It can feel impossible to view your challenging circumstances in empowering ways when your thinking mind has you convinced there aren’t any other views available. Your mind can only see the limitations, which can’t help but impact anxiety and mood, right? But there’s a trick you can use to softly invite your mind to open to new perspectives that feel so much better…
Sometimes it’s the kiddos who remind us of what’s true.
My wife and I went on a daytime date yesterday. We left the kids home with our beloved babysitter for another COVID-style afternoon of outdoor babysitting.
They went hiking in the woods and returned home JUST as the skies opened up. This meant they were confined to the covered front porch for ‘arting’ and games.
But look where we found our 9-year-old when we arrived home. It totally cracked me up, but it also reminded me of something. There are so many ways to view our challenging circumstances, even when it doesn’t always feel this way!
Having to stay on the front porch due to the rain could have left her feeling trapped. But instead, she thought outside the box. The rain didn’t mean that her options were limited. And she clearly remembered this!
How often do we remember this as adults? The year 2020 has surely created a feeling of limits and decreased options, right? But it’s also inviting us to think outside the box.
I look around and see this happening everywhere. Creative ways of schooling, new ways of dining out, brand new ways of socializing and connecting, etc.
Despite the marked limitations all around us, new options and perspectives are always perched, just waiting to be discovered.
Our thinking minds often forget this, though, huh? They become convinced of the limitations, which can’t help but affect our mood!
I’ve learned it can feel impossible to view my challenging circumstances in empowering ways when my thinking mind has me convinced there aren’t any other perspectives available.
But I’ve also discovered a trick that’s often helpful. I can word questions in a certain way and pose them to my thinking mind without expecting an answer. It’s a way to give my mind something to chew on. And in that process, my thinking mind unintentionally becomes curious! It begins to wonder about other possibilities, perspectives, and options.
I call them Power Questions because they quietly ease the sense of powerlessness that accompanies a lack of options or choices. They help you tap back into a sense of your own power in your world.
Here’s a particular Power Question I use a lot: “I wonder what other possible options or solutions are gonna show up that I haven’t even thought of yet?”
Do you see how the question doesn’t actually require an answer? In fact, it relieves the pressure to even find one. Instead, it creates a little sliver of possibility that other solutions are out there despite the fact that you can’t yet see them.
Another one that many of my clients with health anxiety find helpful is, “I wonder what other outcomes there could be to this that I haven’t even thought of yet?”. Or “What if the outcome turns out to be far less scary than I’m imagining?”. This can be particularly helpful for the times when you begin to develop symptoms of illness and your mind is immediately convinced you have COVID… or cancer… or a brain tumor…or MS, etc. And before you know it, your mind has future-tripped and mapped out your demise and has you jumping into the bottomless rabbit hole of google research, right?
So if you are seeing all the limitations in your life, feel out of options, or feel convinced there’s only one outcome possible, I invite you to play with these Power Questions.
The ones I listed above are just a handful. In truth, there is an endless number of Power Questions that can be created.
Notice how it feels when you pose the question to your thinking mind. Sometimes one question feels better than another so play around a bit.
Often when you pose the question that’s the right fit for that moment, you will feel something in you relax a little. You’ll feel a sliver of hope move through as your thinking mind suddenly taps back into a bit of curiosity. These questions can soften the rigidity that comes when your thinking mind feels overwhelmed and out of options. And your feeling of powerlessness can ease.
Let me know what you find! And if you have any questions or need clarification about how to pose these Power Questions to your thinking mind, comment below and I’ll respond!
It continues to amaze me how kiddos can remind us of what’s true simply by being themselves. As my daughter sat under her umbrella in the rain, reading to her heart’s content, she reminded me that there are so many ways to view our circumstances. And more options than our thinking minds might have us believe. How could I not share this reminder with all of you? ❤️
P.S. If you’ve been enjoying my weekly blogs and are itching for more daily inspiration, friend me on Facebook (Emily Colwell) or follow me on Instagram (dr.emily_colwell). I post frequently and humor leaks into most of my posts!
Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND
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