One of my staff psychologists, Sandy Matthews, and I were talking about something we heard said in an Oprah Lifeclass called “You Become What You Believe”. The show includes a discussion about how you start each day…are you aware of the very first words you say to yourself when you first wake up?
I’ve been paying attention to that this week and have become remarkably aware of how negative, fearful, and stressed-out some of my very first waking thoughts tend to be. For example…
“I have so much to do today and I know I’ll never get it all done. Just thinking about this makes me feel tired. Today, I really need to be careful not to do any emotional eating.”
“I know I have to deal with (so and so, and so and so) today, get them to give me an update on overdue business projects. I so resent having to chase people down. This makes me crazy! They rarely respond to my emails. Why is it so hard for people I hire to act responsibly…(and on and on…)”
Through observing my very first morning thoughts, without judgment, I’m learning I still have a tendency to start every day in fear….stressed…braced for a tough day. So, am I still creating, attracting this stress and trouble into my life?
I decided to experiment a bit, as suggested in the Lifeclass. These last few days I have deliberately, mindfully, changed my first waking thoughts. The moment I woke up and got conscious that I was having thoughts, I consciously changed the tone of my internal dialogue. Here are a few examples of the kinds of shifts I made.
“Today, I’m going to feel energized and really enjoy feeling productive. I’m excited and feel great about what I am going to accomplish today!
“I have delicious healthy food in the house and today I’m going to easily eat in a way that supports the way I want to feel in my body.”
“Today, my plan is to calmly make calls to (so and so, and so and so), because phone calls work better with them…and at the end of the day, I’ll know exactly where things stand and then I can make my next plans, accordingly.”
It’ such a simple shift. And, with practice, it works! It does take practice though, just as the habit of going to negative thoughts was practiced and took hold, over time. This isn’t brain surgery, but it is brain reprogramming. And, when I change my thoughts, other things tend to shift, as well; my energy, my mood, my sense of empowerment. My need to use emotional eating to stuff uncomfortable feelings becomes a non-issue because I’m no longer stuck in any fear, anxiety, or resentment….or in any other feeling I used to use food to avoid.
I “get to” choose to feel positive and empowered ,verses negative and victim-y…starting very first thing in the morning…and then throughout my day! I like it!
Ellen Shuman is a Life Coach who specializes in empowering people who are working on emotional and binge eating recovery. She is the founder of A Weigh Out & Acoria Eating Disorder Treatment, Vice President of the Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA), and Co-Chair of the Academy for Eating Disorders Special Interest Group on “Health at Every Size”, firstname.lastname@example.org