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Episode 29: Reframing Thoughts and Finding Your True Self

Updated: 5 days ago


Woman thinking while drinking coffee
Mom reflecting


Intro:

Welcome to the "Wellness in Every Season" podcast, where we embark on a transformative journey towards achieving total wellness, even in the midst of overwhelming moments. I'm your host, Autumn Carter, and I'm thrilled to have you here.


This podcast is a sanctuary for all mothers out there, and we extend a warm invitation to anyone seeking guidance and inspiration. We believe in fostering an inclusive community where we learn and grow together, supporting each other during life's challenging transitions.


Join us as we step out of survival mode and discover the path to thriving, embracing wellness in every season of motherhood. From sleepless nights to new beginnings, we'll explore practical strategies, share heartfelt stories, and uncover the transformative power of self-care and self-love.


Together, we'll unlock the wisdom, strength, and resilience within ourselves, reminding one another that we're never alone on this beautiful, yet demanding, journey. It's time to prioritize your well-being and reclaim your joy, one season at a time.


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EPISODE INTRO

This is Episode 29, titled "Navigating the Mind: Reframing Thoughts and Finding Your True Self," of the "Wellness in Every Season" podcast with host Autumn Carter, we've got something special lined up for our Wellness Wanderers. This episode is designed to delve into the profound relationship between thoughts, emotions, and your authentic self. We'll introduce the transformative technique of cognitive reframing, used both in therapy and coaching, to help you shift from limiting beliefs to empowering perspectives.


We'll also discuss the incredible benefits of mindfulness and meditation for achieving mental clarity and emotional balance. To conclude, we'll share thought-provoking coaching questions aimed at deepening your self-awareness and catalyzing personal growth. Don't miss this enlightening journey toward a more mindful and authentic life. Stay tuned!


Key point #1:

Standing in a cozy kitchen, bathed in the soft morning light that spills golden hues over the countertops, a mother simultaneously brews coffee and makes breakfast. The aroma of scrambled eggs intermingles with the smell of freshly ground coffee. As a pancake is flipped, thoughts flutter to an upcoming PTA meeting. "I'll ace that fundraising pitch," the inner voice resounds, painting the mental sky with strokes of sunshine, each ray powerful enough to nourish the growth of an educational experience.


But the flipped pancake lands slightly off-center, breaking the yolk of a sunny-side-up egg. The spill serves as a metaphor for life's messiness, and thoughts darken. "You can't even flip a pancake correctly; what makes you think you can manage a whole fundraising event?" the inner voice murmurs, its tone echoing like an unwanted whisper in a cavernous room.


The reverie is broken when a young voice cheerfully asks for another pancake. Smiling, more batter is poured into the pan, and the tension in the chest begins to ease. The love felt in that moment transforms thoughts. "Maybe I'm not perfect, but I'm good enough," the mind reflects, feeling like a garden where, despite the occasional weed of doubt, blooms of love and resilience persist, waiting for their turn to reach for the sky.


The day has only just begun, a blank canvas painted with strokes of hope and tinged with shades of apprehension. A deep breath is taken, serving as a reminder that life is a rich tapestry of moments of light and shadow. Each thought, whether luminous or dim, is a thread woven into the fabric of daily existence. Like its weaver, this fabric is a work in progress—ever-evolving but always worth the effort.


As the pancake cooks to a golden brown, a darker thought infiltrates the landscape of the mind, one that goes beyond the immediate imperfections of cooking or parenting. "What if my children inherit my flaws? What if I'm setting them up for a life of mediocrity?" This thought feels like a storm cloud looming in the garden of the mind, casting shadows that temporarily obscure the vibrant blooms of love and resilience. It feels weighty, as if it has the power to make the earth beneath the feet tremble, shaking the foundation of identity.


Jolted by the gravity of this thought, a pause is taken. The kitchen, filled with the aroma of breakfast and the soft morning light, fades to the background. A deep, grounding breath is taken, as if trying to inhale the essence of the sky, the earth, and everything in between. It's a moment of pondering, almost as if standing at the edge of an internal abyss, staring into the swirling whirlpool of emotions, thoughts, and beliefs that constitute daily existence.


How do we learn to separate our true selves from this whirlwind of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs? Do they define us? The question hangs in the air, ethereal yet solid, like a cloud tinged with the gold of the morning sun. It seems to ask for a lifeline, a thread of understanding that can be woven into the intricate tapestry of who we are—flaws, perfections, darkness, and light all included. The answer remains elusive, perhaps because it's not a single thread but a complex weave that makes us whole. Yet the question itself, born from the quiet tension between hope and fear, love and doubt, might be the first stitch in understanding the fabric of our true selves.


