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How to Free Yourself from Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts and images are so intrusive. They can take over our lives until we see nothing else. Learn how Jen turned her thoughts, experiences, and health around by taking one simple step.

Negative thoughts and images are so intrusive. They can take over our lives until we see nothing else. Learn how to turn that around. #thoughts #mood #podcast Click To Tweet

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Jen McFarland Vandal Lounge

Jen’s Idaho Vandals shoes

eight track tapes podcast

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Captain & Tennille, typically found on a 8-track tape.

Jen McFarland Third Paddle

Jen McFarland is a business systems expert, podcaster, and blogger. She’s helped hundreds of businesses and thousands of podcast listeners make better business decisions. Jen’s passion is helping women-owned businesses get the growth tools they need to meet their 3-5 year business goals.

Are you starting a business? Confused about how to grow? Check out my favorite business growth tools.

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Sarah Michelle Gellar believe in yourself

Show Transcript


Jen – Jen

Ann – Announcer

Liz – Liz

FULL TRANSCRIPT (with timecode)

00:00:00:09 – 00:00:20:12

Jen: Welcome to the podcast. I’m your host Jen McFarland negative thoughts and images are so intrusive they can take over our lives until we see nothing else. Learn how I turned my thoughts experiences and even my health around by taking one simple step and why you can do it too. All that and more here on the Third Paddle.

00:00:20:28 – 00:00:38:28

Ann: Welcome to the podcast recorded at the Vandal Lounge in beautiful Southeast Portland Oregon. Why the third paddle? Because even the most bad ass entrepreneurs get stuck up in business shit creek. Management consultant Jennifer McFarland is your third paddle helping you get unstuck.

00:00:41:02 – 00:00:42:03

Jen: Really great like you

00:00:42:19 – 00:00:50:19

Liz: Really great like me, thanks, Jen.

00:00:51:28 – 00:00:55:11

Jen: Hey Liz. When was the last time you saw a blue Volkswagen Beetle?

00:00:56:29 – 00:00:58:09

Liz: Specifically a blue one.

00:00:58:25 – 00:00:59:02

Jen: Yeah.

00:01:00:00 – 00:01:06:11

Liz: Uh oh I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a blue beetle like a dark blue one

00:01:07:06 – 00:01:09:06

Jen: blue whatever blue is to you.

00:01:09:11 – 00:01:23:04

Liz: Okay I’ve seen like a like sky blue colored one maybe five years ago five six years ago cause beetles used to be there. I’m from California. They’re more common and like good weather states.

00:01:23:24 – 00:01:26:19

Jen: Oh well the convertible ones.

00:01:26:22 – 00:01:39:19

Liz: Yeah. I mean I’m thinking of the old the like the original Beatles. I’m talking about any of them. Oh. Yeah. I think I’ve seen a blue beetle. The new ones I’ve seen like Scott. Yeah they’re like sky blue or icy blue.

00:01:39:26 – 00:01:47:17

Jen: You are getting way too in the weeds on this. I don’t understand. So my point is. We should snap out of it.

00:01:48:28 – 00:02:17:13

Jen: Which we need some sound effects on the show. Okay. My point is you don’t really know the last time. You can’t say Tuesday at 9:00. Of course not. No I know but now that I’ve said blue blue Volkswagen Beetle you know what one looks like. Yeah I had one that came up in your head. Yeah. You’re gonna go see one I’m going to go like today I’m probably gonna go see one. You’re just gonna notice one when it drives by. That’s probably true. Right. Why.

00:02:18:02 – 00:02:24:26

Liz: Because you suggested that visual to me in my head and now I’m that’s what I’m going to see right.

00:02:24:26 – 00:02:35:26

Jen: It’s like when I when I bought the Prius with a Prius I’d never seen a Prius that color before. Yeah. And now you see that color Prius that’s all of the freaking Prius I see.

00:02:36:04 – 00:02:47:14

Liz: Right. That looks exactly like yours. That’s true too. That’s true of shoes that I got a few years back and like sneakers.

00:02:47:25 – 00:02:54:28

Liz: But I got them online and they’re not any specific brand. They’re just like regular old green shoes.

