December President's Message

Be Mindful and Pop Those Bubbles

Research says that on average we have 50,000 negative thoughts in a day, with 80% of them being negative and 95% of our thoughts being repetitive. This means our negative self-talk is on a constant loop in our head. It’s amazing we get anything done in our lives and businesses with our brains being wired to be such downers. Negative self-talk even changes the actual biochemistry of our tissue. It’s stunning to think that dialogue, whether internal or external, can have such severe impact on us mentally as well as deep within us, and builds the case why self-care and being kind to oneself is so critical. 

Positivity has the amazing benefits of reversing illness, increasing self-esteem, and serving as an antidote for procrastination, perfectionism, depression, poor relationships, and self-blame. In addition to creating better health and well-being, positivity is a predictor of success in life. 

In fact, if you really want proof of the impact of negative communication and the amazing benefits of positive communication, check out this study of a plant being bullied. You will see the negativity was literally killing one plant, while the positivity led to the other plant thriving. 

How can we mentally live in a more positive space when 40,000 negative thoughts pollute our cerebral airwaves on a daily basis?

Five years ago, I started a tradition of running in a Turkey Trot with my dear friend Jill on Thanksgiving morning, in spite of the frigid Columbus temperatures and the temptation to sleep in and take it easy on the holiday. 

First, you should know that Jill is the consummate cheerleader and because of her constant positivity and encouragement, I’ve fallen “victim” to being roped into multiple physical challenges over the past six years I’ve trained with her, including Turkey Trots, which I would never have believed I could do if not for her belief in me. These challenges have ranged from training for half marathons in freezing rain, running in temperatures in the teens, to a 10-mile trail run that had us changing elevation by 1,000 feet on a rock-strewn path in the hills, really mountains, of Southern Ohio.

Since Jill hung up her running shoes two years ago, I’ve been running solo. She is still in my ear, every step of the way, mentally cheering me on during this year’s Turkey Trot. To my disbelief I had a personal record (PR) by 30 seconds for my finish time which is the fastest I’ve run any length of race since I started 18 years ago! That means I’m running faster at the age of 49 than I did at 31. (I like to think I’ve reversed the aging process!)

Jill’s angel-on-my-shoulder effect must have combatted the surprising amount of negative self-talk I had during this particular race. Over the past two weeks, I keep thinking about my unfulfilled true potential because of my inner critic. What more could I have accomplished that day if I had mindfully pushed away that negative self-talk and embraced the positive more fully?

One practitioner of mindfulness, a practice which she uses to help combat the negative thoughts, calls it “popping bubbles”.  This means that a negative thought enters your mind, you acknowledge the thought, picturing it like a bubble in the air with the negative message written within it, then picture yourself popping the bubble. Voilà – the image disappears and the negative thought with it.

Imagine how much more any of us could accomplish with better energy and mental peace if we learn to “pop bubbles.” What negative image would you pop from 2018, so you can replace it with a positive image or message?

We at NAWBO Columbus are blessed to have so many members and partners in the health, wellbeing, and coaching fields who help us pop bubbles. They provide great advice like this, and other tools, to strategically overcome our hang-ups and hardwiring so we can continue to keep ourselves well as a priority. As our November speaker Luconda Dager advised, it has to start with us if we are to provide the necessary support our clients, employees, and families depend on us to give. 

I hope you can join us for the Health and Wellness monthly program on December 6th to learn more strategy and insight into keeping each of us feeling as healthy and well as possible. 

I also wish to congratulate you on knowingly or unknowingly having “popped bubbles” in 2018 in order to achieve the small and large successes you made happen to enter into an even more successful 2019. 

Happy Holidays NAWBO Tribe! Cheers to you…

Tonya Tiggett

President, NAWBO Columbus