Key point #2:

To not be solely defined by your thoughts and emotions is like being a river, where the water is ever-changing, but the essence of the river itself remains constant. Thoughts and emotions are transient, like ripples and waves on the surface, stirred by the winds of circumstance. They might reflect the color of the sky, carry the texture of the earth from which they spring, and even possess the urgency or languidness of the terrain they traverse. But they are not the river in its totality.


In a similar vein, you are not just the sum of your thoughts and emotions. These mental and emotional states can feel overwhelming, like a torrential downpour that muddies the waters or a drought that reduces them to a trickle. Yet, even when the river's appearance and behavior change, it is still fundamentally the same entity, carved from the interplay between earth and water over time. It has a source, a course, and a destination, factors that are largely stable despite the inherent volatility of its constituents.


For a human being, this source, course, and destination could be understood as your values, your life's purpose, and your enduring characteristics—your kindness, your resilience, your intelligence. These are your bedrock, aspects of you that thoughts and emotions can flow over but never fundamentally change. You might experience anger, but that doesn't make you an "angry person" unless you choose to act on that emotion in a way that aligns with that label. You might have a fleeting thought of self-doubt, but that doesn't negate your achievements or your capacities.


Learning to separate your core self from the whirlpool of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs is a lifelong quest, a journey of embracing and understanding the complexity that makes you human. This awareness can serve as a compass, helping you navigate the fluidity and unpredictability of your internal world, always pointing you back to your true north. In this way, you come to understand that while your thoughts and emotions are parts of you, like the changing waters in a river, they do not define the whole, timeless essence of who you are.


[Music]

Segment: Mindfulness Practice:

Begin by finding a quiet space where you can sit or lie down comfortably. Close your eyes if that feels safe, or keep them open with a soft gaze, focusing on a neutral point in front of you. Take a few deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Feel the breath as it enters and leaves your body, grounding you in this present moment.


Imagine yourself as a river, flowing through a serene landscape. You are not just the water, not just the ripples or the reflections on the surface. You are the entire river—banks, bedrock, source, and destination. Your thoughts and emotions are like the ever-changing water. They may sparkle in the sunlight or look murky after a storm; they may rush fast or trickle slowly. Acknowledge them without judgment, as they are integral to the river that is you, but they are not the whole of you.


As you breathe in, envision drawing up the essence of your bedrock from deep within the Earth. These are your enduring values, your core characteristics, the unchanging aspects of who you are. Feel them solidify into a foundation that supports the flow of your thoughts and emotions. As you breathe out, let go of any identification with a single thought or emotion. You are not anger; you are not doubt; you are not elation. You experience these things, but they do not define you.


Bring your focus back to your breath. Imagine each inhale and exhale as a wave passing over your riverbed, each one unique, yet each one also impermanent. Your breath is a constant rhythm, just like your enduring qualities. It's a reminder that even in the midst of emotional storms or droughts of inspiration, the essence of you remains.


Now, silently or softly, ask yourself, "How do I separate my true self from this whirlpool of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs?" Let the question float down the river, like a leaf carried by the current. Don't strive for an immediate answer; simply let it drift, knowing that it's a part of your ongoing journey to understand the totality of who you are.


Finally, begin to deepen your breath, wiggling your fingers and toes, gradually becoming aware of the space around you. As you open your eyes or lift your gaze, carry with you the image of the river and the understanding that you are more than the sum of your thoughts and emotions. You are a complex, ever-evolving being, both constant and ever-changing, like a river flowing through the landscape of your life.


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Key point #3:

In the intricate theater of the mind, thoughts are akin to a diverse ensemble of actors, each stepping onto the stage of awareness to audition for our attention. Some are flamboyant, capturing our focus with their vivid emotional hues; others are more subdued, barely noticeable as they pass through the periphery of our consciousness. In this ever-changing portrayal, thoughts of every kind—doubtful, hopeful, disparaging, encouraging—vie for the limelight.


The thoughts that finally occupy center stage often set the tone for our ensuing actions, much like lead actors drive the direction of a play. When a negative thought—say, one of inadequacy or fear—seizes the starring role, it tends to guide our behaviors into avenues of self-sabotage or hesitation. We might avoid taking risks or shirk opportunities, thereby allowing that thought to further entrench itself in the narrative of our lives. Conversely, when the spotlight falls upon thoughts that are optimistic, encouraging, or resilient, our actions often follow suit, guiding us toward positive engagement with our goals and the world around us.


