Ready to take the reins of your internal dialogue and steer yourself towards joy, resilience, and a stronger sense of control? In this episode, we navigate the winding road of self-talk and discover the profound impact your own thoughts can have on your feelings, actions, and even physical health. You’re going to learn how to switch from being a passive receiver to an active director of your thoughts, creating a mindset that fosters positivity and resilience.
We’ll dig into the concept of resilience and how it can serve as your secret weapon in this internal world. You’ll get to understand how our brains, wired to seek out threats, can sometimes be our worst enemies. But don’t worry, we’ll also explore the endless possibilities of neuroplasticity, and how you can train your brain to become more adaptive, flexible, and solution-oriented.
In the final part of our journey, we discuss the significance of making our thoughts work for us by choosing love and empowerment as our foundation in choosing which thoughts to create and focus on.
I invite you to listen to this episode and embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation. Let’s strive to become our own biggest advocates, cultivating positivity and resilience through mastering self-talk.
What you will learn on this episode:
-The concept of resilience and how it can be your secret weapon in the internal world.
-How our brains, wired to seek out threats, can sometimes be our worst enemies and
-How you can train your brain to become more adaptive, flexible, and solution-oriented.
-How intentional thinking helps you feel better
-The significance of love based thoughts vs fear based thoughts
-Techniques to restructure your thoughts to create a more positive outlook.
-How to apply intentional thinking to everyday life
I absolutely love to hear your thoughts and get your questions.
You can email me at: Leighagermann@gmail.com
I can’t wait to hear from you!
This podcast is not intended to provide mental health treatment. Leigh Germann is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and not a doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist. She does not provide diagnosis nor offer therapy through the LeighGermann.com website or in the information offered on the website. It is important that you do not disregard professional medical or mental health advice or delay seeking professional medical or mental health treatment because of any information on the LeighGermann.com website including but not limited to blogs, newsletter, videos, podcasts, e-books, programs, webinars, courses and other services. Leigh Germann and offerings on LeighGermann.com are not providing legal or financial advice, business advice, psychotherapy, supervision, religious advice, or medical advice. The information contained on this Website has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
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Our thinking is a process that most of us aren’t even aware of, but being purposeful and intentional in our thinking can help us set the direction of our thoughts so they serve us and help us. This is Leadership Parenting, episode Number 15, resilient Thinking. Did you know that resilience is the key to confidence and joy? As moms, it’s what we want for our kids, but it’s also what we need for ourselves. My name is Leigh Germann, I’m a therapist and I’m a mom. Join me as we explore the skills you need to know to be confident and joyful. Then get ready to teach these skills to your kids. This is Leadership Parenting, where you learn how to lead your family by showing them the way. Hi and welcome to Leadership Parenting.
We are on Episode 15, and I am just loving this time with you. I think about it all the time. What is it that we need to talk about next? What could be helpful? And, as we spend a lot of time on how we work, like, i’m laying down the foundational principles of mind and body, so you have the backstory, the reference guide from an emotional wellness perspective, and remember, we are training. I like to say that we’re training for joy And technically, I guess we’re training for resilience but being resilient actually helps us get to that joy And we’re learning how we can handle the hard stuff and really enhance and strengthen the good stuff, and I hope you’re feeling it. The way the knowledge is layering in our data banks. I hope you’re starting to have a little thought. When you’re having a hard day or a hard time, i hope you’re having that little thought that says wow, there’s my nervous system. It’s just going off right now. And I hope you’re looking at your children, whatever age they are, and you’re saying things like wow, look at my beautiful, whole, valuable and wise child melting down right in front of me. That’s their nervous system flipping right out of their window of tolerance. Or maybe you’re looking at your partner that grown up adult you live with, who also has a nervous system, and maybe you’re able to think what can I do? Connection, they need some connection. And, whoa, me too. I can feel myself getting activated. I’m co-regulating with their freaking out And my nervous system is sliding down the ladder too. Hold up, can I connect right now? What can I do? Oh, yes, the safe model I can slow things down, take a deep breath, slow, deep breath. What do I need. I’m doing that emotional audit. What am I thinking? We’ve talked about this. We’re starting to lay it down And you have little drops of these ideas swimming in your awareness now, and maybe it’s not always right at the forefront, that’s OK, but it’s there And you’ve got more available to you, hopefully, than you did before. And you’re in your thinking now And I want you to be listening to some of that chatter. When we’re doing that emotional audit And we ask what do I need? What is it? I’m thinking That talk that’s happening, that’s coming up, that’s happening that’s connected, that’s causing the feelings.
