In a recent blog I offered ten tips to reduce stress, stress and stress management being one of the three components of the Optimal Health Triad I advocate. (If you missed it, click here to read Ten Tips to Manage Stress.) One of the tips offered to reduce stress was to examine and clean up your thoughts about your life circumstance and stressors.
To reiterate, if you fail to manage your stress, your mind and body may experience some undesirable side effects, such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, premature aging, mood disorders, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Stress is also linked to poor dietary choices and hormonal imbalance that keep you overweight. It can be very challenging to manage your thoughts about your life circumstances and the things that cause you stress, but managing those thoughts is the key to managing the stress and reducing its impact on the body.
So, how do you clean up your thoughts? Thoughts seem to happen automatically, so it may feel impossible to change them, but it is possible. And changing your thoughts is key to everything from managing your stress to getting the results you want in any area of your life.
I learned a neat trick called modeling when I did my coaching certification with the Life Coach School. The idea behind modeling is that all of us operate under “unintentional models” which reflect what we are “unintentionally” doing in our lives that are leading us to the undesirable results are currently getting. The acronym for the model is CTFAR, and the acronym translates as follows: C = Circumstances, T= Thoughts, F = Feelings, A= Actions, and R = Results. Under the model, any circumstances you encounter in life are simply neutral facts that are neither good nor bad, at least until we think a thought about those neutral facts. Our thoughts about life circumstances cause us to feel a certain way, and the feelings we feel lead us to take a certain action. Ultimately, the actions we take give us our results. For example, if something we consider stressful occurs during our day triggers our conditioned thought that “when I am stressed, I eat everything in sight”, you may feel, for example, weak or disappointed in yourself. And when you feel weak or disappointed in yourself, you may take the action of making yourself feel better by indulging in food. The result you will get when you try to make yourself feel better with food is that you gain weight, or at the very least, you don’t lose weight.
Above was an example of an “unintentional model”, and we want to replace the unintentional models we are currently operating under with “intentional models” that will lead us to our “intended” & desired results. Using the above example of stress, if something we would ordinarily consider stressful occurs during our day, we can be conscious about it and decide in advance to think a more productive thought about it, such as “stress creates an opportunity for me to treat myself with extra care.” Instead of generating a feeling of weakness or disappointment, your new thought may make you feel nurtured or strong, and those feelings can lead you to renewed dedication to your weight loss goals, which will ultimately result in losing weight versus gaining weight.
If you are not achieving the results you desire, you must examine the results you are getting and track them back up to the thoughts you are thinking that are leading you to the undesirable result. It always starts with a thought! If stress and stress eating are interfering with your weight loss, try cleaning up your thoughts about your stress and life circumstances, which are actually neutral versus good or bad.
Thanks Brooke Castillo and the Life Coach School for developing such a powerful tool for change!
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