Four emotions that keep you stuck

Jan 27, 2023

What are the three most common feelings you experience?

Many who have lost a spouse often feel overwhelmed, confused, worried or anxious.

And for good reason.

The primitive brain has only one job, to keep you alive. It does this by urging you to 1) seek pleasure; 2) avoid pain; and 3) be efficient.

In an effort to keep you safe, your brain offers you thoughts that naturally lead to overwhelm, confusion, worry and anxious. Why? Because those feelings lead to inaction.

While these feelings are uncomfortable, your brain sees them as less uncomfortable than the feelings you would have to feel if you took the action or made the decision.

One way to look at it is that the brain likes to “indulge” in these feelings because the end result is not taking any action (therefore accomplishing the goal of being efficient).

Also, there is payoff in that moment. There is the reward of temporary relief (accomplishing the goal of seeking pleasure). And, you don’t have to feel the extra discomfort of taking action (accomplishing the goal of avoiding pain).

It’s a safety mechanism orchestrated by the primitive brain, and it works well.

Luckily, we humans can engage our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that allows us to think about what we think about.

Ask yourself whether overwhelm, confusion, worry or anxious are leading you to the results you want in your life after loss. If not:

  1. Identify the default thoughts that are leading to the feeling.
  2. Make a list of other true thoughts that create a different feeling that naturally drives the action you want to be taking. Practice those thoughts regularly, and pause to feel the feeling that each thought creates.

In doing so, you will take the action, make the decision, or take the next step forward. You will have one more win under your belt, and you’ll take more efficient strides toward healing.

This is part of what we do inside of Life Reconstructed, my coaching program exclusively for widowed people who are ready to create the next version of life. It’s the perfect blend of private and group coaching, along with on-demand, life changing tools. Simply click below to begin.

Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

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