00:02:54:28 – 00:03:02:04

Liz: And then I started seeing them everywhere and I was like wait a minute I thought these were like not generic.

00:03:02:13 – 00:03:03:20

Liz: What.

00:03:03:27 – 00:03:09:05

The only shoes I own that I’ve never seen anyone out where else are my Idaho vandal sneakers.

00:03:09:05 – 00:03:24:21

Jen: That’s fair. But that’s like a little specific Yeah. I’m gonna have to put a picture of those in the show notes. Yeah that’s a good idea. Yeah. OK. So why do you think that it is you know that when you think you’ve gotten something unique you begin to see it everywhere.

00:03:25:17 – 00:03:38:03

Liz: Well for one if it’s a if it’s a shoe or a car or anything else that I can see every day then my brain is probably training itself to look for those things right.

00:03:38:03 – 00:03:46:15

Liz: Because I want to be able to find my shoes and find my car. So I know I know I. Now I see like I see it in my head I’m expecting to see it

00:03:46:28 – 00:03:48:14

Jen: Or you have an increased awareness.

00:03:48:15 – 00:03:55:07

Jen: Yeah. Because now you are in possession of said item correct. And you begin to notice when other people also have said item correct.

00:03:56:19 – 00:03:59:08

Jen: What if it’s bigger than that.

00:03:59:15 – 00:03:59:28

Liz: Whoa

00:04:03:12 – 00:04:06:18

Jen: What if what if my increased awareness is bigger than that.

00:04:07:16 – 00:04:16:12

Liz: Yeah. Like what if you use it on things that weren’t just like shoes and cars and well McDonald’s All right whatever.

00:04:16:13 – 00:04:21:09

Jen: Well we don’t do McDonald’s but McDonald’s everywhere.

00:04:21:09 – 00:04:26:09

Liz: That’s true. Yeah. Once you know that one McDonald’s line you write them on every single exit.

00:04:26:09 – 00:04:27:29

Liz: That’s true.

00:04:28:03 – 00:04:31:24

Jen: So what if it’s bigger than that. Tell me more.

00:04:31:25 – 00:05:05:21

Jen: Well like what if you increase your awareness in other areas. Improve your life like the relationships I have with people yeah I mean I think a lot of that like part of what we talked about on the show was like reframing things. All right. That can really help with improving relationships instead of just saying for sure you know they’re always mean maybe they’re not always mean. Well sometimes they are. So let’s be real sometime I’m talking about me like OK. No but you’re right.

00:05:05:22 – 00:05:13:15

Liz: The. Yeah. Reframing and refocusing can improve relationships. Absolutely right.

00:05:13:17 – 00:05:24:29

Jen: What if you instead of looking for cars and shoes and places to eat to heighten your awareness around that. What if you started thinking about seeing the good

00:05:28:28 – 00:05:34:15

Liz: And seeing what you have already instead of what you don’t have right.

00:05:34:20 – 00:05:37:06

Jen: Or realizing that happiness is a choice.

00:05:37:12 – 00:05:43:29

Jen: Yeah it is choosing to be happy and seeing all of the things in your life that make you happy.

00:05:44:00 – 00:05:56:26

Liz: I like that is this. So I think I have an example of this then. Okay um I recently sold a uh an extra heater that I had. Mm hmm. And it’s winter and it’s cold.

00:05:56:26 – 00:07:07:01

Liz: So that makes sense people will want to buy an extra heater which means I had some cash on hand because the dude gave me cash for the heater right. And yay it’s cash. And it was only like 20 bucks but I saw that 20 bucks and thought I get to go to the movies with this money and spend two hours you know loving me some Freddie Mercury and Queen songs like it was. Whereas previously in my life I could have looked at that 20 dollars and thought well this isn’t gonna help me pay my rent because it’s only 20 dollars in cash and I can’t pay my rent in cash. Blah blah blah but I chose to see the 20 dollars as a way for me to relax and enjoy a few hours of my life and I even. And then because of course I like uh going to matinees I had some money left over and I had exactly the amount of money I needed to go to the grocery store and get like exactly what I wanted to eat and exactly what I wanted to drink.

