Negative thoughts seem to come out of nowhere and they sit right in front of the thoughts that serve you. The ones that keep you focused on your future goals, keep you productive and keep you smiling. Sometimes people get caught up in the cycle and just go with the flow. This is an indication that you’re not living on purpose…you’re flying on auto pilot. You, of course know this as a Professional Counselor but even professionals need to be reminded. If you keep up the cycle, it can ruin your entire day and next thing you know, months later, you’ve manifested everything you did NOT want in your life.
Things like the car that keeps breaking down, the spouse who you’ve stuck with despite dealing with emotional or physical abuse or even the job that no longer serves you. Sound familiar? There are plenty of examples but you get the point.
Reasons You’re Out of Touch
Today I wanted to give you some tips on how you can get back into your body. But first, let’s discuss why you probably feel so out of touch with it in the first place.
1. Modern lifestyle provides us with an endless amount of distractions. (Does your phone send you constant world event notifications too? Are you scrolling through Facebook at the stop light? Are you trying to chart but your co-worker keeps coming in to chat?)
2. You’ve learned to live with a certain level of constant discontent. (Work stress anyone? It’s hard when you’re working in an environment where you feel you have no control. You know that getting another job or even a promotion won’t solve your problem.)
3. You lack the energy to find the real reasons behind the discontentment. (At the end of your work day, how much energy is left to connect with your inner self, feel those negative feelings and address them? Most counselors I speak with say once they leave work, they have little energy to be a mom, wife, friend or make time for self-care.Many times it’s because they’re finishing up their paperwork at home but don’t get me started today!
4. You address your negative thoughts with stimulants (i.e. food, drugs, phone, television or compulsive shopping.) This one’s a hard one for many to admit. Don’t worry, you don’t have to but stop now to make an honest assessment of what you’ve been doing to deal with all those negative thoughts. Many of the professional counselors I’ve spoken with either use recreational drugs or they’re on prescription drugs to deal with their symptoms. Please understand that this isn’t about shaming you. This is your personal Call to Action.
If you feel something in the pit of your stomach right now, you’re in the right place at the right time because today, you’ll end this reading with some actionable tips you can use to get back into your body and take control of your negative thoughts. You already know that if you’re looking for tips on how to stop negative thoughts, you won’t find them here, but here’s what you can do.
Get Back Into Your Body
1. When you experience intrusive negative thoughts, try your best to sit or stand still and connect with what you feel in your body. Do the thoughts trigger a back ache, tooth ache or even tingling in your feet?
2. Once you’ve recognized your physical body’s response, trace that thought back to its source. When I do this, I tend to think about the last few hours of my day. Sometimes I’m lead to something small that seemed insignificant in the moment but became larger because of my brain’s automatic response to ignore it and keep moving.
3. Take some deep breaths. There are many types of breathing exercises for stress that you can Google but my favorite is the 4-7-8 breathing pattern. It’s known for helping people get to sleep quicker but has helped me even when I’m alert and looking for instant stress relief.
4. Acknowledge the negative thoughts. Those familiar with Acceptance and Commitment Therapy will understand this strategy. It almost sounds silly when you read it in a book but it works. There’s a reason the same thoughts keep resurfacing and it’s probably because they’re trying to get your attention. There’s something about them that hasn’t been resolved. The good news is that you’re ready to do the work!
I’m sure some will read today’s post and think “I’m a Professional Counselor, I already know this stuff!” Of course you do love. As a counselor, you’re likely so used to putting everyone ahead of yourself (including all your clients) that you’ve forgotten to take care of you. It’s hard to remember in our moments of frustration, what actually works for us because we’re used to suppressing our needs until bed time. By then, it’s too late because you’re so tired, you don’t make time to work on yourself. The tips above can help you if you’re willing to give them a try.
I hope today’s post has been helpful for you and if it has, please leave some feedback below. If you’re one of those Professional Counselors that feels so burned out you can’t even identify how you got there, you might enjoy downloading a copy of “The Counselor’s Block; 5 Burnout Traits Counselor’s MUST Heal From Before Embracing Career Transition” HERE. Promise you won’t regret it. 🙂
Until next time,
The Counselor’s Mindset Coach