I know sometimes when we get into our thinking and that’s what we’re going to talk about today is this thinking I’m like. When I get into my thinking, i’m like, wow, what’s going on here? And like maybe I don’t even want to be in my thinking Right, like it’s a lot. It’s stuff that maybe we’re not aware of And it could feel a little overwhelming sometimes, but it’s good, it really is good that you’re there, that you can start to see it, because this is where your reality is manufactured, not in what’s going on around you. That’s just a tiny part of it. It’s really in that internal world where all the shots are being called, all the feelings are starting to get manufactured, because that’s where the thinking is And you’re starting to see it. That’s where we’re focusing today, on that self-talk. So self-talk describes that ongoing conversation, that all of this is a self-talk experience And it consists of our thoughts, our beliefs and our mindsets, and these are the things that actually contribute to how we feel and ultimately then in how we choose to act. And we’ve kind of entered the inner sanctum here. This is the control center And it’s super powerful.
Your self-talk has the power to make you sad, angry, excited, afraid and happy and joyful. In the last decade, research has actually shown that it has the power to make you perform better in athletic pursuits or in your music performance, in your business pursuits and even in your day-to-day problem solving. Your self-talk can rev your body up to like that frantic panic or get you into an angry rage. It can also calm you down and invite you to collaborate and connect with others. So this dialogue in your head has the power to really control the feelings in your life And it also has the power to affect our bodies. We know that our thinking contributes to illness and, thankfully, conversely, can also improve our immune systems.
Most of us don’t even recognize half of what we’re thinking and how those thoughts and beliefs influence our lives. Sadness or anxiety can creep up on us, and sometimes we don’t even know why, and the self-criticism that we experience, that’s in our self-talk. So if we can learn how to work with this self-talk, then we’re going to learn how to have an increased amount of control in our life in ways, really, that I don’t think we’ve even started to tap into. We can actually start to use our self-talk to create more of the outcomes we want by focusing on that thinking. This increased control is called resilient thinking, and resilient thinking is understanding that our thoughts affect our reality, and this is important because we can’t always choose what happens to us right. We can, however, choose how to respond to what happens to us, and that happens in how we think about it, and we’ve reviewed this a little bit already in our episode on internal and external worlds and partially in our episode on flexibility with the safe process. But we’re going to spend a lot more time on this topic today and in the future, in all sorts of ways to look at it, because the power here is really significant.
Resilient thinking helps us dial into the command center of our thinking, where our expectations are, where our perceptions, where we interpret things, and we can learn to have powerful and protective thoughts in the face of any challenge. And let me just say that again, because there’s the essence of our goal in working with our self-talk is to be able to learn how to grab a hold of and even create more powerful and protective thoughts. And this is how resilient thinking is different from just being positive, right? Resilient thinking focuses on thoughts that are more realistic rather than maybe even ideal or that pie in the sky perfection thought. With resilient thinking, our feelings can become more reasonable because our thinking is more reasonable. The sadness stays at sadness instead of escalating to despair. Irritation or disappointment can stay at that level where it’s more reasonable, rather than escalating to rage and fury and having to completely give up.
So I want you to notice that we’re not looking for perfection here. We’re looking at working with our thoughts so that they actually are more reasonable and more applicable and more useful to us. And this is a much better goal than just having perfect thoughts or happy thoughts all the time. And if you’ve ever talked with someone who says I’ve tried this. I’ve tried just waking up and doing my affirmations and having happy thoughts, and it doesn’t work. This is why it doesn’t work. It’s because that’s not the goal we’re looking for in resilient thinking. Your mind has a really good kind of BS detector right, like whether you have a believable thought that is actually possible or whether you’re just trying to have this kind of out of reach perfection as a thought that you’re focusing on.
