Recently, I had a computer issue.  It was a malfunctioning F1 key.  That darned key seemed to be stuck, causing the “Help” window to pop up over and over again; leaving me frustrated and unable to work.

The problem was intermittent, so, at times, I was able to use it without a hitch.  Things would seem normal, and then boom, out of nowhere, those dreaded windows would pop up again; hundreds of them, causing me to have to shut it down immediately.

This made me think of my brain and how my thoughts get triggered sometimes.

There are times, especially difficult times, when I’m trying something new or doing something arduous that I know is good for my long-term wellness, my negative thoughts will erratically pop up, analogous to the malfunctioning F1 key on my computer.

We have an average of 40-to-60,000 thoughts a day.  Normally, they come and go like clouds floating in the blue sky.  Every now and then, especially when faced with a challenging circumstance, we may have a “thought” storm or what I’m now calling an “F1 freak-out.”

When our brains spit out a bunch of unintentional, negative thoughts, it causes us to figuratively shut down and stall the work we were intending to tackle. 

Have you been there:  You, who have a longing to write your book (then your brain gives you a thousand reasons why no one would ever want to read it)?  You, who have that spark inside to start your own business, (then you’re plagued with thoughts of why it’s not the right time and why it will never work)?   You, who want to drink green juice and exercise for your physical well-being, (then your mind comes up with all the reasons why it’s too hard and not worth it)?

In fairness, our brains are merely trying to keep us safe.  Our brains LOVE familiarity, efficiency and keeping the status quo.

When we grow, stretch ourselves, go out of our comfort zones, we will have a myriad of thoughts.  We must understand:  It is not the growing or stretching that make us feel uncomfortable; rather it’s our thoughts that cause our feelings.  It is good news that we get to decide how we want to think about all of our circumstances, and we can choose thoughts that will motivate and inspire us into action!

At the same time, when these thought storms occur, (and they will often) we need to know nothing has gone wrong.  We need to expect that our brains will offer us these optional thoughts because that’s what brains do.  We don’t have to believe our negative thoughts because, in the end, we get to decide what to save and what to mark as “junk.”

By understanding that the “F1 freak-out” is an inevitable part of being a human, we can then be amused, rather than controlled, by what our brains offer us.  We can become the observer of our thoughts, realizing we have the ability to manage our minds and thus, our feelings.

In the case of my computer, I knew I needed help.  I called tech support and told them my problem.  The IT person had me remove the key and observe if something was stuck underneath it. Lo and behold, we found the culprit:  a staple.  LOL

What keeps you stuck in your negative thought loop? 


Here is your “life coach tech support” for next time you have an “F1 freak-out.” 

1.  Observe.  Be the observer.  Notice what your brain is offering and ask yourself:  do these beliefs serve me?  The truth is you get to decide which thoughts are working and which ones need to be permanently deleted.

2.   Investigate the origin.  When negative thoughts pop up, simply ask yourself: “Where are they coming from?”  This is such a good question to explore.  Browse.  Be curious about why these thoughts are popping up.  Are you having an “F1 freak-out” to avoid perceived pain?  For instance, if you are asked to do a presentation at work for which you think you’re unprepared, your brain will try to convince you it’s a bad idea.  Explore what feelings you are trying to avoid.  Are you afraid of embarrassment, humiliation, failure?  What if you were willing to experience these emotions?  What if you allowed yourself to mess up?  You can ruminate all day long in thoughts of failure or get to work to be more prepared.  It’s key to identify the problem so that you can remove the “staple” that is keeping you stuck!

3.   Take charge.  Write a list of all the thoughts your brain is offering.  A daily thought download gets what’s in your head out on paper.  The mantra “better out than in” will motivate you to do the work on what’s holding you back.  The bottom line is that you can master your mind and think intentionally, on purpose.  It just takes training.