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Hack Your Thinking to a Better You

The Situation

In the pitch black, yellow eyes glowing and mouths snarling, they’re inching closer. Massive staying power, fearsome, dangerous, and, once they smell blood, are unlikely to let you out of their grasp. Like a pack of hungry wolves in the wild, your thoughts, particularly during stress, demand attention. If you stand face to face with a hungry pack on the hunt, what do you do?

The Reaction

Most, if not all, stand face to face with this beast every day. Most, if not all, take shortsighted actions. We give in. We ruminate. We focus on that which we shouldn’t. Some for a time too long. Some for just long enough to derail them from what they were doing. The physiological reaction we experience during mental & emotional threats is the same we’d experience if we were actually being cornered by a pack of wolves. We run. We do everything we can to escape. And as quickly as possible. But, this focused tunnel vision has a side effect: we can't see outside the tunnel. We’re unable to see the bigger picture — how our actions now impact our tomorrow — and we risk sacrificing the long term for the short term.

While the physiological reactions may be similar, the situations are everything but. If you actually stood face to face with a pack of wolves, you probably should run to the closest tree and climb as quickly as possible. This is exactly why humans have evolved the fight or flight response. When you stand face to face with a difficult conversation with a loved one or a nerve-wracking presentation at work, there’s no actual immediate threat to your survival.

The Resolution

So, first, stop and breathe. Give yourself the gift of perspective and think ahead: what are the consequences of what I do today on what happens tomorrow? How am I incentivizing these thoughts? What am I training them to do tomorrow: come back more aggressively or lay low?

Every time you give in to your thoughts, you feed them. Not only will they come back for more, but they’ll be stronger. And hungrier. So, I urge you, tame them. Next time you face a metaphorical hungry pack, realize that you could turn that pack into a kennel of lovable, loyal dogs. Take a deep breathe, compose yourself, and think about what you’re setting yourself up for. Do you always want to keep running? It's very likely that someone or something will always be willing to chase you.

Unless you stop running now.

Don’t feed your fear, and it won’t come around as often. Don’t give it what it wants, and it’ll leave you alone. The next time your fight or flight kicks in, stand your ground. Every time you take the shortsighted route, the long-term has to pick up the slack. Be brave. And be proud that you’re setting yourself up for a better tomorrow.

Read more: The 3 Step Framework Behind Getting Over Fear and Getting It Done

Do the right thing and, as always, be more than you ever thought possible. For an extra dose of inspiration, see our canvas prints and quoted apparel.

With love,
Pasha & the Bemore Team

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