Thoughts and Emotions - You be the boss.
DEALING WITH NEGATIVE EMOTIONS
This week on the ‘gram I said I was going to write about living in your head. How overthinking, analysing, ruminating and planning causes us to work ourselves into a state and how we have a choice about what thoughts we give energy to.
But then I got distracted by a story of my anger over one of the top three worst burritos I’ve ever had.
Sorry bout it.
Don’t be too disappointed pals. This yarn is all about dealing with negative emotions and how instrumental our thoughts are for every reaction we have.
Plus some tips on how to pump the brakes on your table flipping.
But first, let me tell you a story about Taco Bell.
London now has Taco Bell and there’s one down the road from my house.
My bf likes Taco Bell. I have now discovered that I do not.
I wanted Asian.
But we went to Taco Bell which I was honestly ok with.
It was really busy in there and I (apparently) asked too many questions about what was in each menu item. I felt pressured and got a meal deal I didn’t want. With this meal deal I got chips but I wanted the rice.
I got a little pissy. I was tired and hangry.
Walking home, I calmed myself because I was aware that my thoughts were winding me up and I was literally creating frustration in my own head.
It’s all good. You’ve got food now and you love Mexican. I’ve been wanting to try Taco Bell for ages!
Well done Tahirih.
We got home and I tried a chip. Worse than at KFC when you can taste the number of hours they’ve been wilting in the vat.
If we had got Asian I wouldn’t be feeling like this.
Let it go girlfriend.
I bit into my burrito and got a mouthful of plain wrap. I bit again. Got some vegetarian chilli with a distinctive taste of bland.
Boyfriendo is happily consuming a nacho chip covered in gooey, plastic cheese that can only have come from America.
A little lump forms in my chest. My muscles tighten up. I go quiet and only pipe up to tell my flatmate that Taco Bell is shit.
Boyfriendo, I would now like to inform you that anything you say to me will piss me off.
We go over to his house and I wrap myself in a blanket and don’t let him sit next to me on the couch.
Please bow down to Queen Bitch Tahirih.
What is even more ridiculous than my wobbly over a Mexican food chain is that I know that my thoughts have triggered this emotional reaction and I know that a mindset shift will release it all.
I know how my body is physically reacting to my self-imposed burrito stress and I know I can choose to settle down.
But. I. Can’t.
LESSONS FROM TACO BELL
I think the first lesson is pretty clear.
Don’t get Taco Bell when you wanted Asian.
The second (and slightly less insightful) lesson is that it doesn’t matter what situation we are in or what is happening around us, it is our choice about how we react. And that choice starts in our minds.
Our thoughts are the trigger of every emotional reaction we have.
I know sometimes it feels like your emotions jump outta nowhere and you have no control over them. But the truth is, we cannot have an emotional reaction over something unless we first have a thought about it.
Let me say that again.
You will not feel anything unless you think it first.
Nobody makes you feel anything. The world does not make you feel anything.
“He made me angry!”.
Nope, you chose to be angry and you are reacting in anger based on your thoughts about the situation, your past experiences and maybe even how much sleep you got last night.
A baby is crying on a flight.
You’re in a middle seat because you refuse to pay Ryan Air one more penny for the “privilege” of seat select.
The lady on your left is grumbling about the crying baby and getting increasingly frustrated.
The lady on your right looks at the baby and frazzled mum with sympathy then continues to read her book.
Same situation. Different thoughts. Different reactions.
YOU HAVE THE POWER
5x clapping emojis.
You can choose to react however you want to and you can train your mind to see things differently.
Obviously it’s hard. I’ve been practising mindfulness and meditation for years but get me tired and hungry and I’ll be fighting the urge to throw Taco Bell at your face.
The first step is awareness.
Awareness of what thoughts you’re having that are causing you to react.
Awareness of what physical reaction your body is having.
Awareness of the exact emotion. Pinpoint it.
I know that awareness won’t fix it but the more aware you are, the more able you are to see patterns in your thoughts and physical reactions.
Are you frustrated? What does it physically feel like? Tight chest?
Good. Just focus on relaxing that and feel the emotional tension lift a little.
Next time you get a tight chest? Oh I might be frustrated. Why? What thoughts are making me frustrated? How do I ease that?
I promise, you will get better and better at understanding and helping yourself.
BUT HER ROYAL HIGHNESS IS ALREADY SITTING ON HER QUEEN BITCH THRONE.
The easiest way to chill on the negative emotions?
First, stop resisting them. The more you fight, the more they grow. Know that no emotion is permanent and feel reassurance that this will pass.
Then acknowledge that it’s your thoughts that have triggered this.
I will repeat.
You can’t feel any emotion unless you have first thought about it.
It’s REALLY hard to stop thinking about something that’s giving you grief. Again, don’t resist.
Resisting thinking about it won’t work.
Try instead to focus your attention on something else. Focus on how your breath feels. The sensation of it coming into your nostrils, your body expanding as your lungs fill and your muscles relaxing as you exhale.
Not only does this take up space in your mind so your thoughts aren’t running around like an unsupervised toddler with a knife, it also naturally calms your body.
Then you are better able to choose what thoughts you want and therefore choose how you want to feel.
Here’s a takeaway that’s 100x better than Taco Bell - The world is a happier place when you have emotional awareness and control. You treat others with more compassion and kindness. Those who you love don’t suffer your moods. And you can choose a life with less stress and more positivity.
So next time you feel wound up, acknowledge that this is all your choice and practice a little awareness.
You are not the victim, you are the cause.
What thoughts are causing this? How can I help myself?
Remember, you are not your thoughts. You are not your emotions. You have a choice.
PS. Just for my fab Mum, there are no F bombs in this blog. Double next week, I promise 😉