In resilient thinking, we learn to sort through our feelings and actions in ways that we determine. All of this affects our behaviors as well, because we’re no longer a victim of these intense feelings. It gives us. That’s the measure of control we get, and not many of us are born resilient thinkers, because it’s not really a character trait. It’s a thinking style, actually a skill that we can learn, and this is really good news because it’s not something that you know we’re like lucky that we have it or we’re kind of out of luck and we don’t have it. This is something that all of us really want to learn and it is a skill that can be learned.
As a therapist, i’ve been utilizing a couple methods to teach clients resilient thinking. One is cognitive behavioral therapy, because it lays out the formula of how thoughts and feelings work. And the second is working on mindset understanding how a global way of looking at something can really set you up to be either resilient or feeling quite helpless and stuck in our thinking. And we’ll continue to dive deeper into both of these tools, but today I want to focus on understanding and getting more familiar with your self-talk in general, so you’ll be ready to apply those specific skill sets. So we begin with a great question What am I thinking? And I want you to even just apply that right now. What am I thinking right now?
Even as you’re listening to me, my guess is you may have an alternate track playing in your head where you’re running through. Maybe, if you’re listening and you’re driving, you’re running through the turns in your mind where you need to go. Did you pick up that thing in time before the place closes, or who’s? you know what’s next, who’s the next person you need to call? Like, if we could just kind of get a peek inside of our thinking. We’re going to see a lot of stuff and you’re human. You’re going to get a lot of stuff, a lot of data at any given moment.
Whenever you decide, you’re going to take a look at your thinking And some of it’s going to be awesome And some of it’s going to not be so great. This is, you know, a process that’s correlated. What you think is going to go together with what you’re feeling And of course, you’re going to have some thoughts that go with feelings of frustration or irritation or sadness. You know all those feelings we don’t like so much. And if we always felt great and had great thinking, then there’d never be a problem. And that’s not our reality, unfortunately.
So we prepare to have resiliency, even applied in our thinking, because that infinity circle that brings us up and down, you know, brings us up to have good things and also drops us down into challenges and difficult experiences. We’re preparing to have some choice in our response to that infinity circle, to help us ride the waves of life, to get some power in our internal world as we respond to the volatility of our external world. So, as we look at our self-talk, we’re starting to notice what’s being said in there and what we might be believing at any given moment. And resilient thinkers learn to ask what is it that I’m believing right now? And then, what is it that I would want to believe Like what would I want to be thinking if I could just dial it up and order it? And this can be a pretty foreign concept, like whoever gets to sit and decide what to think. Well, you do, and there’s a reason that this is a foreign concept.
The nature of thinking is that it’s automatic, and I know we’ve touched on this before, but let’s just review it really quickly. The human brain’s default setting is to look for threat, you know, to keep you safe, to look for danger, to make decisions quickly and then automate those decisions, kind of locking them in, making a playlist of them, so that your mind doesn’t have to think about it very much, so it can use its power for other things. It’s just easier for the brain, it costs less energy, but it can also cost us more difficulty, because not all thoughts are good for us and not all thoughts move us forward. In fact, some thoughts actually hold us back and can cause us difficulty or hurt us. Thoughts are so powerful that our feelings and our bodies mindlessly honor and follow them. So this is the hidden power at play in our minds.
We’re either being run by a program of thinking that serves us, helps us meet our goals and stay safe, or we’re run by a program of thoughts that keep us on edge in threat, and those can even go into a negative cycle of thoughts that can feed off of each other. So in resilient thinking, ultimately you want to choose how you want to feel, which program to play or, better said, how to interrupt the unhelpful program and switch it out for something that is more helpful, and your thoughts are going to be the drawing board for that. We all want good feelings, right? We all want that good experience, that good stuff, and sometimes we’re working with really stinky ingredients, like we want to feel good, but our thoughts are pretty unhappy, they’re dark, they could be even doomsday, and it could feel like we don’t have a choice because we have those thoughts. But the truth is that we do have choice And even though we have thoughts that are automatic and just show up without our permission, we also have what’s called intentional thinking.
