Coaching ideas that work #4

Think slow to move fast

Didn’t get the positive feedback that you felt you deserved and expected? Or someone didn’t express their appreciation of you like you thought they would? Maybe you failed at something that you put a lot of effort into? Is it just one of those days where things aren’t moving like you would like for them to and that has that got you feeling a bit down and out-of-sorts? Here’s one idea you can use to get yourself out of the riptide: think slow to be able to move fast.

This is a technique from Mindfulness – which is all about being present in the moment, being present at a slow level.
It is about putting more emphasis on the *process* of awareness rather than on the object of your attention.

So on days like these, it helps if you just step back a moment and *become aware of your thinking*, not focusing on the actual thoughts you are thinking.
Notice the difference: you are stepping out of your thoughts and just becoming aware *that* you are having thoughts.

It goes like this:
1. If the thoughts are running around in your head and creating a tsunami of feelings and emotions, then slow down and give those thoughts a name. The goal here is that you want to identify them – not just feel them. You can even try to locate exactly where you are feeling them in your body. i.e.: Feeling down? Then say it: “I am feeling sad, my heart feels heavy.” Feeling rejected? Say, “I am feeling rejected, my knees feel weak.” By naming the feeling/emotion, and where it is making itself known to you in your body, you are taking away its power over your ability to think.

2. When you’ve identified the feeling/emotion, then you can take the next step: describe what happened that gives you this feeling. This is how you do it:
Say to yourself “Yes, … and…” .
So going from the examples above, you could say, “Yes, I didn’t get the promotion and now I am feeling sad (rejected, angry, unfairly treated, … ).” Be sure to use the word “and” here – instead the word “but”.

(“Yes, … and…” leads to a positive response, whereby “Yes, but…” leads to defensiveness. You can try this out for yourself: change the example above to “Yes, I didn’t get the promotion but I … tried my best/they’re too stupid to see what I have to offer/<enter argument of choice here>”. When you use the word “but” you automatically start to rationalize, look for reasons to explain things away. Can you tell the difference?)

3. Give yourself permission to postpone judgement of your thoughts, after all, you’re only giving them a name.
This last step gives you some time – you’re slowing down the process of “feeling”, and giving your mind time to regroup and be able to observe things in a different light. You’re also giving yourself the time you need to get yourself back on course.

By doing just these 3 steps you have taken control over your thoughts and you’ve slowed down the rip tide they can create if they’re allowed to run free untethered.

I’d be interested to find out if you’ve tried this out for yourself. Do comment and let me know if it works for you!