Confusion, Overwhelm, and Worry

As a child, I remember looking at adults and thinking they looked like they had life all figured out. I looked forward to that time, once I was grown up, where I had the wisdom to know what to do and not do, and move ahead with it without distracting myself.

Then I grew up.

And lo and behold, life is certainly not any clearer in adulthood! Especially once we have careers and families and relationships.

There are so many decisions to make, dangers to avoid, and problems to solve.

What’s important to remember is that everything we choose to do or not do is because of how we think it will feel.

We choose to hit the snooze button instead of going to the gym because it feels better in that moment to stay snuggled up in our warm beds. We must recognize though, that in the long run, it actually feels better to have dragged ourselves to the gym because of the sense of accomplishment and the physical and mental benefits of exercise.

I know that I choose to worry when I have my son ride his bike to his piano lesson instead of me driving him there and back. The worry feels important, like it’s what good mothers do. As if that worry will in some way keep him safer.

When we’re in a situation where a difficult decision needs to be made (such as deciding whether to stay in a broken marriage or switch jobs), we’ll often allow ourselves to stay confused so that we don’t have to move forward, either way.

I indulged in confusion big time regarding my weight. I felt like every other day I read something new about the best way to work out or lose weight. I would decide to follow a certain eating plan for 2 or 3 days before I would read something else that contradicted what I was doing.

So I told myself that losing weight was really confusing and that I needed someone to tell me what was the best thing for me to do before I could move forward.

This clearly did not serve me in my weight loss attempt!

When I work with my clients, three emotions surface for them incredibly regularly: confusion, overwhelm, and worry/anxiety.

In the coaching world, these are called indulgent emotions.

They are indulgent because they never result in anything positive.

When we’re confused, we decide we need more information before we can move ahead with a decision. This spares us from having to actually make the decision.

When we’re overwhelmed, we decide that it’s all too much, so instead of doing something, anything, we do nothing.

When we’re worried and anxious, we decide that expending our brain energy, spinning worst case scenarios about things we have no control over, is the best choice in that moment. It feels protective.

These emotions are habitual and learned.

They are also distractions from other underlying emotions that need to be addressed.

Right now you might be thinking, “But it certainly doesn’t seem optional to feel this way! I have to feel this way because of what is going on in my life right now!”

What I want to offer to you is the idea that these emotions are actually optional and worse, are detrimental. Once you believe this, you can catch yourself indulging in these emotions. Then you can start to explore the deeper emotions you were avoiding by indulging in confusion, worry, and overwhelm.

First, get really clear on which indulgent emotion you feel most often and a specific example of when you feel it and why.

Then take that emotion through a thought model (for a review of the model, click here). Ask yourself, “What do I do (or not do) when I feel this emotion? What are the results this creates for me?”

Once you see that the result is not moving your life forward in any way, ask yourself, “Can I see a reason why I might want to keep indulging in this emotion? What might it cost me if I do continue to indulge?”

Experiencing indulgent emotions is not a sign of a loving mother, caring spouse, or successful professional. We often use our indulgent emotions as a way to connect with other women, validating and sympathizing with each other. This only perpetuates the habit of thinking this way.

So I want to encourage you to break this thought habit.

It makes sense to only allow the thoughts into your brain that drive you to do what you need to do so that you can get the results that you want!

*****

Are you a practicing MD or DO ready to take your weight loss journey to the next level and get personalized help?

My Doctors Only Weight Loss group coaching program runs just a couple times each year. To be among the first to know when the next session opens to registration, get your name on the information list by clicking here.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Lynn Jacoby

    Great article!

  • Lynn Jacoby

    Great article!

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