However, it's crucial to recognize that we are not just passive audience members in this psychological theater; we are also the directors. It's within our power to decide which 'actors,' or thoughts, we want to take on leading roles. Even though our mental landscape is populated by a whole range of characters—some heroic, some villainous—these individual thoughts are not emblematic of who we are in our entirety. They may be part of us, but they are not us.


This is where the essence of choice comes into play, and it's perhaps the most vital part of understanding our relationship with our thoughts. Being intentional about which thoughts we allow to grasp our focus is akin to selective casting for the most important scenes of a performance. We can employ various techniques, such as mindfulness practices or cognitive reframing, to become more discerning directors. These methods allow us to sift through the cacophony, to not just hear all the lines being spoken but to choose which ones deserve to echo in the halls of our mind, shaping our actions and, by extension, our lives.


So, while it's natural for various thoughts to make brief or even recurring appearances on the stage of our minds, what truly matters is which ones we allow to take root, which ones we invest with our focus and emotional energy. It's these chosen thoughts that will not only guide our immediate actions but also shape the overarching narrative of our lives. And that is a production over which we have significant say, if only we choose to exercise our role as directors.


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Key point #4:

The threads that connect cognitive reframing in both therapeutic and coaching contexts are woven from the same fundamental principle: the idea that you have the agency to challenge and change your thought patterns. In therapy, cognitive reframing often functions as a diagnostic tool within the framework of cognitive-behavioral therapy, aiming to identify and replace distorted or unhelpful thoughts. Therapists guide their clients in examining these thoughts and offer structured interventions to reframe them, thereby fostering healthier behaviors and emotional responses.


However, the utility of cognitive reframing doesn't stop at the therapist's door; it extends into the realm of coaching as well, seamlessly integrating with its goal-oriented nature. In coaching, this technique is applied more dynamically, tailored to address specific personal or professional challenges that the client faces. Coaches, whether they specialize in career development or life coaching, employ cognitive reframing as a way to help clients recalibrate their perceptions, which in turn opens up new pathways for action and change. This is particularly effective because it aligns with the coaching objective to facilitate growth by leveraging an individual's strengths and capabilities. Here, reframing becomes part of a broader strategy that incorporates goal-setting and actionable steps, offering a multifaceted approach to meaningful transformation.


Both in therapy and coaching, the aim is the same: to empower individuals with the freedom to choose their thoughts carefully and intentionally. By learning to reframe your thoughts, whether under the guidance of a therapist or a coach, you equip yourself with a versatile skill set that has wide-ranging applications. This practice allows you to become the discerning director of your own life, choosing which thoughts are worthy of your focus and emotional investment. It's this conscious selection that enables you to align your actions with your authentic self, irrespective of the setting in which you learn it.


So, be it within the confines of a therapeutic setting or the goal-driven environment of coaching, cognitive reframing serves as a transformative tool. It equips you with the agency to shape your own narrative, transcending the transient thoughts and emotions that cross the stage of your mind. This ultimately allows you to live a life more closely aligned with who you truly are and the paths you choose to walk.


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Lifehack segment:

Life can often feel like a constant bombardment of information, responsibilities, and emotional turbulence. It's no wonder that amidst this cacophony, your mind may become cluttered, making it difficult to find clarity or peace. This is where meditation comes in as a quiet savior, a tool to help you sift through the noise and create a tranquil space within your own mind. So how can you seamlessly incorporate this ancient practice into your daily life? Here are some accessible ways to do it:


Begin Small: If you're new to meditation, it's okay to start small. Commit to just two to five minutes a day. You can meditate while you're brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or even during your coffee break. The point is to build a habit first; you can always extend the time later.


Make It a Ritual: Tie your meditation practice to a specific part of your daily routine. This could be right after waking up, during lunchtime, or before bed. When it becomes a part of a routine, it becomes a non-negotiable, just like brushing your teeth.


Use Technology: If you find it difficult to meditate on your own, there are a plethora of apps and online platforms that offer guided meditations. These range from general mindfulness practices to meditations focused on specific goals like stress reduction, improving focus, or cultivating gratitude.


Mix It Up: Who says you have to sit in a lotus position to meditate? You can practice walking meditation, do a body scan while lying down, or even meditate while doing simple chores like washing dishes. The key is to be present in the activity, focusing your mind and calming your thoughts.