00:07:08:25 – 00:09:08:12

Jen: The second example is closer. Okay. Okay but think bigger think bigger. Right. Like so. Okay so what I’m getting at is it is possible to change your awareness and how you think about things. Yeah. And the reason I use the happiness is a choice. Yeah. Is because that was. That’s one of the things I had a really big impact on my my own life. Yeah. Was the realization that that you choose happiness or despair in so many situations. Absolute every day. And I’m not talking about like you know you can never be depressed again. Don’t take those antidepressants. That’s not what I mean. What I’m saying is situationally. We can we have a choice. We always have a choice. The last episode we talked about not having control. This is something that you have control over. Absolutely. It’s how you react. It’s what you see. What you have awareness around and for me personally years ago I read and I think it may have even just been I was trying to remember all day what it was that quote exactly was but I think it may have even just been. Happiness is a choice. And then every time I got aggravated or thought of something or realized something wasn’t going my way I would be like. Happiness is a choice and it didn’t mean I wasn’t angry sometimes but it meant that I was at least aware that I had control over how you recover how I how I thought about how I thought about myself for a lot of times it was about how I was internalizing myself in a certain situation. So instead of saying I suck right. I’m like well the situation sucks I don’t.

00:09:08:13 – 00:09:31:15

Liz: Or sometimes you don’t internalize it and point towards yourself but you start to think you know bad shit always happens to me right or I am always the one like I’m always the one in the car accidents I’m always the one who doesn’t get paid on time or whatever it is right you’re always finding yourself in like life is happening to me. God damn it again.

00:09:31:16 – 00:09:58:12

Jen: Right. And what I would say is that you have a choice. And when I led a lot of leadership training and it was about one of the questions I asked people to consider is if they could find even one good thing out of the worst day of their life. Because that’s how you begin to realize that there is something good in everything. Mm hmm.

00:09:58:13 – 00:10:24:23

Jen: Some people that is all that it takes to really begin to turn your life around. Mm hmm. And to begin to see that there are more possibilities than a set of conditions that you’ve given yourself. For what happens to you. The story you tell yourself. Yeah you know what you see. Mm hmm. And what you feel.

00:10:25:05 – 00:10:34:14

Liz: Yeah. Yeah. And I think so. I I’m thinking a couple different things as you’re talking and I think the one thing I want to

00:10:37:16 – 00:10:43:16

Liz: Because you already said it like it’s not about. Don’t ever be depressed. Get off your meds whatever it like. It’s not about that.

00:10:43:16 – 00:10:53:18

Liz: It’s also not about like I’m feeling angry and now. Oh anger is bad. So now I must find a way to be happy. And it’s not about that either.

00:10:53:19 – 00:11:12:01

Liz: So I want to be clear and I think you’re pretty on board with that statement as well. That like feeling your feelings is OK. Correct. And once because. But because feelings are impressions that you have. They are not forever.

00:11:12:03 – 00:12:00:25

Liz: You get you get surges of anger you get surges of joy you get surges of sadness surges of embarrassment but those surges don’t stay around forever. I think I think there was like a study they can right. But my point is like they’ve proven like studies have proven that feelings come and then they go. But it’s our choice. It’s like we make a choice in our brains to hang on and latch on to that emotion and say Well I’m angry will therefore if I’m angry clearly I’m an angry person. And so now I must act on this and and do a thing or. And now I’m sad. So therefore I’m not worthy and like that’s the thoughts that come after that because we’ve attached ourself to that emotion. So I think that’s what we’re that’s really what I think that that’s part of it.

00:12:00:25 – 00:12:18:06

Jen: I think it’s also like the rumination. The the the not letting go of things. Yeah. And I think that it is. Yeah I’m absolutely not saying that the worst day of your life isn’t the worst day of your life. It’s still totally. It’s total so totally the worst day of your life. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

00:12:18:07 – 00:12:50:03

Jen: What I’m asking people to think about is that you see what suggested to you and if you’re suggesting to yourself that all things are bad or there’s nothing good or you’re the bad part or you’re the bad person to step back and examine that for yes that part the thinking things. That’s the part is the shifting the perspective shifting the way that we see ourselves and see how we are placed within situations.

