Have you ever read/heard/seen something that strikes you so powerfully that you find yourself still thinking about it days later? That’s how I’m feeling about a recent installment of The Lively Show, one of my favorite podcasts. In the episode, the host Jess Lively spoke with life coach Brooke Castillo about how to experience more positive emotions. While I’m sure we could all use more positivity in our lives, this topic was especially pertinent to me as spring, aka the most trying part of the school year, is upon us. On the last night of my spring break, I tuned into Brooke’s episode assuming I would pick up some tips for how to avoid falling in a whirlpool of anxiety over the next couple months. Little did I know I was in for so much more.
I’ve listened to a lot (and I do mean a lot) of amazing podcasts in my time, but this fifty-minute segment was definitely one of the most inspiring. Throughout the episode, both Jess and Brooke offered some amazing soundbites of advice, all of which I quickly scribbled into my journal. These ladies covered everything, from the danger of an unsupervised mind to the underlying purpose of self care. What stuck with me most, however, was the idea that our emotions are not the result of external circumstances, but instead are the product our internal thoughts. Therefore, perpetuating negative feelings, like stress or overwhelm, are the because of a continuous negative thought cycle. In other words, we feel the same feelings because we are thinking the same thoughts.
This concept might sound like a no-brainer, but it is something I myself struggle to remember. Whenever I’m feeling down, I immediately blame my current situation, be it a large homework load or a tiff with a friend. The same goes for when I’m happy: I attribute my joy to whatever is going on externally, and once that circumstance goes away I become despondent. Listening to Jess Lively’s talk with Brooke Castillo, however, reminded me that dealing with my emotions does not have to feel like tug-of-war. Despite the stories I tell myself, I am not trapped by negative feelings, nor am I dependent upon outside situations (read: ice cream) in order to experience a positive mindset. On the contrary, by recognizing the thoughts that instigate both gloomy and cheerful moods, I have tremendous power to lift my own spirits and create my own internal source of happiness. With consciousness and dedication, Brooke explained, it is possible to replace toxic thoughts with nourishing ones, and to harness the power of the thinking that feeds you best. When I heard her say this, I literally sat up a little straighter in bed. The words were so relevant to my present situation, it was as if they were meant just for me.
Over the next few weeks, I am going to make a serious effort to remember Brooke and Jess’s message. Breaking out of negative thought patterns isn’t an easy task, but I think of it like buying an expensive LBD: The initial payment might make you cringe, but rewards you reap in the future will be so. worth. it.
What do you say? Want to harness your own emotional power along with me?