Thinking on purpose is another way that I like to say it. Thinking on purpose allows us to focus on the things that matter most to you and to hold your goals in mind when you’re deciding which thoughts to focus on. It requires mindfulness, which means being aware of your thoughts, noticing any thinking patterns that might be coming regularly, notice which thoughts are helpful and which thoughts are not, and then consciously choosing the thoughts that work better for you, that align with the things that matter to you and your goals. When we think on purpose, our goal is to identify unproductive thought patterns and replace them with something that is much more empowering or useful to us. So we have two types of thinking The automated thoughts that just come to us without any effort at all, and the intentional thoughts that we decide consciously to think.
So, as a resiliency teacher, i’m suggesting that we look at training, really preparing to think intentionally. You know we have gyms everywhere, places where people go to work out their bodies, and there are all kinds of ways to strengthen your body The gym, home programs, yoga, stretching, walking, weight training But how many mind fitness centers do you see in your neighborhood? I mean, i’m a trainer for the mind, but my professional title is a therapist and until just recently there’s been kind of a stigma that can go with therapy like a negative association, and we’re changing that. Sometimes we use different words. Instead of talking about this work as being part of a therapy process, which it most definitely is, it is also part of a wellness process. Intentional thinking is protective for our minds, so we’re changing that stigma, hopefully.
Here at Leadership Parenting, we’re unashamedly saying that we train for resilient thinking, and for me that starts with kind of a grand vision of where I want to go in my thinking, and I want you to consider this too What do you want your thinking to be? For a big portion of our thinking, we can train our minds to be more open, more flexible, more solution focused and get that happening for much of the time. And our brain is going to adopt it as a new playlist and it’s going to replace that maybe old, automated one that wasn’t serving us very well. And this ability for the brain to learn a new pattern is because of neuroplasticity, which means the brain isn’t rigid in its structure of learning. It learns new ways to do things. We learn new ways to do things. I keep talking about your brain like it’s not part of you. You get to learn how to do this in a new way and your brain actually is built to do this, which is really good news for us, because no matter how much we’re stuck in negative thought spirals, our brain has the ability to reverse it. It could even turn it into a positive thought spiral.
So here are the most important things you need to know about how to be a resilient thinker. First is we need to understand that there is a relationship between thoughts, feelings and actions, that thoughts create feelings and feelings are the things that inspire us to act. And I want you to really hold on to the concept that we are separate from our thoughts, feelings and actions, and we went over this in our episode on essential self. I think that was episode number three, and that’s where we really focused on the idea that you have an essential self and that essential self is separate from your thoughts, your feelings and your actions. And the reason why that’s so important in resilient thinking is that you want to be able to diffuse, remember, disconnect from the thought, step back away from it so you can have a chance to look at it, you can have a chance to evaluate it, And a lot of times, our thoughts come in so strong and it just feels like it’s part of who we are. And if it’s part of who we are, then how can we possibly change it? We can’t really change ourselves, and so that flexibility, that separateness, lets us take a step back and look at our thinking, and so being able to know that you’re separate, you’re not your thoughts, and that thoughts create feelings, can really help us start to get that resilient thinking going.
So step number one is to learn to separate out our thoughts, feelings and actions. Step number two is to notice your thoughts, to start to really listen for them and hear them, and I have a great tool for you to help you do this. You can find a link to it in the show notes. So please go there to my website, LeighGermann.com in the show notes and grab a copy of this sheet. It’s a very simple drawing with boxes where you can write out all the pieces of your experience. You’re going to be able to put what’s happening and your feelings and how you’re wanting to act and what your values are, of course. But today we’re really focusing on that thoughts box And I want you to be able to write down the thoughts that you’re noticing. And it’s a small box. You may have to turn the paper over and write on a blank side of the paper, or just look at it and take a sheet of paper and use it as a guide and just write it out on a piece of paper that you have at home And listen to those thoughts so you can get them out in front of you and that’s going to help you evaluate them. And that’s step number three evaluate your thoughts And if you’re able to see it, you see the thought you’re having, you can start to evaluate it and see where it fits, if it’s helpful, if it’s a helpful thought And here’s some criteria that you can use Is the thought accurate?
