Does your brain ruminate over every little thing? Is it making you miserable? You're not alone.
If your brain is like mine, and everyone I know, you think A LOT. You think about:
- What you said
- What you didn’t say
- What you should have said
- How rude someone was at work
- Everything you have to do for the holiday
- That you’re not thin enough, good enough or smart enough
- What you want to do with your life and where has 2017 gone
- Why an idea you have is stupid, irresponsible, and impossible to achieve
- And on and on and on
Women are twice as likely to be depressed as men and one of the reasons is that we ruminate more.
Of course this probably isn’t news to you, but here’s something you may not know:
Your brain is wired to worry. Think about our ancestors thousands of years ago – the more they worried – Do we have enough food for our family? Are those berries poisonous? Will we be eaten by sabre toothed tigers? – the more they survived.
Similarly, our ancestors were rewarded for negative thinking. Imagining the worst case scenario helped them strategize and survive.
In fact, worrying was so beneficial that our bodies release endorphins when we worry so that worrying actually feels good! It sucks, but it's human.
We don’t have sabre-toothed tigers and we know that all the berries at Whole Foods are safe to eat.
We have old brains in a new world. And left alone, your brain will run itself into fear, guilt, and misery before you even get out of bed. We need to master it to be the empowered, happy, purposeful women we were born to be.
The answer is to be intentional. Your brain needs something to do so you have to control it before it controls you. Here’s how:
- Get clear on what you WANT: 2018 is around the corner. Rather than waste another year in depression, think about what you do want. How do you want to feel? What do you want to have? Who do you want to be? Spend your time visualizing, planning, and creating what you want and you’ll be happier.
- Notice the GOOD: We have more positive moments than negative ones, but the negative stands out more. So, be intentional in looking for positive moments and be grateful for them. Pause to savor something beautiful, spend a moment thanking someone in person, write down all that’s good in your life. Research shows that writing down 3 things you’re grateful for every day has a lasting impact on happiness.
- Do things you LOVE: We all get excited about different things. One of my clients loves gymnastics, but forgot and now in her 40’s she’s tumbling again! Another paints, another loves volunteering with the elderly. Know what makes you happy and make time for it. Then celebrate that you’re doing it.
- Try thinking about the BEST CASE instead: Notice how when you say “What if…?” you usually think about what if something bad happens, but try thinking about what if something good happens. Or instead of thinking about the worst case, balance it with the best case, then consider what's most likely. Work with your brain!
- Join a SISTERHOOD: When women get together, you can either gossip, vent, or support each other’s excellence. Women who support, uplift, and celebrate one another are happier and healthier. Be intentional about who you spend time with and how you spend that time and you’ll be happier.
These are just a few ideas. The key is to remember that you have to be intentional with your time, your thoughts, your words, and your actions. It’s not easy. My mind is like yours and gets negative all the time. So I redirect it, flip it, be kind to it, get angry at it, and then practice being intentional again. I practice every day and am here to practice with you.
Here's to us being the empowered, happy, purposeful women we were born to be! Have a beautiful week!
PS – If you don’t know what you love doing, what you want for 2018, or what would make you happy because you feel so stuck, email me. I only have a couple of coaching spots left at 2017 prices and I’d love to do a free call with you to help you succeed.