Context: Client presenting with general anxiety around personal health with a tendency to predict the future negatively, borderline catastrophisation. Took a break at work to engage in the following (online conversation) exchange of texts.
Duration: 40 minutes.
Client: Young Adult Female. 24yrs.
Coach: Hi there. Can we just work through a few questions and you respond as best you can?
Coach: First text question. What can you control in your life?
Coachee: My thoughts?
Coach: Question 2. Are your thoughts real? i.e. If you think about something in the future and predict it negatively, does it often come true? Like have you recently won money at the races?
Coachee: I know I know. I actually haven’t really been worrying about it only if I have time to think like at work sometimes.
Coach: Question 3. If you are no good at predicting the future then what are your options?
Coachee: Not predict it. Just roll with it. What is going to happen will happen and I can’t do anything about that but I CAN live my life!!!
Coach: Question 4. Where can you be most effective in your life and use the brain that you have to best effect to learn from the past and plan for the future?
Coachee: I was actually very proud of myself. I only rang the doctors after a week after the tests. Before when I’ve had one done I’d have rung after 2 days, every day maybe.
Coach: You didn’t answer the question
Coachee: Work, at home, my family, my boyfriend.
Coach: Not the right answer. Try again.
Coachee: Why is that wrong? Oh, in my thinking.
Coach: Try again.
Coachee: Thinking ?!?!?!?
Coach: Not the right answer. If you can think in the past and the future, where can you only take action?
Coachee: Now (Smiley)
Coach: Question 5. Now what are your options?
Coachee: Live in the NOW. Not think about what could be wrong with me because I can’t change that.
Coach: Question 6. What is the only moment you ever have to experience life as it is, positive, negative or neutral, to savour, to be grateful?
Coachee: This moment.
Coach: Question 7. How do you know you are in this moment and nowhere else? This moment of learning and exquisite beauty. This moment that is now gone forever. Delay by Coachee…………… Answer required. This is a big question.
Coachee: By thinking of nothing but what is happening in front of me and around me.
Coach: Question 8. How do you know you are doing that?
Coachee: Because I shouldn’t be worried about myself or have a care in the world. Only about what is happening in front of me.
Coach: Not the required answer. You have only one attempt left before I give you some feedback. This is a big, hard question?
Coachee: Because I will be giving 110% focus on what I’m doing and not wasting concentration on something I can’t control.
Coach: OK. That’s good. Now, just take a moment. Sit at your desk or wherever you can be comfortable. Relax as best you can without drawing attention to yourself. Inhale slowly and deeply. Focus on the in breath right to the top. Then slowly exhale until you have completely let go of any struggle or thoughts you might have. Like the waves, all thoughts pass. Do this regularly, especially when you want to focus your attention.
And especially when you feel that you are getting anxious about whatever. SLOW down into the NOW.
Coachee: I feel like when I do it, every time, I forget more about what I am worrying about.
Coach: Great. The on-board computer / brain you have is only as good as the energy available to it. Manage that energy. Focus that energy and attention on what you can control as best you can. Yesterday is gone. Learn from it. Tomorrow will look after itself but have a plan all the same. NOW is the moment to DO or to BE. Your Choice.
Imagine you are at a bus stop and your thoughts are like buses flying by. Sometimes they appear to be arriving together. Realistically you can travel on only one bus at a time. You decide.
Another way of looking at your thoughts is like you are at the beach and depending on the weather those thoughts / waves may arrive with greater or lesser energy. Would it be wise in a storm to walk into the tide and try to keep the waves back? The positive CHOICE you have is to SURF the thought until the energy is taken out of it at the end. Happy Surfing. Any Questions.
Coachee: Thanks a million. I appreciate that. I feel so much better.
End of Session.