What your brain does with uncertainty

I am (for the most part) totally fine with uncertainty. Yea I plan for the future, but know that things won’t always work out that way I visualized them in my head and I’m okay with that. I can’t possibly know what’s going to happen tomorrow. No one can. IMG_0729

But uncertainty hit me at the beginning of the week and scared the bejeebies out of me. My lab/husky mix dog child Kona, who is one active, healthy, 12 year old, woke up Monday morning and couldn’t walk very well. His hind legs were stiff and straight, his back arched, and he seemed to be in pain.

I immediately knew something was very wrong with my normally full of energy happy kid. I stayed home all day to monitor him and made an appointment with the vet.

Then my brain proceeded to freak the hell out. It said things like OMG!...What’s wrong with him?... This is the beginning of the end… What if he has cancer… I’m not ready for this… You get the picture. Not pretty! Or comforting.

And unfortunately, that’s what our brains do. Tell a story and freak out about a made up future that isn’t even here yet.

Absolutely NOT helpful.

So I pulled out some coaching tools to use on myself.

The first one was to sit outside on my deck surrounded by trees, green grass, and singing birds. I closed my eyes, breathed in, and breathed out.

Then I looked at the situation. I had only two facts in front of me. 1- my dog wasn’t walking right and 2- he was in pain. That’s it. TWO facts. Everything else was just an anxious story my mind spun about what those two facts might mean.

I also noticed and observed the crazy thoughts I had about the gloom and doom of what the future “might” hold. When I did that I became anxious and scared. And then I cried. I let those suckers flow.

Then after crying I’d come back to the present moment with my two facts. And just focusing on those two facts was so much more doable. He’s not walking right, he’s in pain. I’d already made a vet appointment, so help would be coming. I lay with him on the floor petting him and watched him sleep. Interestingly enough, if you are sleeping you don’t know you’re in pain and your back legs work great. Especially because I watched him running in his dream.

That was the key for me. To stay present with the facts. Yes, I was sad that something was off for him, but staying just in the moment, one moment at a time, made it so much less stressful and anxiety provoking.

I’m not going to lie to you. My brain toggled back and forth between staying here and jumping into a scary future. But at least I know I had control over it. I chose whether or not I worried.

You can do it too. Notice something you are worried about for the future. Notice the thoughts you have around it and how you feel. Now notice what the actual facts are in the situation now. Notice the difference between the two.

We made it to the vet and my Kona had a herniated disc in his back pressing on a nerve affecting his legs. He got an injection plus great meds and he is SO much better. My boy’s spunk is back. I am beyond grateful for amazing veterinary medical technology.

And for coaching tools to help me stay here and now. Because that’s where life happens. Not tomorrow or 6 years from then. In each little moment. Now. I can handle life if it’s broken down like that.

I bet you can too.

Leave a comment on the blog below, or email me, coachwithsusan@hotmail.com.

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