Speaker 1: You're listening to the live happier, longer podcast, episode 70.
Speaker 2: Okay.
Speaker 3: Welcome to the live happier longer podcast. This podcast is equal parts, information, inspiration, education and motivation, all dedicated to increase longevity and improving overall quality of life. I'm your host, Molly Watts, and I'm here to help you build the habits of a happier longer life. Let's get started.
Speaker 1: Well, hello and welcome back to the live happier, longer podcast coming to you from a very soggy Oregon. You know, I thought about the fact that it was really rainy and the first thing that my brain wanted to throw out was can we just get a little break here, this whole COVID 19 thing and cruddy, rainy weather, both. But then I had this other thought and it actually made me laugh. It was, well, who cares if it's raining? Just one more reason to cuddle up with a blanket and a good book. What I thought was especially great about the whole moment was my ability to notice my thinking. That would not have been happening just over a year ago. So that was cool. So on Sunday I dropped the Sunday. That's well, okay, so if just before this episode I dropped a special episode. I don't know when you're listening but it was just a couple of days ago right now when I'm recording and it was called a special episode called thinking on purpose.
Speaker 1: And before I get into today's episode, I just want to encourage you to go back and listen to that if you're finding yourself drowning in a lot of negative thoughts right now, I also want to say two small points about thinking on purpose and that is number one, you're going to find it really hard to direct your brain to anything but negative thinking if you are overloading on all the news, social media and stories that are being shared about COVID19. I heard one coach in a podcast this week who I really respect, say you are not a mental Ninja, and I loved that. Not even the best mind managers are letting themselves be overwhelmed with information that creates anxiety and stress beyond what they need to know. Ask yourself, do I really need to know this? You know, I was tempted myself today to click on a story about a nursing home in long Island, but I stopped myself because it's not critical to my wellbeing, to my immediate friends and family and I know that it's likely just going to make me feel sad and anxious.
Speaker 1: So I we all need to constrain and contain and restrain our brains, constrain, contain, restrain, all of it. The one way that we do that is by limiting our exposure to the absolute over abundance of information that is coming at us right now. So the second part I wanted to touch on about thinking on purpose is that I'm not saying you're not going to have any negative thinking or negative emotion right now. Let's just not first of all add to it by being critical of ourselves for having negative thoughts and emotions. We don't need to beat ourselves up about that. And what I do want to try is not allow ourselves to make it 80 to 90% of our thinking. Can we just aim for like 50 50 like equal air time for the positive and the negative thoughts? That would be a great goal.
Speaker 1: Allow yourself the question, what if this time became the impetus for me to create the very best version of myself? What if that is what's going to happen in the next 30 days? So again, 50 50 that's the, that's the goal here folks. Not trying to tell you, not that you're never going to have a negative thought or a negative emotion. Just let's aim for 50 50 all right, so today this episode I want to talk to you about some of the habits that don't serve in me, that I have been having to work really hard on over the last week. And when I say work hard, that does not mean that I've been 100% successful and not doing them. It means that I am taking the time to write things down, to look at my thoughts and really pay attention to all of these thoughts that are leading me to cue the drum roll.
Speaker 1: This is what the episode's about. Buffering all things buffering. So buffering, if you haven't heard me define it before, is when we use external things to change how we feel internally. It's an artificial external thing that changes how we feel internally. Buffers only provide temporary release from negative emotion and they always come back harder than when they started. So for some of us, it's alcohol. For others it's food. For some of it's both of those things. Maybe you spend a ton of time on social media or you watch more TV than you want to shop online. Some of you work and some people even can buffer with exercise, which seems like it's a healthy thing to do, right? But buffering is a way of numbing yourself and your emotions instead of figuring out why you're feeling them and the answer to why you're feeling the most.
Speaker 1: Of course your thoughts, which if you've listened to the podcast at all, you've, you've dialed in with. But for many of us, we aren't even aware of the thoughts that are running around in our heads because they've run around so long in the background of our lives that they have become unconscious. And our habitual reactions occur because we have literally repeated the process for so long and with no real mindful observation that we act in ways that we don't want to. So once we become aware, it becomes easier to notice the thought and the feeling before we react and make and we have time to make a deliberate choice. Ultimately the choice can happen at the thought level when you start directing your mind and telling it what to think. So here's the part that gets tricky. All right? You have to allow all the thoughts and you have to know that you can allow all the feelings to, there is nothing that you can't handle, buffering and numbing happen because we are never really taught how to process our emotions and we have learned that we need to fear our emotions.
Speaker 1: So for many of us, buffering and numbing become longstanding habits that don't service. And I'm right there with you all on that I have struggled with both over eating and drinking as a way of buffering emotions. I have been known to resort to hot tamales and IPA [inaudible] when I am feeling particularly depressed. It's not a pretty sight. And of course after the fact, if not during, it makes me feel physically sick. Now I haven't done it for a while, but I still have done it. And now at least if it did happen, I'd be writing it all down and writing down the thoughts to during, if not immediately, if not, then immediately after. I've worked really hard in the last year on changing my relationship with alcohol and it's truly exciting what has happened and it's confirmed all of what I've learned through self coaching. This was a 30 year plus habit for me.
