“I just can’t put my finger on it” Have you ever said this to yourself?

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Home » “I just can’t put my finger on it” Have you ever said this to yourself?

Published: 23rd August 2019

This Article was Written by: Nik - Weight Loss Ninja

Ever had a feeling like you have a metaphorical tornado inside your head spinning round and around where, inside that funnel of wind, you have a feeling that you just can’t shift? The feeling keeps getting sucked back inside and you can’t let go of it. And in the end, you just can’t put your finger on why you’re feeling that way?

It often happens when we feel down or sad. We’re just in a “weird sort of mood” for some unexplained reason.

I have an idea. The next time you feel like this, try saying to yourself “YES! It’s great to feel like this”

“What?” I hear you say. Why celebrate feeling down and not being able to realise why?

The power of the unconscious mind

Over the years, decades in fact, of research as well as personal observations of myself, my friends and family and also, as a certified business and life coach, of my clients and their teams, I’ve come to realise that, exactly as Psychologists and Neuroscientists have been saying for many, many years, the vast majority of our decisions and choices are made beyond our conscious control.

Let’s take an example. You’re relaxing in the place where you find you have your most creative thoughts. Wherever that may be. For me personally, it’s beside a pool on holiday. All of a sudden you come up with a genius idea. Something that you can’t believe you hadn’t thought of earlier.

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Let’s get philosophical for a moment to give you the background to what is happening

I’d argue that you didn’t really come up with the idea, not consciously anyway. Instead the idea is a culmination of your life history. Your experiences. Your memories. Your beliefs that have taken years to form. Your observation of others and the judgements you made on the results they got in their lives. Etc. Etc. All of these things have been acting like a massive, unconscious jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces have been floating around inside your unconscious brain until your idea took shape. Just prior to the idea forming, there would have been environmental stimuli. Taking the pool example. The heat of the sun on your skin, the sounds surrounding you, the thoughts passing through your mind, your physiological state, the hormones flowing inside your body, the conversations you have just had etc. All of these things bring together certain pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and they “make sense” to form your new, genius idea.

So with this example above, it shows how so much of the decisions and the choices we make in our lives happen beyond our conscious control. It’s actually the combined effect of the above which influences how our conscious brain reacts to form the idea.

Where does the “finger” fit into this story?

So, when you find yourself saying “I just can’t put my finger on why I’m feeling like this”, that’s a great cue to stop and spend quality time working out where the feeling is originating from. It’s the perfect metaphorical fork in the road where, if you take the usual left hand path, you let that thought and feeling come and go, as we normally do, without thinking it through…….or you can take the right hand fork and spend time working out where that path goes.

A real-life case study

I had a coaching session this morning with a client and this is her story.

(NB – I have her full permission to tell parts of her story, as I mentioned that I was writing a blog on this subject – in fact this blog has been signed off by her. This is important to note as the coaching process is highly confidential between client and coachee).

This client, let’s call her Gemma (not her real name), has come to me with a desire to lose weight. This was our 2nd session.

Off the back of the last session her task was to do something which seemingly is totally unrelated to weight loss but, in fact has everything to do with it. Her task was to spend some quality time in her back garden, upon waking at 6am, with a cup of tea in her hand and a gardening fork in the other.

Why is this important?
For this client, (and that’s the key phrase – for this client – not anybody else) the garden is where she told me that she felt most relaxed. Where, (as she put it herself), she sits inside the metaphorical eye of the storm. Yes, there may be the chaos of everyday life around her, like with a storm, but, in the eye of it, (i.e. in her garden first thing in the morning), there is calm and peace. Peace to get clarity, focus and strength to sort her day out and to plan for the future.

Putting her finger on the source of her results

Gemma has had a bunch of results between the last session and this morning. Even after only one session.

During our conversation she said….” I can’t quite put my finger on it – where all these results came from”. So, over the next 20 minutes or so we started to analyse the source from where all these results had originated.

The day after her last coaching session, indeed, at 5.30am she woke and went into the garden with her tea and gardening fork. Off the back of that task, she told me that a number of things fell into place. Positive things. She picked up a new contract later that day, her mood was higher. Then her husband, who has been out of work for some time, decided to start re-training and that alone has made her feel less pressure. The decision by her husband, she thinks, may have happened during a small moment during a conversation that morning. She hypothesised that her good mood may have “infected him” and given him a twinkle of hope himself that things were on the up, and that may have changed his own mood and thus moved him on a slightly different trajectory in his own life.

There are other things as well. Gemma has previously been flooded with disempowering emotions in the past by being on crowded tube trains. Yet has since found herself going on 2 tube journeys. This might seem trivial to many commuters who travel on tubes numerous times every week, but……for Gemma, (and we must remember, this is all about Gemma’s life, not ours), this is huge. This alone is a massive achievement.

Even during the coaching session this morning (which was a phone session), I couldn’t help but marvel at the infectious, positive, highly energetic tone of Gemma’s voice. Plus, her language was flooded with positive verbs, adjectives and superlatives. It was a delight to hear.

Towards the end of the call I mentioned the following point which has been proven time and time again:

Weight gain, yes, can be caused by biological reasons, but for the majority of us it is down instead to emotional reasons. Often down to a lack of progressive “purpose” in our lives. And because our unconscious brain controls our emotions, and our emotions control our behaviour, losing weight is usually not about learning tactics on how to eat, let’s say, a salad over a burger and fries, but it’s about sorting our emotions out.

And for Gemma, this all starts with going to her “safe space” in the garden, with her cup of tea in one hand and the gardening fork in the other, where she can get perspective on her life and on her emotions. From there here positive emotions are boosted and she can get focus and strength for the day ahead and for the future. Here mind therefore opens up to creative ways in which she can fill her life up with positivity……and positivity will pre-dispose her to be in a better frame of mind to tackle her weight loss plan. (By the way, creativity Has been shown to be boosted when we have positive emotions flowing rather than negative ones)

Using Gemma’s example again, going to her garden frees up her mental resources to keep putting her finger on the reasons why she does what she does and feels the way she feels when she’s not in her “flow” state. I.e. when she’s not behaving in a way which is in alignment with her weight loss goals. But to break free of these behaviours we need to first of all understand what is causing us to act in this way. For Gemma she often feels overwhelmed because of the responsibilities of being a busy working mum. Carrying the “load” for the entire family in her perception. Her garden allows her to think clearly about strategies and plans to break free of this cycle.

…and that’s the power of coaching!!! Looking at one’s own life (sometimes with the help of an external person such as a life coach) and working out what alternative things we can do to get better results.

As you’re reading this “Gemma”, in order to sign this off, can I personally thank you for permitting me to tell your story. I hope your story inspires others as you did with me this morning. “Gemma” enjoy your cuppa tomorrow morning. I hope the sun shines for you at 6am in your garden. I also cannot wait to hear the outcome of what will happen to you this coming week. You deserve all the success that is coming your way.

As for the rest of us……when we feel that we can’t quite “put our finger on why we are feeling like this”, how about you go off to your own “safe space”. Relax, “tune-out” of the white noise of the world around you and work out what might be causing you to feel disempowered in such a way as to put weight on. Put your finger on it… and then get creative about finding ways in which you can do something different to bring more and more positivity into your life. Because if you’re on a diet, we achieve much more when our emotions are high, and we are “primed” to better stick to our diet.

Here’s to you and your success!!!
Nik and the team. X

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