When we are telling ourselves things like “oh, no, not another day with more to do that I’ll ever get done!” it’s not all that surprising that our physical bodies feel sluggish or that we have an overwhelming need to go back to bed - or just not get up today.
I’ve often encouraged my clients and students to do exercises that help them to distinguish thoughts that precede feelings as a way of experiencing first-hand how their own feelings and thoughts are linked. And how they experience that link.
If you are doing any thought monitoring, you will notice that can be very useful.
However, we thinkers like to think and can start over-thinking our thinking.
For example, a true fear response or gut reaction may not need processing. Nobody needs to analyze their thoughts about a house fire... "Hm, I wonder if I should leave now?" They need to be able to rely on a flight-or-flight response to get the heck out of the burning building now. If someone is drowning, overthinking why we are concerned for their safety would just be silly. Equally, with peaceful thoughts. How much thinking about that do we need? They feel good. That’s good enough for me.
Checking in with thoughts can be as quick as 'is this really true?' or it can take some examination ‘Now, what was the thought that was just before this feeling of....X'
The usefulness of such a practice is not to make us think about everything we do and be in analysis all the time, but rather to get more adept at seeing how feelings arise from thoughts rather than things.
For me what this creates greater awareness. Awareness means more choice. And more choice means more freedom.
And I like that a lot.
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