Ahhh, root canals.

I had a root canal the other day.
You are so jealous, I know. I am that person who really, really doesn’t like being in the dental chair. Ever. And for a root canal? Ugh. But it was necessary so I’m all in. I know I am nervous because I am cracking stupid jokes with my doctor’s assistant. But when it came time for the ‘magic’ to begin, I dropped into a familiar rhythm of focused regular breathing and the entire procedure was as simple as it could have been. Even when they started drilling and I wasn’t numb enough. (Ugh)
Afterwards, my doctor commented on my breathing. And I told him how grateful I was, especially today, that yoga was a part of my life. Every yoga class, I practice staying with my deep methodical breathing while I am in challenging positions that are making my muscles quake and scream. And now I have a familiar tool that I can use to keep me level in challenging times.
I think you can apply the same philosophy to thought management.
The other day, I got super curious about a situation that has always made me reactive. I did some self-coaching because I know that an event can’t cause an emotion, it is the thoughts I am having about the event that create the emotion. It took a bit, but with the help of curiosity, I really had a ‘whoa’ moment. I then asked myself how I wanted to feel in that situation, and what I would have to think in order to create that feeling. I think I nailed it, and I have been imagining the situation, and practicing the new thought. And through repetition, I am creating neural pathways that allow the new thought to feel familiar, just like my yogic breathing.
And today, I have a real-life test that I am actually a little excited for it. What I have promised myself is that I will do my best to stay present and in my lane, and even if my old thoughts start to take over, that I will always have options. I know it will be better, even if it isn’t perfect and that is ok. Because I am just going to keep practicing. I know I am onto something here.
Small, deliberate, practiced steps have the potential of making profound change.