helping you improve, spurring you to action. If you can understand its purpose, it can feel more comfortable to hold the thought, with a bit less space.
4.) How much value and energy do I want to give this thought right now?
As you sort through the thoughts, it can be helpful to decide what to prioritize - because they can not all be addressed at the same time. What do I want to honor and give attention to right now? What can wait for later? What are thoughts that can actually be solved with my attention and energy and what cannot?
It's important to know that unpacking thoughts and emotions can be tricky because they're often rooted in even deeper aspects of self. That is one of the many (many) valuable parts of talking with a counselor. They are an objective sounding board to help make sense of the thoughts that float around which to honor and which to release back into the wild.
Stay nourished friends!
DISCLAIMER: The writing here is for informational and educational purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for individual care. Your needs may vary. or individual support, please contact a provider.
Please note it's been a number of years since I have updated these posts. The content and philosophies may have changed as I've grown as a provider. Please reach out with questions or concerns.
Dietitian, personal trainer, mother, wife, runner, and endurance athlete supporting well-being, one bit and bite at a time