Hello, fellow EQ Stars–

Last week, I told you about my big, mucky burn out (here it is if you missed it). Do you know how it feels to be deep in the muck? These mucky times in our lives tell us effectively (and harshly) that we’ve been ignoring our needs big time. But couldn’t we get the message a little sooner—maybe while the muck is a gentle shower and not quite a full-blown hurricane? Though not always, I feel hopeful that the answer is yes—and here’s how.

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Even though big episodes of muck often feel sudden, they don’t just come out of the blue. Certain events, followed by our interpretations of these events, set us up to feel more tired, then more powerless, then more exhausted. Inch by inch, we spiral away from balance, then BAM! We find ourselves flailing in a hurricane of muck. So while our muck often feels like it is coming out of nowhere, it’s actually been setting itself up for days, weeks, months, or years. 

Each inch we crawl toward the muck hurricane is part of a cycle, which Six Seconds calls the Reaction Cycle. Today, we are focusing on the Set-Up Phase— which might be considered the first couple of inches we move away from balance.

Ideally, we would notice the Set-Up phase of the Reaction Cycle long before we are in the full-fledged pile of muck. By identifying the thoughts, feelings, and actions (TFA) you experience in this Set-Up phase, you will be better equipped to respond to your muck before it becomes the full-blown hurricane.

In hindsight, I can see that my particular hurricane of muck was preceded by a laundry list of Thought, Feeling, and Action (TFA) warning signs. Here’s how to recognize yours:

1: Identify Your Personal Warning Signs
Bring to mind a recent situation in which you felt deep in a muck hurricane.  Can you identify a thought, feeling, and action that came before the full-blown hurricane?
 
T: What was a thought warning sign?
For example, I thought in “when” statements. I will finally be able to relax when…. I will finally be happy when…

F: What was a feeling warning sign?
For example, I felt addicted to social media. I also felt anxious.

A: What was an action warning sign?
For example, I isolated myself by not reaching out to loved ones. I also checked my social media a lot.
 
2: Choose Where You Inch
These TFAs you just identified are your Muck Hurricane warning signs. They have an important message for you: Pay attention! Muck ahead!

Now that you know the signs to for, you can become more mindful + aware of these cycles leading up to a Muck Hurricane. I hope that naming these Muck Hurricane warning signs help you feel empowered to take care of yourself and prioritize balance before it’s too late.

You have choices to make. When you notice that you’ve crawled an inch toward the hurricane, you can choose to crawl back. It just takes an inch. Go in the sunshine. Talk to a loved one. E-mail me. Remember your noble goal

In every moment, we can choose to inch toward a hurricane, or we can choose to inch toward awareness, intentionality, and purpose.

What are your most prominent warning signs before a mucky hurricane?

When you remember your time of a recent (or current!) muck hurricane, what emotions are brought up for you?

What are your most prominent TFAs right now as you consider how you will inch forward?

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Maria Jackson

Maria Jackson

Program Manager at Six Seconds
Maria Jackson enjoys writing about the personal side of practicing emotional intelligence. Her noble goal is to “nurture inner illumination,” and she feel grateful to work and live in a world where she can practice daily. She shares stories, tips, and inspirations for living EQ in Illuminate, a free, weekly e-mail column (6sec.org/illuminate). She'd love to hear from you at [email protected]
Maria Jackson

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