00:12:50:03 – 00:13:08:28

Jen: And I will tell you this. So like I mean there’s so many different examples of it you know like I think that you know I kind of talked in a very broad general way of like how things started to kind of turn for me when I was like I choose to be happy. I mean it sounds like this weird little mantra right now.

00:13:09:03 – 00:13:13:08

Liz: And for somebody who’s never thought about it that way they’re probably like yeah ok

00:13:13:19 – 00:14:31:27

Jen: Some crazy shit man you know and people who listen to more episodes know that I can be very sarcastic and all of these things feel like it’s not you know. And so I get it like oh yeah OK here we go. Some like crazy woo woo shit or whatever but no it’s actually like the power of suggestion right. These are not things that have like this is not anything new. No this is about looking at things from a little different perspective and I think it’s something that as women that we need sometimes I think that we are bombarded with so much information about what the ideal is what we should be doing what we should look like what what. How we should react to things and what quote normal is and is not yet. Sometimes we forget that we have choice in the matter. Yeah we are. We’re the decider. Oh and a lot of things so. But what I’m saying is that when the chips are down look for the good and we’ll get more of it. Because not because not because you’re literally getting more of the good but because you’re opening yourself up to seeing it because it was always there all along

00:14:32:07 – 00:14:38:05

Jen: those green Prius is man until you freakin green Prius is unless you talk to John who says the Prius is blue.

00:14:38:05 – 00:14:42:01

Jen: It is not blue it’s green. It’s like a big argument in our house.

00:14:42:17 – 00:14:56:10

Liz: But the point is green. You you had that you saw it in your daily life. It was reaffirmed every day. The more you looked at that car and then you started to see it everywhere. Right.

00:14:56:10 – 00:15:07:21

Liz: If the chips are down and you’re you know underneath the pile of shit chips in front of you. Yeah. Say that 10 times fast. Yeah.

00:15:08:24 – 00:15:14:09

Liz: You’re looking through that pile and and out of the corner of your eye far away from that pile of chips.

00:15:14:12 – 00:15:32:23

Liz: You see something shiny and different and you think oh that’s that’s interesting I wonder what that is. I am curious. I am open to exploring what’s over there. Maybe you’ll start to see more shiny you know different curious looking objects.

00:15:33:20 – 00:15:38:15

Liz: This is looking at me like my course of me but never seen before. Yeah

00:15:38:16 – 00:16:29:14

Jen: I was thinking about yeah about a story that I had heard earlier in the week where I had introduced to friends and they had they’ve gotten to know each other and then they had like a business meeting with each other. And my friend looked up. She’s driven back and forth to this business in Seattle a hundred times. Yeah and never noticed the sign had like the name of this person on it. In like years. It’s an old sign. Been there forever. Wow. So you’re introducing something new. Now you’re seeing something old. Yes. For the first time in a different light in a different light. And that’s what I’m talking about. Yep. So when I said like think bigger. Right. I want to give like another example. And so that all these people that we’ve already lost with. Oh my God. Think happy thoughts like they’re already just they’ve turned the dial probably so we’ve kept you.

00:16:29:24 – 00:16:35:11

Liz: If you’re still you’re still listening there’s more to this than thinking happy thoughts. I

00:16:35:11 – 00:18:28:28

Jen: I think that we know that having negative thoughts and being in negative situations can also have negative impacts on our health. Absolutely right. It’s like a proven fact. It’s like a it’s a well known fact sonny boy. Oh no sorry we’re not doing so I married an axe murderer. Whoa. Although if we could we could quote quotes from that that would be a really great podcast episode. Side note I’m watching Married an Axe murder and recording it. Okay no problem people know that. So it is well known that certain situations bad work environments different things like that can really make you sick. Hmm. I did not know this at the time when I left my job but I will tell you before I started my business I would have sinus infections like clockwork. Well four times a year sometimes with an ear infection. Always on antibiotics saw an Ear Nose and Throat person. I was in misery like my friend Frank at work was like oh it’s February. Yep sinus infections here. I mean it was it had gone on long enough for like years and things like that we’ve known each other for how long. Couple of years. Yeah. Have you ever known me to have a sinus infection. Not a bad one. I mean I’m not one. Well I thought you had the sniffles once but that’s very different than a sinus infection different than a sinus. I guess that’s what I mean. I’ve had headaches right. But not a sinus headache. That’s true. And I used to live through those all the time. Wow. How to your nose and throat guy. Like on speed dial. So after I left my job I was listening to Gary Vaynerchuk tape in my car. Like ask Gary V.

