Manage Self-Sabotaging Thoughts to Empower a Life of Freedom
Which would you say is more stressful and damaging to your health — stress from a car accident or from a messy house? — a breakup with a romantic partner or a friend who makes you crazy because she never follows through on what she promises? — a harsh comment from a friend or self-sabotaging thoughts?
We’re well-equipped to handle short-term stressors or life-threatening situations. We deal with it, then we’re free of it. But if there’s constant, long-term, nagging stress, we suffer deeply.
Two reasons why long-term stressors and self-sabotaging thoughts hurt us
- “Today, many people live in stress mode all the time, and the constant release of steroids like adrenaline and cortisol can lead directly to diseases like diabetes, heart disease, depression and cancer, and indirectly to bad health habits like undersleeping and overeating.” says James Ehrlich, MD, clinical associate professor of endocrinology at the University of Colorado.
- Interestingly, women produce a higher amount of oxytocin than men do, which counters the rush from cortisol and epinephrine and puts them into a “nurturing, tending and befriending” mode, according to a WebMD article on why men and women react differently to stress. This means that if you’re not careful, you can find yourself focusing solely on giving to others, which will leave you depleted.
From these and other medical reports, we see there are actual changes to our bodies — chemical spikes, cell damage, muscular and skeletal shifts, and energy blockages. Our thoughts and emotions are carried in our bodies. Over time, our self-sabotaging thoughts change the way we move, sit or stand.
Now that you know the power of your thoughts, what makes YOUR stress level rise? Is it chaotic surroundings or disrupted schedules? Do you fall prey to negative self-talk or negative body image fed by food and fitness issues? Or do relationships make your blood pressure rise?
As you peel back the layers to discover why something stresses you out, you’ll find that the ultimate cause for many of these stresses is your own self-sabotaging thoughts.
Does that surprise you? I invite you to do this experiment.
Select a recent stressful event and play it like a movie in your head. Mindfully ask yourself questions as you peel back the layers. (Remember to ask with curiosity and without judgment.) Questions such as…
What happened? How did it make me feel emotionally? Where do I feel those emotions in my body? Do I blame someone else? Am I now resentful towards another? Am I using it to reinforce within myself thoughts that “I’m not deserving, not good enough”? How did I contribute towards the outcome? What did I imagine would happen? What stories am I telling myself? Why does it bother me so badly? What memories are triggered? What would have to happen so that I would feel stress-free?
It’s not enough to identify your stressors. To further help you diminish self-sabotaging thoughts, learn to adjust your perspective on the following five areas:
- Replace imagined fears with reality. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection and even fear of how your decision will impact your family, friends and others – all of these are paralyzing. And it’s all imaginary. It’s not real. How many fears in the past actually came true? It’s better to focus on what’s real. Your desires for a better life are real. Your dreams can become real if you cultivate a mindset that gets rid of self-sabotaging fears.
- Embrace “I’m good enough!” Perfectionism is a trap. Women tend to compare themselves to others wishing to be smarter, more attractive, or more successful. These comparisons are harmful. The only beneficial comparison is – how can I become a better version of myself? Love yourself for who you are.
- Be comfortable in your own skin and avoid pleasing people. Trying to be someone you’re not is exhausting. Worrying about what others think is nonproductive. Let everyone know what you need and think. If you set boundaries, you won’t fall into the trap of not having a life of your own, being at everyone’s beck and call. The world needs to see the “real you”, and they’ll respect you more. You absolutely do have gifts, skills, and personality traits that are extremely valuable. Value yourself, and others will value you more.
- Get more involved in BEing, rather than DOing. When you measure your value by how much you achieve, will you ever feel good enough? Not likely. You won’t be able to slow down for even a moment because there’s so much to do! Give yourself a break and learn to be mindfully present in each moment. Enjoy the journey. In the end, what will make you feel more satisfied – accomplishments or a life well-lived?
- Promote self-love and inner peace. So many women struggle with feeling unworthy or undeserving. They minimize their value as an individual. They downplay their accomplishments. Here’s a major eye-opener for many women — you won’t become egotistical if you recognize and acknowledge the positive good you do. When you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, choose to self-correct, find a better way, and keep moving forward. No one does everything well 100% of the time. That’s how we learn to do better.
Are there areas in your life that could use some attention? Contact me and request a complimentary 30-minute consultation. I love partnering with women, helping each one create a magnificent life in alignment with their purpose. When we combine neuroscience, mindfulness, and somatic principles you’ll unlock your inner wisdom and create harmony between your mind, spirit, and body.