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Understanding and Navigating our Feelings

Mindful Monday_FeelingsFeelings are a human commonality. Each and every one of us has them. Something takes place, or we observe something, and it has the ability to elicit feelings deep within us. We have the ability to feel strongly about something just as easily as we can feel nothing at all about something else. We can feel compelled or emboldened by something or we can feel as if we’re being held back by something else. We can feel supportive of something or we can feel like working against it. Our feelings are very powerful, and they are a constant throughout our existence. Understanding their origin, impact, and importance is integral as we continue to navigate our path.

Our feelings can come from our experiences. For instance, we’re driving home from work and we see a stunning sunset, or a breathtaking view, and we can feel grateful for the grandeur and beauty we’re amongst even though we just had a terribly hard day. On another day, should we walk into a friend’s home and see a photo from several years ago of a group we were a part of, we can feel nostalgia for those days and gratitude for the experience. In these instances, our feelings have the ability to transport us from where we are and what we may have been previously experiencing to somewhere distinctly different, and it can completely change our demeanor. We may feel a new sense of purpose or we could just as easily feel more overwhelmed.

While we’re perceiving the situations we’re experiencing, our feelings also come from the things we continually tell our self. When we tell our self-something over and over, it begins to take root. In these instances of continually repeating something to our self, we eventually start to believe what we are saying. As Henry Ford said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” When we repeatedly tell our self we cannot do something, or that we are not good enough, or it will never work out, we eventually start to believe it. Even when we have previously proven that we fully have the capacity to do something, or that we are good enough, or it has worked many times, continually telling our self differently leads to us believing it. Subsequently, when we are in that situation to do something, prove we are good enough, or make it work out, we will start to feel deeply like we cannot. We will not feel confident. We will not feel upbeat. We will not feel like our opportunity has presented itself. Instead, we will feel overwhelmed, embarrassed, down, and that we do not want to be in that spot. Regardless of our ability and how many times we have successfully navigated this exact situation previously, we will feel paralyzed, and more than likely we will not act; missing our chance. If we do act, we will not be able to utilize our maximal ability and will prove that we in fact are correct, that we cannot do something, or that we are not good enough, or it will not work out.

It does not have to be this way. Just as the beautiful sunset or the photo of ‘our group’, can snap us out of a whirlwind of a day, we too can snap our self out of our false narrative that has taken root. Things will continue down this self-fulfilling prophecy path however, until we become aware. Through using our awareness, we are better able to understand how the things we are telling our self are taking root, and impacting how we fell about the situations we find our self in. We are then able to map our current, misguided feelings over the things we want to do, recognizing how we, our self, are keeping us from getting there. Then we can act and alter course.

Tommy spent six and a half years in the Marine Corps as an infantry officer, holding numerous leadership positions and doing multiple combat deployments. Upon leaving the service, he worked with multiple nonprofits, helping wounded service members and veterans recover through cycling and triathlon. This work deeply resonated with him and led him to pursue a Master of Arts in sport psychology.

Working in this capacity, Tommy embraces the wise words of Henry Ford, who once said, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford was talking about mindset. Mindset is everything. The way we think, the way we interpret sensory information, and our ability to thrive in complex environments are all determined by our mindset. It grounds our approach. It either helps us get where we want to go, or it is what is holding us back. With this understanding, Tommy works with athletes, performers, and business professionals, to hone their mindset, enabling them to find the results commensurate with their innate abilities.

Tommy is an active endurance athlete residing in Boulder, and can be found on the roads, trails, and pools in the local area.

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