How to Transform Debilitative Emotions

Debilitative emotions are simply emotions which result in stuckness. A debilitative emotion is created by a thought like “I don’t know how to…”

debilitative emotions

Debilitative emotions? Oh stuck, these emotions are for sure not very fun and certainly not useful.

Do you ever feel stuck and think that you don’t know how to get out of your stuck mood?

I used to often think, “I don’t know how to… (fill in the blank)”, this thought is super debilitative. Thinking this thought serves me in no way. All it does it produce a whole lot of uncertainty for me. Instead I think a different, facilitative, version of this thought like, “I am figuring out how to… (fill in the blank)”.

Overwhelm, confusion, worry, fear and anger can all be debilitative; meaning that they spin us in circles and leave us right where we started.

Facilitative emotions get us moving somewhere, going in a direction and headed towards doing, choosing, deciding and changing.

The best news: You have the ability to choose your emotions… Your emotions are caused by the thoughts you think.

You are creating either debilitative emotions or facilitative emotions, whether you know it or not. And the secret is in your thinking.

  • You can choose thoughts that create whatever emotion you want.
  • You can also choose to stop thinking thoughts that cause you to to get stuck in the debilitative emotions.

It is common to get stuck in familiar debilitative emotions that are entirely useless.

Don’t get me wrong; emotions are extremely useful. Feelings often need a little time and space to be allowed and then they naturally pass; but it is different with debilitative emotions.

Debilitative emotions are useless and indulgent; emotions worth noting and changing.

Now for the enlightening bit.

Thoughts that cause debilitate emotions can be changed into thoughts which create facilitate emotions.

Stick with me, chances are this is a revolutionary concept that most people do not know how to utilize.

If you think the thought, “I have too many things to do and not enough time,” you will probably feel overwhelm and become unproductive.

Instead you could think the thought, “I will get the most important five things done today,” then you would likely feel something like ready and able and you would act productively.

If you think the thought, “I don’t know what to do,” then you will feel confused or indecisive and not know what to do.

Instead you could think, “I will figure out what to do,” then you will feel something like determined and you would probably figure out what to do.

Fear can also be a debilitative emotion. For example, fear can cause you t0 run. But fear can also keep you from trying something new, leaving you stuck and frozen: debilitated.

Our brain is wired to keep us safe in order to help us survive. Our brain is wired to warn us of new and unfamiliar things. It is totally normal to feel fear, worry, confusion, doubt and overwhelm: this is your brain doing its job and making sure that you survive.

What if this is outdated brain and mind software?

You can re-train your brain and manage your brain’s chatter.

Zo
How I change a Debilitative Emotion into a Facilitative Emotion:

When I think about flying, (and I fly a lot, often single with a baby) I can work myself into a head space that causes me to feel debilitative emotions like worry and dread.

My Real Life Story

I recently flew a red eye with just me and my toddler on my lap. Weeks before my flight, my mind kept wanting to tell me how horrible the flight was going to be and how I was not going to sleep, and how miserable I was going to feel. In actuality, I was feeling miserable about my flight weeks before my flight. I was creating extra suffering by dwelling on my upcoming imagined suffering.

  • “What if I miss my flight. What if something happens on the drive to the airport? What if… What if? What if?” This thought caused me intense worry; my brain is thinking of all the things that could go wrong preflight.
  • “It is the holiday season, seats are going to be full, I am probably not going to get any sleep on my overnight flight”. This thought causes me a feeling of dread about how I will feel on and after the flight.

I decided to switch up my thought to:

  • I am a badass super-mom who can handle whatever comes my way, I can totally handle this flight, and my cup of coffee in the morning (after the red-eye flight) is going to be epic.” This thought evoked feelings of empowered, determined and capable.

By thinking this thought intentionally, I saved my Self from hours and days (preflight) of feeling worry and dread.

What would be the point of causing mySelf pre-suffering by feeling dread and worry by thinking unproductive thoughts about my upcoming flight? There is no upside to thinking those worry and dread producing thoughts; they do not serve me.

Same flight, different thoughts.

Thinking this new thought switched me from feeling worried and full of dread (useless debilitative emotions) to feeling empowered, determined and capable.

The flight was still challenging and had it’s hard moments, but by thinking intentional thoughts I reduced the weeks of worry and dread I would have created preflight and I even generated many moments of feeling facilitative emotions.

Even now, I feel more like a rockstar mom because of all the times that I practiced thinking my intentional thought. “I am a badass super-mom who can handle whatever comes my way…”

Debilitative Emotion Take Away:

When you feel stuck in your life (with overwhelm, confusion, dread, fear, etc.) it is because you are thinking a thought that is causing you to feel a debilitative emotion.

Debilitative emotions are a choice. Once you understand that your thoughts cause your feelings then you can begin to master your inner world.

Facilitative emotions are the opposite. They are emotions that drive you towards something. Like focus, determination, excitement, creativity, sadness, and such; these emotions have a beginning, middle and end. They move you somewhere. And they are important to learn how to fully process by learning the skill of allowing emotions.

What debilitative emotions do you feel?
What thoughts are you thinking that cause debilitative feelings?

Curious to switch up your thoughts and generate some new feelings? Want to practice thinking thoughts that create facilitative emotions?

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