00:18:29:03 – 00:18:39:12

Jen: And not a tape that makes you sound like I’m going to put the eight track and listen to some Gary Vaynerchuk. No it was streaming streaming from my phone.

00:18:39:12 – 00:18:39:27

Jen: Everybody

00:18:39:27 – 00:19:00:26

Liz: side note my dad the other day said something about they were talking about the storage shed and how I still have like boxes in there that I should go through. And he’s like you know you have lots of those you know the cassette things and I was like cassette tapes. He said the word but I couldn’t remember that those are actually what they’re called because it is 2019 tapes.

00:19:01:03 – 00:19:06:18

Jen: That was before cassette tapes. There were eight tracks. That’s true. Also true.

00:19:06:19 – 00:19:21:09

Jen: Usually have things like Captain into Tenniel for example you’re not speaking from experience are you. No. So anyway getting back to the story my parents had that stuff. So you were streaming on your phone this thing

00:19:21:09 – 00:19:23:12

Liz: by very very very game.

00:19:23:12 – 00:19:29:26

Jen: No it’s not. I mean that would let somebody else

00:19:32:11 – 00:19:44:02

Jen: I’ll stop talking now. Somebody else. And the what you said was that he decided he didn’t want to be sick anymore. Mm hmm. Didn’t want to doctor. Yeah. And

00:19:44:02 – 00:19:51:01

Jen: And so he has it and I was like in my car and I’m like does that work.

00:19:51:05 – 00:20:28:17

Jen: Is that even possible sort of thing. And this was after I had like played around with like situationally making myself happier. Break. This is after I kind of had a little bit of evidence around that kind of magic. Yeah. And I was like OK let’s give this a shot and so for that I still do it actually. Like if I feel really congested I know we don’t get sinus infections anymore. Mm hmm. And I just I decide and I remember sitting in the car driving and say I’m not I don’t get sinus infections anymore.

00:20:28:23 – 00:20:33:17

Liz: The present in the not happening. Yeah.

00:20:33:27 – 00:20:35:09

Liz: Very declarative statement.

00:20:35:09 – 00:20:36:08

Jen: And they stopped.

00:20:36:10 – 00:20:37:16

Liz: Wow.

00:20:37:18 – 00:21:38:06

Jen: And that’s a health thing. And it worked for Gary V. Like so don’t believe me like we are not like super like woo woo. Like lay Crystal’s on your head like and it’s going to work. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m not making a judgment. I’m just saying like Visa. That’s not your goal is not our primary business. Talk about like healing in those ways. But all of that to say that like the power of suggestion on our minds and our bodies on how we react to things on who we are is very powerful. And we are aware of it when we talk about things that are trivial like shoes and cars and fast food places. But we don’t really think about it bigger about the things that really just bug the shit out of us all the time whether it’s our Health or a situation or ruminating about our worst day or or never getting that good parking spot at the grocery store or whatever.

00:21:38:07 – 00:21:43:03

Liz: Why do I never have a good parking. Well we don’t have good parking karma.

00:21:43:03 – 00:21:47:09

Jen: Are you really looking. Yeah I can tell you I start looking for a parking space.

00:21:48:29 – 00:22:02:26

Jen: As soon as possible a sap and I’m on it and I get good spots like it’s not. Sometimes it’s not really karma. No you know it’s about intentionality. Mm hmm. And and looking for what is there.

00:22:02:28 – 00:22:03:27

Liz: Yep absolutely

00:22:03:28 – 00:22:15:02

Jen: and I don’t know why I don’t have sinus infections. I know that I don’t. I know that I’ve informed my body we are not accepting sinus infections and it is complying with that order.

