Activating your superpower

May 01, 2020

The pandemic has been, among other things, the great amplifier of emotions. For weeks many have been forced to be still and as a result, the emotions they have been avoiding started hitting hard. Widowed people already navigate a host of big emotions - just add a global pandemic and we get a tsunami of difficult feelings.  

As parts of the country begin to reopen, a new wave of uncertainty, worry and anxiousness will likely hit. It can all feel quite overwhelming.  

Interestingly, worry, confusion, anxiousness and overwhelm are all emotions that keep our brains in a spin cycle. It can be hard to break free, especially since we are tempted to think that these emotions are the direct result of the pandemic.  

But the truth is that no feeling is ever the direct result of any circumstance. There is a protective layer that exists between circumstances (that which we cannot control) and how we feel. That protective layer is our thoughts. Thoughts are 100% optional, and they are our superpower.  

If you’re feeling uncertainty, worry, anxious or overwhelmed, ask yourself why. What thoughts are creating those feelings? Write them down. Then ask yourself if those thoughts are both true and useful. If you can’t answer yes to both, it’s time to create a new thought and direct your brain to think it, on purpose.  

If the thought is both true and useful, the next step is to deal with the feeling it is causing.  

Never in our development are we taught how to deal with negative emotion. It’s tempting to sweep them under the rug or reach for an “escape button” such as overeating, overdrinking, over-working, over-Netflixing and the like. The truth is that those are not true escapes because the big emotions are still waiting to pounce. We can run but we can’t hide.  

Another option is to allow or process a big feeling. Invite it in. Sit with it a while. Describe how it feels in the body. Notice where you feel it in the body. How does it make you want to react? Breathe into it and simply allow it to be there. Be willing to fully experience it. As you do this, you’ll very likely notice it lesson in intensity and shrink down to a more manageable size. You may even notice it disappear.  

As we slowly transition back to some version of “normal,” it’s a great time to realize the superpower of your thoughts. Not only do they help you feel better, they ultimately create every result in your life. They always have, they do now, and they always will.  

Teresa Amaral Beshwate, MPH, The Sudden Widow Coach, helps widows who have experienced the sudden loss of their spouse or significant other learn to live and love their life again. Her coaching program is exclusively for widowed people and offers the perfect mix of private and group coaching along with the most life changing tools for the uniquely challenging widowed journey. 

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