Your mind is constantly telling a story with or without your permission. It narrates what it sees and begins to label and file its interpretations. The efficiency of this amazing machine is what gives human beings creative and critical thinking – we can use this to our advantage when we are mindful and engaged, but most of the time our brains function without our conscious knowledge.
When there is missing data, our brains automatically fill in the gaps.
It’s a protective mechanism built into us – a way to stay alert to potential harm. It uses previously filed information to tell a story that makes the most sense according to previous experiences.
The part where this automatic system gets in the way of happiness is when it induces stress by the stories it tells – because many of them are negative.
You know the coworker who didn’t smile at you in the hall, and you made up a story they were mad at you? You know the meeting you attended when your idea was tabled for another day, and you made up the story your work wasn’t valued? You know when your kid was left out of a Facebook post, and you made up the story that it was intentional and your kid’s worthiness was being challenged? How about the time your spouse got a text that could’ve been interpreted positively, but you told yourself the story that he’s interested in someone else? Yea…all made up.
They FEEL true which is why we have an emotional response, but they’re just a story…your interpretation of an event. And more than likely you acted on that story in a way that only CREATED evidence to make your story true, which induces stress.
Become acutely aware of the story you’re telling yourself. Say to yourself (or studies show greater sustained change occurs by telling someone else) “The story I’m telling myself is…”, and then bring it out in the open. Decide if it’s really true. Once you’ve brought that story out for what it is – just a story – you have two options:
- Change it.
- Stop telling it.
Take those automatic thoughts, running wild and telling stories, captive.
Once you quiet that busy, busy brain, stress is instantly reduced and you can engage and connect with all your energy – with your whole heart and remarkable mind.
Contact us for further work with your story.
INspired Leadership Team, Rachel Thalmann
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