Thoughtful Thursday: Episode 6
Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday’s, a weekly series where we explore our brains, one thought at a time.
Hi Everyone: Welcome to Thoughtful Thursdays. Not the kind of thoughtful like “oh you brought me flowers just because it’s Tuesday, how thoughtful '' No, this is where we will explore our thoughts and how they move us forward or hold us back.
Today’s topic is buffering.
I like to put a definition when possible so it’s easier to make a connection.
Verb; lessen or moderate the impact of (something). Similar: cushion, absorb, soften, lessen, diminish, moderate
Buffering is something we do when we want to take the focus or impact off of our life. There are so many ways to buffer. Overeat, over-drink, over Netflix or social media, porn, shopping. You get the idea.
We buffer because it helps us take our minds off whatever problems or tasks we don’t want to deal with. Some will also relate to this as procrastination, either way, we’re not doing or feeling whatever is going on in our lives.
Buffering is sneaky. It makes you believe it’s important. I know for me, when I’m having a very stressful day or beginning a really big project my mind will sneak in and say things like “Oh, remember, you didn’t eat lunch today you should go get something to eat and you’ll feel better and be able to function better”. (lie) Or it will say “what a stressful day, you should relax, have a glass of wine and come down from the day or you’ll end up having a heart attack”. (lie)
Buffering is your brains’ way of keeping you safe. Keeping you from actually feeling or doing the hard things because that’s what our brains do. They look for the easiest least stressful way to deal with life so we can keep all our energy for when the tigers come into the cave to eat us!
But buffering is not doing you any favors. By not dealing with life you rob yourself of what life really is, and it can be messy sometimes. Most people buffer to “feel better”, but the object is not to feel “better” all the time, the object is to just feel. Sometimes feelings feel bad and that’s OK. When you are sad, you don’t want to feel good. When you experience grief you don’t want to feel good. When you learn to sit with your feelings and realize that you didn’t die, you will be more likely to feel more often and each time you don’t die, feeling gets easier and the need to buffer gets less and less.
We tend to buffer a lot during the holidays. The holidays are not joyful for everyone. Many people experience depression and loneliness during these times and tend to buffer to get through it. They want to get to January when they can get back to normal and until then they keep themselves numb. If you are one of those people, next time you reach for a drink, or that piece of cake because you think it will make you “feel better”, sit with whatever feeling you’re having and notice that nothing bad happened. You just had a feeling. It came from a thought you were having. What was the thought? How did that thought make you feel? Nothing has gone wrong, you are a normal human with a normal brain. And if you can sit with that feeling and not buffer, each time you will get stronger and stronger and you’re feeling’s will not control you.
This holiday season, chose a random act of kindness, that for sure will make you “feel better”.
Until we meet again, choose your thoughts, they are all yours.
Kim Jolicoeur is a Certified Life and Stop Overdrinking Coach helping people regain control of their lives, one thought at a time. For a free consultation go to kimjolicoeurcoaching.com.