Stress is a conflict between belief and reality!
Our mind checks in with what you're experiencing in the present moment and then forms an opinion, or has a conversation about it.
If what you expected or desired is being met, it's a positive conversation.
However if you are experiencing something unwanted, often the conversation in your mind turns into judgement, criticism, negativity and then leads to emotions like anger, regret, frustration, anxiety or sadness.
This is because the mind is in conflict with reality.
Your mind is often fighting with what is.
It's rolling around in a story about how wrong something is, how it's not supposed to be this way. It's finding evidence of everything you're missing out on because this unwanted thing is happening. It's looking at who's fault it is - is it me that should have done something differently, or should someone else be doing something differently.
And finally, it's making a judgement - what does this mean about me or my life that I'm experiencing an unwanted event like this.
When we get caught up in a story like this (I call it rolling in your pit of shit), the mind will keep finding more and more evidence of what you have your attention on.
You keep finding more things that are wrong and it prevents you from accepting your current reality and becoming solution focussed about it.
What's more, the anger or frustration you feel when you think this way, literally starts to shut off the conscious part of your brain you need to think about what you're going to do about this unwanted situation.
So we need to find a way to pull ourselves out of this mindset of 'rolling in the pit of shit'.
Often one of the quickest ways to do this, is to have a 'go to' catchphrase that will remind you of what you're doing.
Here's what I say when I'm 'rolling in the mud':
'Jac, You're in conflict with Reality!
The Reality is……. so what am I going to do about it?
Using this terminology – ‘the reality is’ - helps you bring your attention back to reality.
State the facts rather than your judgement of the facts.
- The reality is there is no milk left. No point focussing on who didn’t go and get it or how wrong the morning will go if the kids don’t get their cereal in the morning or what a bad parent you are because you weren’t organised enough to get it. Stop! There’s just no milk. The reality is there is no milk!
- The reality is there are chores to do. Dishes come and go. Washing comes and goes. Things get spilled and cleaned up. There’s always a list. This is life!
Bring your attention back to the present moment and do what’s in front of you, or don’t. Life is full of priorities and maybe this chore needs to be a priority right now or maybe it doesn’t. There are no right and wrongs.
If the reality is the chore needs to be the priority right now, then stop with giving it all these other meanings.
The reality is it’s a chore and its there needing to be done. Use the 5 senses to come back into the present moment and deal with this reality that’s in front of you.
- The reality is the kids are going to have good days and bad. They’re going to have good moments and bad ones. They’ll have happy emotions, angry emotions, sad ones, excited ones and everything in between. Just like you do.
Be present to that and don’t make it mean something about you whenever they’re having an emotion. It’s just part of the reality of having kids – they will have their moments.
- The reality is life doesn’t always go our way, and that’s okay. I know you’re disappointed, but the reality is, it happened, so now what do we need to do - get solution focussed.
What do you think we could do about this now that we are here in this moment? Try asking yourself that question when life doesn’t go to plan.
- The reality is there are times my child is going to have a meltdown and I couldn't predict it or prevent it and I have to ride it out. Don't roll around in your story about what people are thinking of you, how you wish they would just stop, how sick of these meltdowns you are, or go into catastrophising how you're going to have to live this way forever because nothing is ever going to change. The reality is my child is having a meltdown and it will pass. That's all you have to say. Take a deep breath and surrender to your reality in this present moment.
See if you can practice pulling yourself out of your 'pit of shit' today. Recognise how often you find yourself stuck in story that's in conflcit with reality and tell yourself.
'Hey, you're in conflict with reality. The reality is.....so what can I do about it?