Speaker 1: And I promise you that if it's possible for me to change my habit of buffering with alcohol, then anything is possible for you. So why are we talking about this right now? Well, it's pretty easy to say to say that the circumstances in our lives over the last three weeks have changed dramatically. The strongest coaches and leaders all have been working over time on managing their own thoughts as well as helping their clients. And we can't ignore what has happened. And we can't pretend as though there aren't terrible things happening as a result of COBIT 19 I know I've been tempted to go grab the hot tamales, grab a beer and watch hallmark Christmas movies. Did you know they're showing them again? Right? So maybe the Christmas movies isn't a horrible option, but instead I'm making tea, taking a bath and starting writing down.
Speaker 1: All of the thoughts that I'm having. One of the bonuses about this whole thing happening is that the thoughts are pretty easy to find. They aren't buried and I'm encouraging myself to write it all down because I think it's great practice. There are other times when the thoughts are going to be a lot further down. It's really easy to just write off buffering to broad-based stress, right? Oh, it was a stressful day at the office. I had a bad day. We have a lot of thoughts that we don't question and right now especially your brain feels like it just wants to stand back and pointed all the crowd around you without finding any of the real, you know, specific thoughts. But I tell you, if you take some time, you really can write it down and find for yourself what the very specific thoughts that you're having that you're thinking that is creating anxiety for you during this time.
Speaker 1: I really want, another thing I want for you to pay attention to is what I call permission giving thoughts. And these are very sneaky thoughts that seem so automatic and true that we don't question them, they sound a little bit like this, I deserve a treat, I want it just this once. I'll try again tomorrow. They seem like decision thoughts like you are using your executive function, but if the thoughts take you to a buffering behavior, they are not coming from your executive function and it's the lower pain that the lower brain that wants to avoid pain and seek pleasure and has no ability to plan or dream about the future. It's the brain that always says those those things that it's looking when it's looking for immediate gratification. So here's what Brooke Castillo has to say about buffering.
Speaker 1: When you stop buffering, you will feel pain. Buffering is what you do to avoid pain, so it makes sense that when you stop, you feel pain. But most of us don't understand this and end up making it impossible to stop buffering. It's similar to walking into a house and turning on the lights. The house is a mess. The obvious and easiest answer is to simply turn the lights back off buffer so the mess goes away, but obviously the mess doesn't go away. You just can't see it. It's the same with emotions. Buffering or avoiding emotion does not make the emotion go away. It just makes us not see or feel it. We pretend it isn't there, but it is there and for a reason. All emotions have a cause so we stop buffering and turn the lights on. Our next job is to remember that the mess seems overwhelming, but we can handle it.
Speaker 1: We can clean it up. Turning the lights out makes it impossible to clean because we can't see going unconscious with buffering has the exact same effect. When we stopped buffering, we will experience temporary pain. The pain is not caused by the lack of buffering. That's important here. The pain is not caused by the lack of buffering. We need to and buffer ourselves long enough to find the cause of the pain. What is the mess that needs to be cleaned up in your mind? Why is buffering even necessary for you? When you start, stop buffering, you start living the truth of your life. You start seeing exactly what is going on in your mind and in your emotions and your actions. When you stay conscious, you can evaluate these patterns in a way that motivates change. You don't want a life or you have to keep turning off the lights. You want a life where you are proud to keep the lights on.
Speaker 1: So in the last episode, the special episode, thinking on purpose, I mentioned it, that in the show notes I would share a link to the workbook for our 30 day ultimate habit building system. Mostly because it has the 30 days of thought downloads and 30 days of thinking on purpose practices exercises. So it's literally, you know, if you use it for nothing else, use it for taking 30 days to really work on your thought, on your thought work and this is going to be a huge thing. If you just do this in the next 30 days. If you really manage your brain and quit buffering away your emotions, it's going to be a huge deal. Anyways, I said I would share that link and I will put the link again in my show notes but I would love to send one right to you with a personalized message.
Speaker 1: So all you have to do is email me email@example.com that's firstname.lastname@example.org and put in the subject line free workbook, not free poster free workbook. And I will be happy to send one off to you so that you can work on your thoughts during the next 30 days. Not to mention, I just love to hear from my listeners like Allie from Toronto, who wrote me to me this week and said, I'm trying to use this time to reset my life and to think of the positive, to make good habits and to get rid of the old thank you again for your podcast. It helps keep things positive for me and myself and others need that, especially now. Allie, I appreciate your email so much and hope all of us can use this time in the very best possible.
Speaker 3: That's all for this week, folks, please stay home, stay healthy, and keep looking for ways to build the habits of a happier, longer life. Thanks for listening to the live happier, longer podcast. If this podcast is helping you and you'd like to go a little deeper, maybe track your progress on your habit building, you should check out our five for life planner. The planner is 13 weeks undated, and you can start literally at any time to create the habits of a happier, longer life. It'll keep you motivated and it'll keep you accountable and Hey, it's affordable. So go to shop dot five for life.co that's shop.buy for life.co and enter promo code podcast for a special discount.