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  • Writer's pictureSteve Crabb

Is Your Thinking Vicious or Virtuous And Does It Matter?

Have you ever woken up to a sunny day and thought to yourself "ahhh life is good" and a few days later nothing much has changed apart from the weather and you feel like all you want to do is roll back under the duvet and hide from the day.

Stress management - duvet day
Stress management - having a duvet day

Welcome to the world of the average domesticated primate, even those who are coaches have their ups and their downs. Heaven protect us from those who are "sorted" and never have a bad thought or an off day. I'm sure even Mother Teresa had her cranky moments, it's part of being human.

For most people new to coaching, one of the first big insights they get is that your thoughts affect your emotions and that emotional states have a profound influence on your behaviour. Ask a depressed person to do any task and imagine the dramas that unfold then imagine asking the same person to do the same task when they have just fallen in love. Okay, perhaps not the best comparison as when people are in love their focus is often elsewhere but I'm sure you get the point.

Thinking affects states and states influence perceptions and behaviours which feeds back and influences thinking...simple!

This feedback can be either a vicious or virtuous circle. The great news is we are all only one thought away from a new one and we get to choose whether it's vicious or virtuous. 

A trap many fall into is trying to micro manage their thinking and giving them selves a hard time when they struggle with this or berating themselves at having had a poor thought in the first place. Remember that it's just a thought and just like the weather it will change, just having this awareness will sometimes be enough to see the clouds part and the sun break through. When you really get this point even a grey duvet day is okay.

In the classic coaching film "Finding Nemo" (so many metaphors in this brilliant film) there is a scene where Nemo and Dory are in the depths of the water looking at a golden shiny light, they are in awe of it's beauty and are feeling wonderful. As the light gets closer they see that the light is the lure dangled by an angler fish with long razor sharp teeth. Dory utters the line which had me in stitches while my children were sitting in terror at this scene "Good feelings gone!". In an instant external changed internal feeling changed.


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