#1 Tip to More Energy

May 21, 2021

 

Why You’re So Tired

 

I know you’re exhausted from trying to take care of your loved one and everyone else. Your loved one needs special care. Your husband. Your kids. Your mother-in-law.

I get it. It feels like it’s your job to keep them all happy, but now you’re wiped out.

I have good news for you. It’s not your job or even within your control to make anyone happy or feel any particular way. Here’s why.

Our thoughts create our feelings—all of them.

Our emotions don’t spring from things that happen or what people say but from our very own beliefs.

Inside of us (1).

We think something, and then our brain releases a chemical that causes us to feel happy, sad, frustrated, excited, or any other emotion. 

So to “make” your loved one happy, you’d have to control his or her brain.

You can’t. And trust me—you don’t want to. Grandma is the one to decide how she’s going to feel. Not you. This is true for every person in your life.

So what does this have to do with having more energy? Doesn’t energy come from eating healthy food, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep?

Yes! But how many of us do those things regularly? Why or why not?

Those things are secondary wellness. They come naturally BECAUSE of our thoughts that create feelings of love and gratitude for our bodies, and crowd out guilt and overwhelm when we practice good self-care.

In fact, the primary form of self-care is emotional wellness. Learning to notice our beliefs and how they create our emotions. That’s what predicts our success at self-care.

If there’s ONE thing you take away from the following little story, I hope it’s this.
Our energy is created by our thoughts, not our circumstances. Every. Time.

Running Emotionally Ragged

I take care of my husband, Joe, a veteran of the Gulf War. He came back from his first deployment changed and nervous.

During the four years that included two more deployments, he started acting paranoid, controlling, and jealous. Joe has several problems, the main one being schizophrenia

Within a few years, I felt like I didn’t know my husband very well at all. He wasn’t the man I married. I wondered if I’d married the wrong guy. How did I not see this before?

Going over journals and memories and other people’s stories, I realized that he wasn’t like this before.

I noticed myself thinking, “I’m always walking on eggshells. Our kids don’t deserve this.” And I began to suspect I couldn’t go on anymore.

All thoughts. All optional.

I finally learned to see that “walking on eggshells” was just me deciding to feel bad now in case my husband came up with something crazy to say or do later that would make our family uncomfortable.

 

                                         

 

Brilliant. Feel awful now because there might be something to feel bad about later.

My brain told me that it would be useful to be unhappy now so there wouldn’t be any surprises later. It’s good to prepare, right?

For what?

I was acting schizophrenic just like my fella, preparing for an uncomfortable possibility by for sure being miserable now.
My thoughts about walking on eggshells made me feel nervous, alert to danger, and tired.
So I showed up for myself and my family by skirting around issues that needed to be addressed, living in fight or flight mode, and emotionally eating to bring temporary relief from my feelings.
Exhausting.
What about the thought that my boys didn’t deserve this? Wasn’t that true? It sure felt factual to me at the time. But 
it was just a thought.

Our boys are grown now, and they have turned out to be compassionate men who serve their communities and their families responsibly and are happy and healthy in mind and body.

If anything, their experiences with their dad and me being ridiculous equipped them with compassion and understanding for others around them who are struggling.

 

                                         

 

What are the circumstances in your caregiving journey that are creating discomfort for you?

I guarantee it isn’t the circumstances at all but your thoughts about them that are creating your fatigue.

The Lie Keeping You Tired

My thought that my husband isn’t the man I married, that I don’t know him anymore and that he’s totally different is more than just a thought.
It’s a lie.
Joe is the same guy I married in a lot of ways. He’s super witty and cracks me up all the time. We still enjoy watching movies together and spending time outdoors. He adores me, loves his kids, and laughs and cries when he sees photos of our granddaughter.
He works SO HARD to be “good,” and trust me when I tell him his delusions aren’t real.
My husband is my hero, again and again, every day since he served his first deployment. He’s usually the first one to say “I’m sorry” when we fight.
I love my husband. I’d marry him again. I’m better for having him walk through this life with me. He’s taught me so much.
And our boys think the world of him. They see him keep going and not giving up—on them, on his marriage, or his values.
On his life.


My Second Wind.

Instead of walking on eggshells or thinking our children don’t deserve this, I choose to nurture these thoughts:

Joe is going to say and do crazy things. 

I love him anyway.
It doesn’t mean anything about me when he yells, accuses me, or makes ridiculous requests.

It means he’s scared.

 

                                         

 

If others are critical of him or how I take care of us, that says something about them, not him or me.

We’re doing what’s best for our family.
Joe usually does what schizophrenic people do.

I’m doing what a loving wife does, whether he likes it or not.
It’s okay to be sad or frustrated when we’re having one of those days.

Everyone has them.
I’m open to feeling joy with reckless abandon on the good days.

I don’t fear the future.
Being on high alert for trouble doesn’t ever help.

It just makes me feel bad ahead of time.
I’m always going to love Joe no matter what.

And there’s nothing he can do about it.


Your New-Found Energy Source

I know what you’re thinking. “Why didn’t someone tell me this earlier?” 
It’s a TOTALLY different way to live, and it feels so much better—not to mention the people around me like the new version of me better too.

Choosing what you want to think and feel creates energy by tapping into chemicals in your brain to produce feelings.

But where do you start? Even the most energy-efficient engines need an initial kick.

You can start by noticing how you feel right now.

Because that’s so much easier to notice than the thought that created it.

Go ahead and write it down. How do you feel? Annoyed?

 

                                         

 

Now figure out what thought made you feel that way. This blog writer thinks it’s that simple.

How do you want to feel? It’s your choice. Anything. Curious? Happy? Annoyed?

It might be that you want to feel annoyed. That’s okay. But notice that I didn’t make you feel that way. This article didn’t make you feel anything. It’s just words on a page.

What if you wanted to feel confident?

What thought will make you feel that way?

Now instead of just saying that thought over and over and trying to make yourself feel it, ask yourself if it resonates. Does it makes sense, and do you believe it?

Really.

It has to be something your brain will buy. You can say platitudes and positive affirmations all day long, but if it doesn’t ring true to you, nothing will change in your brain or your emotions.

If you’re feeling lonely and you want to feel companionship, it might be a stretch for your brain if your loved one is withdrawn or moody, and you’re saying over and over to yourself, “I feel loved and supported.”

Maybe you can start with curiosity. That’s a fun and helpful emotion.

You can ask yourself, “Why is she moody?”

Your brain might offer an instant explanation, an accusation, or judgment. It’s okay if it does. Our brains think that’s helpful and protective. You might even judge yourself too, for the thoughts you discover.

Another question might be, “Is she being moody, or is that my thought?”

Maybe she’s worried or confused.

What about a feeling of compassion? Does her behavior seem understandable, given the situation and the thoughts she might be having?

What thoughts about her make you feel compassion for her?

 

                                         

Your Endless Supply of Energy

Chose your thoughts—those that lead to emotions you want will give you unlimited mileage as you care for your loved one.

It’s okay if she’s moody. She’s been through a lot and is withdrawn because she feels confused. Her world might not make much sense to her anymore.

I can love him and comfort him if he needs me. I can mind my own business and just love him from across the room if my presence is uncomfortable for him.

My relationship with her comes from my feelings for her, not the things she does or doesn’t do.

He’s precious, and I cherish him just as he is. He’s lucky I know him and am willing to take care of him because I’m the best person for the job.
 
Thought work is challenging but will load you up with natural feel-good emotions and a continual influx of energy. You’ll eat, exercise, and sleep better with neuro-chemicals that fill you up instead of drain you.

Now go take a nap.
You deserve it.

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