Is it true? And this is really important to be able to start to kind of talk back to your thinking a little bit, not accepting every single thought that comes into your head, like is this really the worst day anyone has ever had? Would everyone agree that this is a fact? I don’t know about you, but I’ve had that thought. This is just the worst. And is that true? Is it like, could you take that thought to court? And if you did, would they call it hearsay? Because I think they probably would. They’d say wait, where’s the evidence for that? That’s just your opinion, and so that thought needs to be checked for accuracy.
And the second thing I want you to ask is is this thought rational? So if I have the thought, i have to be approved of by everyone or I’ll be worthless as a person. Now when I say it out loud, you almost kind of go oh yeah, i, yeah. I probably need to change that thought. Sometimes we have thoughts that play in our heads that when we don’t question it, we don’t write it down, we don’t say it out loud, we don’t check it It just we just take it as truth. But when we say it we’re like, yeah, that doesn’t really make sense. Is there a flaw in that at all? Would we tell this thing to our best friend, or would I? would you say that to your child? Can you imagine saying that to your child? Oh, sweetie, if you don’t have everyone approved of you, you’re just worthless. You’d never say that.
But so many times we have that thought, or a version of that thought, in our minds and it helps to be able to check it and just see, i may have it there. It doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily true or rational. And then the third thought, third question that we use to evaluate a thought is is this thought really helping me? And this is my favorite question, because it starts the process we’re looking to switch over to Does this thought actually serve you? Does it align with your goals? Is it helpful to you? And this kind of leads into the next step, step four What do you want yourself, talk to look like if you could choose it?
And in this step you may need to look over at your feelings and ask well, how would I want to feel? Because it can be hard to just dial up the thoughts without considering how you want to feel. Because, remember, the relationship between thoughts and feelings is causal in nature And that means that your thoughts cause your feelings. And that’s why it’s so important to be aware of yourself, talk and notice how you want it to be, because it’s going to determine those feelings you have. And then, of course, the feelings are the things that kind of move us in our life Most. Everything that we avoid, we avoid because of how we think we’re gonna feel if it happens, and everything we pursue, we pursue because of how we think we’re gonna feel if we achieve it.
So in step number four, you may need to ask yourself first, how do I want to feel? And then what thought would I need to stop paying attention to And what thought would I need to start thinking in order to feel this way? So you’re kind of thought shopping here, right, like if you’re going to try on shoes. You would try on a shoe and say how does this feel? I don’t like it, i need something that feels different. And so you’re trying on different thoughts and testing them out And you’re even asking the question how could this thought actually support me and help me Remember this isn’t submitting a fairy tale wish list to your mind to have this kind of perfectly optimistic thinking. We’re looking for believable thoughts that serve us and help us to create a better, believable thought. And then, step number five, you’re gonna try on that new thought. So don’t be surprised if it feels a little stiff or awkward. It may not be familiar, so we might need to practice having and believing that thought.
And it is important to choose a thought that we can get behind. We wanna choose thoughts that are believable even if we don’t fully believe them yet. And I think this is probably the crux of the challenge that we face with our thinking is that we can kind of see the place we wanna go, but it’s almost like it’s there’s a river in between me and that place. It’s on the other bank And I need to build a bridge to get there, to get from where what we have been thinking to what we want to be thinking. And there are many techniques to build a bridge from one thought to a better thought, and we’re gonna review those in future episodes.
But for now, i just want you to see the big vision here, that where you’re thinking, if it’s not serving you, that there’s another place that you can go, that there’s another thought that you can reach for. And you’ll probably find that with some thoughts you can do this much easier than with others. But for now, the goal is to be the observer of what you’re thinking and just start to try out a little bit of these resilient thinking steps. I want you to think about being guided, to be guided by your heart, by your values, by that part of you that is reaching to feel better and to be grounded in what matters to you. You know there’s really only two buckets in the world and you’ll hear this from me a lot Two buckets in the world love and fear. They’re really big buckets. Everything ultimately can fit into one or the other. And you want your thoughts, that you’re choosing intentionally, to come from love, from the love bucket, and that means when you go to set a goal and you’re looking at that goal through a loving, benevolent intention, it’s going to feel different than it does if you set a goal and you’re looking at that goal from a fearful place.
