You may know the saying, “Resistance is futile!”
One of the constant tug-of -wars I witness as a therapist is the resistance to the challenging or just plain yuck feelings that are experienced when something painful, embarrassing or upsetting has happened. A natural reaction is to want to cover up those feelings with distractions such as work, shopping, Netflix or eating. Yet one of the best ways to get back to feeling good or at peace is to interact with what is going on inside our minds.
The mind can be a storyteller. When the mind cannot problem solve something out of its control-a mistake that we regret, someone else’s behavior towards us, an incident that left us feeling shamed or heartbroken- the mind creates a story about how we are the problem, how we are unacceptable as is, or how we need to do x,y, and z to make everything good again.
To help the mind get out of this matrix funk, we need to catch the story it is telling and change it up. Think of when you are trying to get a lid off of a jar that has been wound too tight. When the mind has wound itself too tight around us as the problem or us as having ruined something that cannot be fixed, we need to help loosen up our mind. Start to untwist it into a less stuck place.
How do we do that? One way is acknowledging our feelings and being able to say to our mind, “I know you feel [anxious, overwhelmed, disappointed, frightened, enraged]. I know it is hard that this situation or incident happened and we cannot go back and change it. It is okay that you feel this way. We are going to work through this and move through this. It will not always feel this way.”
When we name and acknowledge our feelings and coach our mind to slow down and not run itself ragged on self-criticism, we begin to loosen the grip that yucky feeling has on us.