00:22:15:28 – 00:22:26:19

Liz: And they know that your lifestyle has changed drastically because you’ve left your previous work environment and you are in a different work environment now.

00:22:26:19 – 00:22:32:17

Liz: Yes. So there are there are also other supporting factors.

00:22:32:24 – 00:23:28:05

Jen: Certainly certainly. But I mean I I I was out of the workplace and still getting them. Sure. Yeah. So it was. It wasn’t like Oh OK. Coincidence. It’s like no it was still happening. And when I and I made the made a call. But yeah you’re right. I mean I also realized the little exercise on like is this making me happy is what led me to leave like I am not happy. It’s not getting any happier. There are little times of joy the little things that I enjoy. But on balance not some. There are other places that have to be better than this. Yeah definitely. And it’s about boosting the confidence and about seeing what’s there and sometimes when you see what’s there you’re like I’m gonna get out of here. Yeah you’re not seeing enough blue Volkswagen Beetle obviously clearly clearly.

00:23:28:15 – 00:23:49:16

Liz: No it’s true though I mean there there’s somebody amazing and smarter than us once said uh speak for yourself look smarter than me once said that your mind is uh the biggest tool in your toolbox and most of us aren’t using it appropriately.

00:23:49:16 – 00:23:52:00

Jen: I think that we only use about 2 percent.

00:23:52:01 – 00:23:52:17

Liz: Yeah.

00:23:52:22 – 00:24:31:10

Liz: And I think this this type of mental game and mindset is this type of work and really utilizing more of your brain and it’s maybe just experimenting and exploring what your relationship to your thoughts and all. It’s fascinating stuff. But also these are small steps we can take to feel better even just by half or 1 percent. You know it’s those small baby steps that we can take and start now as an experiment to sort of see where the power of suggestion and positive you know looking for positive things can lead us.

00:24:31:12 – 00:24:34:04

Jen: Yeah. I mean small steps lead to big results.

00:24:34:12 – 00:24:35:07

Liz: Absolutely.

00:24:37:21 – 00:24:40:03

Jen: I got nothing else on this.

00:24:40:03 – 00:24:42:06

Liz: Shall we stare lovingly into each other’s eyes from now on.

00:24:43:10 – 00:25:40:17

Jen: I mean I do that all the time. Yeah that’s true. That’s true. Yeah I think that yeah. I mean I think there’s just a lot of unlocked potential in our brains and the more we can fill them. And I mean this in a validly fill them. I’m not asking you to lie to yourself and make everything better. I’m saying the more that you can heighten your awareness around possibilities and what is already surrounding you. Mm hmm. Knowing that our eyes only see so much as well like we we are when our when I say we’re only using two percent of our brain. It also means that that our eyes aren’t allowing us to see everything because it kind of knows what we’re using of our brain right. It’s following science. This is not. This is not me just like talking about stuff so we’re opening up possibilities. Then it stands to reason that you’re going to see things that you haven’t seen before.

00:25:40:20 – 00:26:12:23

Liz: Yes. And this is true also of. You know if you’re feeling stuck if you’re feeling stressed if you’re feeling frustrated and you want to not feel that way. These are choices we can make. We can choose not to feel that way but also if you want to do things differently or lead a different life then you’re going to have to make different choices and different decisions and if it if it means that happiness is a choice if it means that you know feeling relaxed and confident is a choice. And those are different choices that you can make for yourself.

00:26:13:25 – 00:26:18:05

Jen: Absolutely. And I’m just gonna close with this. It’s worth it. Yeah you’re worth it.

00:26:19:22 – 00:26:22:19

Liz: Yeah. You matter. You matter so just you know give it a shot.

00:26:23:25 – 00:26:35:15

Ann: Thank you for listening to the podcast. Be sure to catch every episode by subscribing on iTunes. To learn more check out our Web site at www.jenmcfarland.com/podcast.

00:26:35:15 – 00:26:37:00

Ann: The podcast is sponsored by Jen McFarland Consulting online at www.jenmcfarland.com

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