We do a lot of things out of fearful thinking or angry thinking or sad and helpless thinking. When we’re talking about that resentment that we feel we could be walking around with thoughts like I have to do this. I don’t have a choice. I have to get up every night with this baby Or this laundry. It’s never going to end. I’m going to be doing this for the rest of my life, or having to go to work and I’m going to be working for the rest of my life. I have to work for the rest of my life. Like it’s a forced thing, like there’s no choice, like I have to have this job. I have to work forever. I have to do this right Or else, you know and sometimes we even fill it out, like I want to almost say very dramatically, or else it’ll be the end of me, it will be the end of my career as a mother, it’ll be the end of my career at work. It will be the end of this friendship. It will be the end of my world. Sometimes we don’t even fill in the blank, we just go I have to do this Or else I’m going to be dot, dot, dot dot And then our mind just goes yeah, that’s really scary, that’s coming from the fear bucket And we get all of those fearful feelings. Your whole body just vibrates in a different way when you’re in fear.
Even when you can accomplish things, even if you do it with this fearful narrative in your thinking, it feels different as opposed to it coming out of love. I’m going to do this, i’m going to get up with this baby. I’m going to work at a career because I believe in it And I need it for me And it’s useful. It’s serving my family. My family needs me to do this. I get to choose and I want to do it. It’s going to feel so much better when I do this thing. That’s coming from love.
And I know people say, well, i don’t want to do it, i really don’t want to do it And I’m like well, then, that’s another conversation, right? If you don’t really want to do it, maybe you need to change your approach to what it is you’re thinking about and what you’re doing, and not do it. But how many times do I have the thought I just don’t want to go to work today And it sets my feeling, it sets my tone. I don’t want to get up and clean whatever do the laundry. If I have that thought and I feel pressed into it, it’s coming from like this resistant place. I get all the feelings that come with that. How could you switch that over to a love-based thought? Because the truth is, do you really have to do it? The truth is you’ve gone through some consideration, right, i have a family. Everyone needs to be fed. We have clothes They all need to be washed And we look at that situation and say I think that needs to get done, and I’m the one in charge of the family, so I’m going to do it.
And then we say things like I have to do it, i don’t get a choice. And the truth is we get a choice. It’s just that the other choices, when we laid it out we’re not as good as this one, the long-term results were not things we wanted. So we’re talking about kind of holding ourselves accountable for the thinking process to be able to explore If I’m really having the thought I don’t want to do this like let’s hold ourselves accountable to that and then make a change. If it’s really not something that’s good for you, then you need to be doing something different And if it is something that you decide is the best thing for you to be doing, then we need to change our thinking to support that. That’s the resilient response, because it gets us aligned, it turns off the threat response and gives us our energy to go about solving the problem, like there are ways to go about doing something you don’t want to do in a way that maybe serves you better, but more support that helps you enjoy it even. I know that sounds crazy, but maybe even helps you enjoy it.
You know, i was talking to someone the other day who is in cancer treatment and we were talking about how to go for their chemotherapy sessions and he was really feeling fearful. He kept thinking about all the negative aspects of that chemotherapy and all the side effects and all of the warning label things that are listed that he had to sign on and he was going into his chemotherapy treatments with a deep sense of fear. But he was doing it, he was getting it done. He had done a couple of sessions and it was incredible because it took so much courage and so much strength. But he was really suffering and it wasn’t just from physical side effects. There were some of those, but that wasn’t what he was telling me was actually the hardest on him.
