When Your Brain Gets Sidetracked

How does your brain talk to you when things may not go as planned? How distracted do you get in avoiding the boring, challenging or uncomfortable things you have in life? Are you able to notice what’s going on for you in the moment or is it in retrospect?

Once again, as seems to frequently happen, life took over more than usual last week. So, I thought maybe I would share with you the many things your brain could offer you if that ever happens for you.

Since we covered some of the background information in this post, I will go with that for now. I am beginning to wonder with my current pattern, if this might be a monthly occurrence, or if this is once again a special circumstance :). It almost feels like a deja vu post to some degree. And as much as I think I should change it, I can’t seem to gather my thoughts enough to make that happen.

So what is the Circumstance? Remember, the circumstance is merely the facts of the situation. And some of the “facts” of this situation are:

  • I did not publish a blog post last week as scheduled
  • I did not post on Instagram on Wednesday or Friday as scheduled
  • My daughter had ACL Reconstruction surgery on Tuesday
  • I had an interview for the coaching position at The Life Coach School on Wednesday
  • I gained 8 pounds in approximately 12 days

Now in theory none of those facts are neither positive or negative. Circumstances are just neutral. Yet my brain created so much drama around those facts and what they “mean” that I gained 8 pounds. That was a result that I created. Not something I am celebrating, but also not something I am beating myself up about. As I follow the “math”, meaning the emotions I was feeling and the actions they fueled, the result makes sense.

Rather than harsh judgment, I am trying to examine my thoughts with curiosity and compassion and keep in mind that I am human and that has made all the difference for my mental health and how I am able to show up for those around me and also for myself. Does it always work? Well, I am human so the answer is no. But, even if it only works some of the time, that is an improvement from what it was previously.

And the more frequently I take the time to look at my thoughts, and allow and process the emotions they are generating, the “better” I feel. Not because I don’t feel the uncomfortable emotions, but more so because when I feel uncomfortable emotions, I don’t need to add a layer of criticism and judgment on top of them to increase the mental pain. I can direct my actions in a more intentional manner, even when my brain offers me thoughts that may have previously produced less than desired results.

So what happened exactly? Well, it’s hard to say exactly, but with several areas that felt “out of control” my brain set to work “solving” for a sense of control. The most ironic thing about my brain searching for ways to control things is that more often than not it leads to less personal control over the things I do influence; my schedule, my food intake – both quantity and quality, my sleep, my focus, managing my thoughts. It’s like the perceived “lack of control” in some areas was a free pass to let go of practicing control in nearly all others.

What was I avoiding and what was I “controlling”? I was avoiding the disappointing feeling of letting myself down once again and not just doing the challenging thing to focus my brain and write a blog post. Does it really matter all that much? No it does not. Maybe not at all.

I was avoiding the uncomfortableness of waiting to hear the decision reached on my job interview by determining that I should spend time rearranging my shelves in my office when there are several other projects that could have been done. Did it have any effect on how quickly I received a reply with the next steps in the interview process? Nope….still waiting to hear.

In an attempt to avoid the sadness I felt for my daughter and her surgery and recovery, I tried to control her schedule and actions so that she would have “the best outcome” … like I know what that is.

In an attempt to ignore or avoid the uncomfortable feeling of being out of control (perceived of course, since that is just a thought) I used other things to buffer those feelings and dull their intensity. Sometimes it was with mindlessly scrolling on social media. Other times is was eating things I thought would make me feel better when I wasn’t hungry. It really wasn’t helpful that Halloween was this week and seemed to drag on for days because it was on the weekend. Buffering we will talk about in greater depth in the near future but one short definition is using a false sense of pleasure to numb or dull your current feelings to a net negative result.

In learning and practicing the tools of coaching and self-coaching, you may find that you can use them to help yourself and gain some new insight. Or you may find that you use them to beat yourself up and pass judgments on how far you still have to go.

Hello Friends!

I’m Michelle. I am learning how to minimize my overwhelm, perfectionism, and people-pleasing and I am ready to help you do the same. I’m a certified Life Coach and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Come with me and learn how.

It is fascinating to me that for the most part people can be very compassionate and empathetic to their friends, and family members, yet it seems completely acceptable or maybe even expected to be critical and degrading to themselves. As if that was a great motivation for change.

In learning and practicing the tools of coaching and self-coaching, you may find that you can use them to help yourself and gain some new insight. Or you may find that you use them to beat yourself up and pass judgments on how far you still have to go. The human brain is more often wired for the later version of that story.

Even this blog post, being later than I would have like to post, has been an exercise in trying to focus. My brain has been extremely distracted all day. I have been working on it off and on. When I would start to write, I would “remember” I needed to do laundry; or I would suddenly need to check emails; or I would remember that I needed to respond to someone that had texted me previously that suddenly needed a timely response. Maybe I should get a snack? Just a few candies wouldn’t hurt (every time I walked past them :/) And I feel as though I am rambling on and on…….

It is fascinating to me that for the most part people can be very compassionate and empathetic to their friends, and family members, yet it seems completely acceptable or maybe even expected to be critical and degrading to themselves. As if that was a great motivation for change. And it might be for a period of time, but it gets exhausting and once the will power wears out, you are no longer able to maintain the motivation for change and soon you are right back where you started from. But you are never truly in the same spot that you started from.

Hopefully you have an increased awareness of how your brain is challenging you and with compassion you can try to see why it is giving you these particular thoughts. Is it a form of protection? Is it to increase safety? Is it just an old soundtrack that has been playing in your brain for a number of years that needs to be reevaluated?

If you can relate to some of these thoughts and would like to try a new perspective,. or if you want to learn some new tools with me to see if you can be more curious and compassionate towards yourself, “Contact Me” and send me a quick email. Or you can “Schedule a Consult” for a free session to discuss what you want to work on and how to get started.

And as always…..Remember…..It’s ALL good!!

Published by mrkeil

I help women face the overwhelm of parenting, family and multiple schedules, let go of the shame and people-pleasing perfectionism they place on themselves as women of faith, and create a life they love with intention and purpose. I can help you find your own answers for any problem, reach for any goal, and discover how to be more of yourself as you learn tools to use your own gifts to strengthen yourself emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. In choosing to design your life and live into compassion and lessen the guilt and judgment, you can teach your family to do the same. Find the real you by showing up authentically for yourself and the ones you love. And remember... It's ALL good!!!

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