The Breath Is Your Anchor: Whenever you find your thoughts drifting (and they will), gently bring your focus back to your breath. Think of your breath as the anchor in the midst of a stormy sea. No matter how choppy the waters of your thoughts get, returning your focus to the breath can help you find calmness.


Include Mini-Meditations: Throughout the day, take 30-second or 1-minute breaks to simply close your eyes and breathe deeply, centering yourself. These quick sessions can serve as 'reset' buttons, helping you to clear your mind and refocus.


By incorporating meditation into your daily life, you're giving yourself a gift. It's a commitment to clearing out the mental clutter, to make room for peace, clarity, and a deeper connection with your true self. So, the next time your thoughts feel like a tangled web, remember that a few minutes of meditation can serve as a gentle detangling comb, bringing you closer to peace and tranquility amidst the constant noise.



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Key point #5:

The idea of separating your "true self" from the whirlwind of feelings, thoughts, and beliefs is a concept deeply rooted in various psychological, philosophical, and mindfulness practices. It addresses the human condition of getting entangled in our mental and emotional states, often to the extent that we mistake them for who we fundamentally are. This entanglement can cloud our judgment, impair our decision-making, and even distort our self-image.


Imagine your mind as a vast, clear sky. Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are like the weather patterns that move across this sky—clouds, storms, rainbows, and sunshine. They are ever-changing, transitory, and influenced by external factors. In moments of emotional turmoil or strong beliefs, it can feel as though this weather has become the sky itself; as though you are the storm or the scorching heat. But your true self is the sky—unchanging, expansive, and always there behind the passing weather.


Learning to separate your true self from these transient states involves several steps. Mindfulness is often the starting point; it enables you to become aware of your thoughts and feelings as they arise, without immediately reacting to them. This observational stance allows you to see these mental events as separate from yourself, like watching clouds pass by instead of becoming enveloped in fog.


Cognitive reframing, as discussed earlier, is another tool that can help in this separation. It enables you to challenge and revise thoughts and beliefs that may have become rigid or extreme. When you reframe these cognitive events, you can see them as constructs rather than as intrinsic parts of your identity. You begin to understand that while thoughts and emotions shape your experience, they are not the sum total of who you are.


Therapeutic approaches like cognitive-behavioral therapy, as well as coaching methods, can assist in this journey towards separating your true self from transient mental states. These frameworks often offer a structured environment to explore, challenge, and change these thoughts and feelings. They help you realize that your worth and identity aren't tied to any single thought, emotion, or belief. Instead, your true self is a more complex, resilient entity, capable of growth, change, and a wide range of experiences.


This understanding frees you from the limitations imposed by identifying too closely with your emotional or mental states. It paves the way for clearer judgment, more balanced decisions, and a life lived in closer alignment with your true self, undistorted by the fleeting weather patterns of the mind.


Key point #6:

The notion that "our world is what we think it is" converges elegantly with the concept of separating your true self from the whirlwind of feelings and beliefs. Both ideas hinge on the powerful influence that our mental states exert over our perception of reality. Our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs act like lenses through which we interpret the world, shaping not only how we perceive our surroundings but also how we interact with them.


If you believe that the world is a hostile place, your interactions will likely be tinged with defensiveness or apprehension, thereby shaping a reality that confirms this belief. On the other hand, if you believe the world is filled with opportunity, you're more likely to take risks and seek out new experiences, creating a reality that aligns with that more optimistic outlook. In essence, your thoughts don't just passively describe your world; they actively create it, layer by layer, like an artist adding brush strokes to a canvas.


This is where the practice of separating your true self from your transient thoughts and feelings becomes invaluable. If you're wrapped up in negative emotions or limiting beliefs, you're likely to construct a world that reflects those inner states. However, when you learn to step back, to view these thoughts and feelings as passing weather rather than identifying with them, you gain the ability to question and change them. This is the transformative power of cognitive reframing, which can be honed both in therapeutic contexts and coaching environments.


Once you've gained the skill to reframe or modify your thoughts, you effectively change the lenses through which you see the world. No longer confined by previously limiting narratives, you can construct a reality that is more aligned with your true self and your aspirations. This freedom of thought shapes a reality where you are more empowered, more at peace, and more capable of authentic interactions with the world around you.


Thus, the act of separating your true self from your passing thoughts and feelings isn't just an internal shift; it's a shift that reverberates outward, affecting how you engage with the world at large. In turn, this impacts the kind of world you create for yourself, closing the loop on the symbiotic relationship between your inner state and your outer reality.