What really was the hardest thing was coming from making himself do something. That was coming from this fear place, all the fear thoughts he had about his choice. That had been his focus and his thinking, and we spent a lot of time on this, backing up and going, looking at the decision again, about how he wanted to think about this, about his ultimate decision, about why he chose to do the chemotherapy in the first place. And we walked through that, made sure he had a full sense that he’d asked all the questions he needed to and he made the decision he felt was best for him and he’d done the research he needed and that ultimately, this was the choice he landed on And he did. He did his research. He felt it was his best choice, but his thinking kept spiraling on the worry and the fear side of things, which makes sense, right. It’s a threat to his health both the cancer and the cancer treatment and it was dividing him. It was creating this battle for him every day in his thinking and it translated into how he felt and even how his body was doing. And I wonder if we don’t all have this internal battle at times in our thoughts where we second guess ourselves and we look at worst case scenarios and kind of focus on those. And this was happening to him. And so we applied resilient thinking and he started looking at those inner thoughts and he identified the ones that were consistently causing him the most fear and pain and we started to work with those.
And when you work with your thoughts, you can do it in two ways. One, you can decide if you need to change the thought and just choose a different thought to think instead. Or two, you can simply choose to not focus on that thought, not even try to change it, but just change your relationship with it, in other words, not interact with it so much, and this would involve putting your focus on something else that serves you better. And so there are two ways to resiliently work with a thought. Either you change the thought or you let it be and just step around it rather than dance with it or wrestle with it. I mean seriously this is you taking ultimate power. With these two tools, there is no way that the negative thinking gets the final word. The power goes directly into your hands to either change the thought or to take your attention away from it. It’s a win-win for you. Any way you look at it. You could say hey, thought you’re not working for me right now, so either let’s change you or I’ll just let you happen and I’ll focus on something else. Either way, you hold the power, and that’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
This is what this man did. He acknowledged that what he was doing was hard, it had its risks And it was scary if he lived inside all the what-ifs, especially after he’d already decided to go ahead with the treatment. So he let some of those thoughts show up and just said hey, i see you and I get why you’re here. And then he chose what thoughts gave him a calmer and more peaceful feeling. He chose to actively, intentionally, think these thoughts. I can do this, i am choosing to do this. He had to find a thought that represented him authentically and that he could believe in. See, we have to do that step first, or else there’s self-doubt all the way along. So he wasn’t saying this chemotherapy is going to be a piece of cake and it makes me happy and it’s my favorite thing. Nope, he just said I think this is the right choice and I’m choosing to do this. And this was a thought he could believe in, because he does believe it’s the right treatment.
So we were able to establish that, and then we needed to look at how to choose intentional thoughts and from which bucket the fear bucket or the love bucket and from the fear bucket was that I got to do this, you know, because if I don’t, i’m going to die. I’ve got to do this and it’s going to absolutely destroy my body and that’s probably not going to be good anyway. Either way, i’m kind of sunk, but I’m going to do it. That was coming from his fear, and it took us a little while to try to figure it out. Like, how do we repackage that Not just in how he says it, but in how he believes it When he walks into that infusion center?
he wanted to walk in with benevolent, courageous, committed thinking. So this is what he came up with This is good for me. This is going to help me be triumphant over this cancer. I’m choosing this because it’s the right thing for me right now. It’s my best choice and I’m going to accept it and get behind it and do it with love. If I have side effects, i’m going to reach out and get those handled with love. I trust that whatever life brings me after this, i will be prepared to handle it. It’s the right thing. I can do this. It’s a night and day difference of how that feels in your body. It vibrates differently in your body even though you’re going to do the exact same thing. When you’re intentionally choosing a loving, benevolent, powerful thought, it will translate into how you feel in your body.
You’ve got research on how, when we walk into medical procedures with that intentional thinking, the outcomes are better. This is no surprise because the immune system is working with the feelings that we have in our body. When we’re in fight or flight, when we’re in that stress response, our immune system really gets put on the back burner. It’s not at its peak, it’s not capable of working in the same way as it is when we’re relaxed and we feel safe. So it’s all part of supporting us for our good. We have a choice in this, okay. So now let’s drop this model into another application Less serious as far as life or death goes. Let’s apply it to waking up each morning as a mom and facing our days. Take a look at your thoughts about having to take care of kids driving to work, do laundry that long mom list of sometimes menial chores. How is our thinking around those things And is the thinking helping us feel the way we want to feel?
