Yesterday’s post explored the difference between an impulsive choice and a skillful one. Today’s post walks through an example; it is one that is universal and is tied to a pretty common impulsive (and therefore emotional) choice.
I am sitting in front of the TV and it is about 8 pm at night. I think to myself “Hmmm, I wonder what I could eat,” and I go to the pantry and open its doors. “I could eat some chips, make some popcorn, have a few cookies or a chocolate bar. Maybe I could go to the freezer and get some ice cream…put some maple syrup on it.”
This is where the pause needs to happen. I know inherently that I’m not hungry, so this is where I need to ask myself “How am I feeling right now?” Perhaps I am bored, feeling a bit restless. Perhaps I am feeling a bit blue, or the stress of the day is now working its way through my system as I have sat down to rest. Perhaps I am feeling a bit like self-sabotaging. Maybe there is a conditioned response happening – one that associates TV and snacking.
When I can identify how I am feeling, I can then ask myself “How is this going to benefit me right now?” The clear answer – “It isn’t.” And from there, I can follow that up with “What do I want the end result to be?”
Well, I certainly don’t want to experience the “I feel bad about myself” feeling that always happens after I have made the impulsive choice. And so I can then move to solution – if I am bored I can do some crafting while watching my show. Perhaps I can examine why I am feeling down, or what stress is lingering. Ultimately, I am making the connection between how I am feeling and the action urge that follows it.
In any case, when I choose in that moment to close the pantry doors, and return to the TV, I can feel proud of myself for having made a skillful choice. 🙂
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@reskp