Have you ever noticed that if you are in a foul mood, you tend to feel tired, perhaps even in pain? This is because your thoughts, emotions, body, and behavior are all interconnected. Your thoughts cause your emotions, which are then felt in your body, and all this affects your behavior. If one of them is negatively impacted, they will all be negatively impacted.
If your thought is: I am failing as a parent.
Your emotion might be: Feeling worried or demoralized.
Your body might feel: Tense or maybe you get a headache.
Your behavior might be: Acting short-tempered or being indecisive.
What you might not have considered is that if you can positively impact one of them, you can positively impact all of them.
Just like they can all be impacted by negativity, your thoughts, your emotions, your body, and your behavior are also all entry points into feeling better. If you can find a healthy way to positively impact any one of these four things, all four of them will feel better. If you go for a walk, your body will obviously feel better, but guess what will also happen? Your mood will lift, you will stop being so short-tempered, and your head might be cleared enough to find some better-feeling thoughts you can have about your parenting skills.
If your body feels: Invigorated.
Your emotion might be: Confidence.
Your behavior might be: To engage in inspired conversation.
Your thought might be: I love my children, and I am going to figure this out.
The next time something in your life feels negative, consider which of the four entryways for feeling better makes the most sense: 1) Change your thoughts; 2) Change your emotion; 3) Change your behavior; or 4) Change your body.
The truth is, sometimes it is hard to think your way through a problem. Some of our triggers and thought patterns are deeply hidden, and thinking our way through them can take more than a couple of tries. Plus, you have access to better-feeling thoughts when you feel better emotionally, so it is always a good idea to do something to feel better before you try to replace a negative thought with a more positive one.
If you cannot feel better by changing your thoughts (Entryway #1), what else can you do as an entry point into feeling better? You might:
Listen to a song or watch a funny video to change your emotion. (Entryway #2)
Call a friend or do something nice for someone else to change your behavior. (Entryway #3).
Do three minutes of deep breathing or go for a walk to change your body. (Entryway #4)
There is always something you can do to shift your focus off of the upsetting situation and onto something that feels better emotionally, physically or behaviorally. Positively impacting any of these things generates better-feeling thoughts, which starts a spiral in a positive direction.
Becoming aware of the interplay between your thoughts, emotions, body, and behavior is a powerful resiliency skill.