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Segment: Coaching Questions

Here are ten coaching questions tailored to the topics we've explored:


1. What is your current understanding of the relationship between your thoughts, emotions, and your reality? How do you see them influencing each other?

2. Have you ever caught yourself identifying too closely with your thoughts or emotions? Can you share an example where this affected your behavior or decision-making?


3. How do you currently manage overwhelming thoughts or emotions? Do you have any coping mechanisms in place?


4. Are you familiar with the concept of mindfulness? If so, have you tried incorporating it into your daily life to separate your "true self" from your transient emotional states?


5. What are some limiting beliefs or unproductive thought patterns you've recognized in yourself? How have these impacted your life?


6. Have you ever tried cognitive reframing to challenge these limiting beliefs or unproductive thought patterns? What was your experience like?


7. How open are you to the idea of using meditation as a tool for mental clarity and emotional balance? Have you ever tried it before?


8. What obstacles do you anticipate when considering adding meditation to your daily routine? How can you overcome these challenges to make it a consistent practice?


9. In what areas of your life do you feel a disconnect between your actions and your true self? How could mindfulness or cognitive reframing help you in aligning them better?


10. What are some specific goals you have for achieving a clearer mental state and a stronger connection with your true self? How can we create actionable steps toward these goals?


These questions are designed to open up dialogue and encourage deep reflection on the complex interplay between thoughts, emotions, and your true self. They can serve as a springboard for further exploration and personal growth in a coaching setting.



CLOSING REMARKS & EPISODE SUMMARY

Episode summary:

In today's enriching episode, hosted by Autumn Carter, we embarked on a remarkable journey with our community of Wellness Wanderers. The episode was a deep dive into the influential world of thoughts, emotions, and beliefs, scrutinizing how these mental scripts can both limit and liberate us. We explored the technique of cognitive reframing, showcasing its versatility in both therapeutic and coaching contexts. This valuable tool proves that anyone, from the high-flying professional to the stay-at-home mom, can rewrite limiting beliefs into empowering narratives.

Further into the episode, we turned our focus to mindfulness and meditation. We discussed how these age-old practices serve as a sanctuary in the chaotic landscape of modern life. They are not merely techniques but lifelines for achieving emotional equilibrium, quieting the mind, and sifting through the clutter of our mental landscapes to focus on what truly nourishes us.

As we approached the end, we introduced an interactive segment that featured coaching questions aimed at promoting self-reflection. These questions were designed to stimulate an inner conversation, encouraging each listener to ponder their own challenges and aspirations, thereby fostering a more mindful, intentional approach to life.

Thank you, dear Wellness Wanderers, for joining us in today's transformative experience. We trust that you have gained valuable insights and skills to better navigate the intricate terrain of thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, moving you closer to a more authentic and mindful life.

Looking forward to next week, we're thrilled to welcome Tara Gosselink to the show. Tara is a Health and Fitness Coach, a mom of three, and an expert in juggling life's responsibilities with a commitment to well-being. She will unfold her unique "Fit Mum Method," designed to break down mental barriers and build a positive relationship with your body, all without overburdening your already full schedule. This upcoming episode promises to be a treasure trove of practical tips, candid advice, and inspiring stories that will leave you feeling both energized and seen.


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Outro:

Thank you for joining us on this week's refreshing wellness discussion. I'm Autumn Carter, your guide through the seasons of motherhood, and I hope you found inspiration and valuable insights during our time together.


If you resonate with the topics we explored today and want to continue your wellness journey, I invite you to follow me on Instagram at Moms Wellness in Every Season. There, you'll discover a wealth of ongoing wellness tips specifically curated for moms like you.


Sharing our podcast with others is an act of caring, and I invite you to spread the word by sharing, subscribing, and leaving a review wherever you enjoy your podcasts. Your support is deeply valuable to us and enables us to reach more mothers who are seeking transformation and empowerment.


If you have a specific topic you'd like us to cover in more detail or if you're interested in a free coaching consultation, don't hesitate to reach out. You can send me a direct message on Instagram or visit my website, wellnessineveryseason.com, to send an email. I'm here to support you on your wellness journey.


Thank you again for being a part of our vibrant community. I'm genuinely excited to connect with you, hear your stories, and continue this important discussion in the weeks to come.


Until next time, remember to prioritize your well-being, embrace every season with grace, and always strive for wellness in every aspect of your motherhood journey. Take care, and I can't wait to catch up with you soon.



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