I remember distinctly having a conversation with my husband when our kids were younger. We had three boys and two girls and a big dog and life sometimes felt like a circus Kids running through the house, laughing, crying, yelling, barking. It was loud, it was crazy. And my husband and I were sitting at the table talking about a man we knew who’d lost his son in an accident And he’d said something like I’d give anything if my boy would just run out the back door and slam it hard. I used to get mad when he did that, but I’d give anything to hear that door slam. Right now He could slam it all he wanted. And our kids did that. They slammed the door and it drove us crazy. It chipped the door frame, it was loud, it broke the handle. It was annoying, it felt like a symbol of the craziness And I remember that day that our thinking changed. We heard that story and things shifted for us. We started to focus on something different. Every time the door slammed, instead of thinking, ah, irritation, we thought gratitude. It was a shift from being irritated at the hard things to focusing on the sweet things. Remember, nothing externally changed. As moms, that’s our entire day.
I actually have talked myself into loving changing. I’ll raise my hand and say I’ll do it Because I think of it as service. Now It helps my girls who have to change diapers 100 times a day. It serves my little babies, my own and now my grandbabies, and I had to do it so many times over the years that it had the power to make me feel irritated if I didn’t change how I thought about it. I know it’s a silly example, but I want you to be thinking about what irritates you, what brings you down, what makes you resentful, what feels heavy and sad. Those are thoughts and beliefs, and they either need to serve you or you need to apply some resilient thinking to them and change them, or remove your attention from them, because we don’t have time or energy for thoughts that don’t serve us. We can learn how to work with them better. This is something I’m working on, seriously, seriously working on And you know they say that you write the books that you need to read. Well, this has been my work my whole life.
I’ve suffered from overthinking, anxiety and trying to over manage, over control risk. I know it comes from a lot of the trauma and hard things that I went through as a little kid and I know that you may have these similar struggles. You may have some hard things in your past that set a playlist in your thinking that is negative and tries valiantly to protect you. It helps to know where this comes from, but we aren’t beholden to it. It’s not my essential self and it’s not yours And, honestly, just as human beings, we’re all going to have a set of negative thinking that shows up. So it’s something that we all need to learn how to deal with, and my life is better because I get to be intentional And it’s not a one and done.
It’s a daily check-in, seeing where you are and knowing that you have a choice at any given moment to switch out of fear and into love thinking. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but I really kind of want you to do a check-in and just check in and say you know, what am I thinking right now, and is it coming from fear? And do I need fear, right this second, to protect me? Is there a way to handle this thought and shift it into a loving thought, to reach for a quality thought that serves you better, and then to practice it? I think I’m going to be practicing this for my entire life. I think it’s exciting because it’s powerful and it gives us choices. And who doesn’t want choices rather than being act upon? So I invite you to ask yourself this question How can I start to apply my focus and my energy into some more intentional and resilient thinking? And I have more episodes coming on the specific steps of this, and there are more than one. So I have full confidence that you’ll find something that will spark your interest and help you make the shift to having more power within yourself.
Talk for today. Just start by noticing it. Your brain is so smart and so powerful that it will start to naturally take in a little bit of this shift as you start to notice that you’re separate from your thinking and you have a choice in what you decide to do with those thoughts. And don’t forget to go over to the show notes at LeighGerman.com for episode 15 to grab that worksheet that will help you in this process. Thank you so much for being here. It’s my dream that we get good at this to help lift the pain and sadness that hangs over us in our lives and in our families. A little bit of this stuff over time can make such huge differences in how we feel as moms and will really help us as we raise our kids. So until next week, take care and I’ll talk to you soon.
The Leadership Parenting Podcast is for general information purposes only. It is not therapy and should not take the place of meeting with a qualified mental health professional. The information on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition, illness or disease. It’s also not intended to be legal medical or therapeutic advice. Please consult your doctor or mental health professional for your individual circumstances. Thanks again and take care.