The recent ice storm in Massachusetts has kept me inside for three days. I pace in front of the living room window staring at the shiny freezing ice covering my car and driveway. I’ll never get my car started. I’m going to break my hip slipping on the ice. I can hear negative feelings start crawling around in my brain, making me feel stuck and limited. I know it is my chatterbox talking to me, that inner judge that is constantly yakking and judging about negative things. If I turn on the radio or TV, it will get worse. I’ll start buying into the opinionated panels and talking heads. It is so easy to soak in negative news, negative opinions, negative people, scary weather forecasts, stressful world news—the list goes on. The last thing I want to happen is to feel stressed, hopeless, discouraged, or despairing.
I’ve learned that I have to manage my inner chatterbox. The book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, by Dr. Susan Jeffers has taught me tools to do this. It demonstrates exercises to use thoughts, actions, reminders and affirmations to counteract this negative thinking. I answer some emails, I take a shower. The truth is it would be easy for me to feel the negative feelings, but I want to choose the positive route. I watch a movie—a romantic comedy. I struggle to not worry – about money, about getting old, feeling bored. I listen to music that inspires me and often find wonderful guided meditations on Insight Timer. I call a friend and we laugh. Whatever it takes. Today, my negative chatterbox isn’t running my life.
I often receive testimonials from participants who experienced my Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway workshops and classes. The latest one gladdens my heart to hear again how this work can change people’s lives.
“Took your course at Hingham Library a few years ago. It was through the Olli program at UMass Boston. The course was and continues to be an immense help in the way I now live my life.
Just thought you would get a kick out of this picture my daughter sent me. She snapped it in the SoHo section of NYC.” MH