As I sit here listening to my son wake up for the first time tonight (at 9:00pm), I notice a sudden feeling of disappointment. I look over with dismay at my husband who appears to not be having an emotional reaction at all to the crying over the monitor, and I am full of admiration and envy.
What he has learned (amazingly on his own), and what I am attempting to make habit, is how to use my thoughts to feel better in any situation. As I mentioned in my last post, I learned that I have a choice when it comes to the thoughts I believe and I want to choose not to resist the reality of the baby crying, and instead I want to practice being more accepting.
So I use the model to change how I feel –
I start with the feeling: disappointment. Then I get curious: what is the thought that is causing my feeling? After writing all my thoughts about the situation down, I realize it’s a whopper – my thought that is causing the feeling of disappointment is, “I have failed because I can’t get him to sleep longer than 2 hours at a time.” Sheesh, I am mean!! But again I’m working against 38 years of negative self talk, so those thoughts are expected sometimes.
So, I fill out the beginning of “the model” as it’s called:
C (Circumstance): Infant son is awake and crying.
T (Thought): I have failed because I can’t get him to stay asleep.
F (Feeling): disappointment
In this process, if a circumstance triggers a thought, and a thought causes a feeling, what does a feeling cause?Well, it causes us to take a certain action or inaction.
Example to continue in the model above:
A (action):I am not able to effectively stick to a sleep training plan
Then what does the action produce? A result –
R (result):Infant son continues to wake up frequently during the night.
Huh, isn’t that interesting…my initial thought about the situation has caused me to produce the same result, and to almost prove my original thought that I have failed. It’s like a cycle!
So now what I do is make a new modelwith a new, neutral or positive thought that is believable. I can’t go immediately to the thought “how great is it that the baby is awake!”, so I find a “bridge thought”: “The baby is awake, and that’s ok.” That thought just feels so much better! You can add, “and that’s ok” to any circumstance and the thought will feel better. Or I can think “I am working on helping the baby stay asleep for longer.”
C: Infant son is awake and crying.
T: I am working on helping the baby stay asleep longer.
F: encouraged, hopeful
A: Following my sleep training plan, and being kind to myself
R: I feel better, have more energy and baby starts waking less (that’s what actually happened)
So in short, our THOUGHTS cause our RESULTS. When we look at the model this way, we can see how everything we do in our life is caused by our thoughts.
AND OUR THOUGHTS ARE COMPLETELY UNDER OUR CONTROL, WHICH MEANS SO IS EVERYTHING WE DO AND ACCOMPLISH.
POWERFUL! AND SUPER GOOD NEWS! We can make our dreams a reality if we can just think the right thoughts to get us there.
Comment below and let me know if you tried the model and if it helped!