30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success: Questions to Ask Around Emotions 💚 (20/30)

30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success: Questions to Ask Around Emotions 💚 (20/30)

In this podcast episode, I share another exercise you can use on your way to becoming the Conscious Effective Olympian of your life.

"Trust that over time, the more that you do this, the easier it will become, the more fun it will become, the sillier life becomes, and we’re not looking for perfection."

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Episode Topics & Their Minute Markers

  • 00:42 Skip the intro & jump into today's topic
  • 08:01 Journal Prompt

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"Trust that over time, the more that you do this, the easier it will become, the more fun it will become, the sillier life becomes, and we’re not looking for perfection."

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The Your Empty Nest Coach Podcast, Episode 188

30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success: Questions to Ask Around Emotions  (20/30)


[level-up music]

Questions to ask when your emotions sound an alert  is our topic for today (Day 20) in the 30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success. 

[level-up music]

If this is your first time listening,  know we are diving into the challenge content. If you like what you hear, jump back to the episode titled “Getting Started with the 30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success” and then work your way through from the beginning - or visit EmptyNestSuccess.com to sign up for daily or weekly email delivery of this challenge that will lead you to companion videos, additional journal prompts, resources and more! 

Here we go: 

[end music]


Amazing human and beautiful soul, we have another top of the toolbox item today:  are you ready to unlock your inner Sherlock Holmes to inspect some of those thought-box-deliveries? 

If you began with [the] getting started episode and have worked your way through, by now, you know the analogy - your mind being like a house, there’s a fence, a protector who you are beginning to train and you have thought-box-deliveries being sent inside your home all the time.

Imagine now that you’ve done the process mentioned in our last episode - you are feeling a bit better from some tough emotions and are ready to take a look at a couple of the  thought-box-deliveries that hit you earlier. 

Let’s work through a hypothetical example: maybe, your child is in college and they declare (one day) that they want to leave.You may initially jump right into reaction mode - your Protector puts you on high alert and you begin to react. Then, you consciously notice what’s going on inside your mind and that you haven’t really considered that this may not be the best time to react suddenly and make ultimatums. Ultimately, maybe you land where your reaction mode takes you, but, trust me, you’ll feel better if you consciously make that decision from a loving space rather than a defensive reactive space.  

When you are in a space where you are ready to consider what this really means, and how to proceed, you’ll discover that outside of your fence is your child’s consideration of leaving college. Yes, it’s outside of your fence. 

The action of them telling you this news, creates alerts from your Protector and many thoughts come barreling in. Usually, it’s something like, “You have to graduate from college;” “But this wasn’t the plan;”  And we may not admit it but one of the internal thoughts is “How is this going to look to everybody?” And that’s outside of our fence, too. 


So, now for the activity. 

Begin to ask the 5 W questions that we learned in (was it) middle school? Elementary school?: Who, What, Where, When & Why.

Let’s inspect our example with some possibilities on how this would play out. 

First, we’ll start with what: What is the thought you are having? While you may have multiple thoughts that are going on about this happening, note which thought keeps rising to the top in your mind. 

Great! You have a thought!  

Next, ask yourself who sent me this thought box delivery? Sounds easy right but it might be surprising. You may discover that this thought really wouldn’t have come from you, as you’ve been struggling over the finances of their college education and wondering if it’s the best fit for them anyway BUT you remember that you thought about leaving college and when you told your parents, guess what they said. Yeah, what you just said.

Again, no judgment. We are just playing detective here.

Next, we ask…”Where am I when I have this thought?”

And this can go two ways. The thought - it could take you to right when you were in college, or you may be playing out a future that hasn’t happened yet.

In this example, we are brought back to our own college days. And that’s not today. In other examples, you may find yourself thinking about a future that may never happen.

And that led right into the When, as well. 

Where, and When sometimes when you look through these thoughts, may be combined. You may have a clear When, you may not have a Where - our mind’s like to jumble things. This is not an exercise where you need to hit all of them, but choose one or two that work really well and that give you enough information for you to become present and think about the thought that you have. 

And finally, Why. This one can be fun. Go wherever you feel led, as the why can go a million different ways. For example  why did I get this thought-box-delivery? Why am I feeling a certain emotion when it comes in? Why is this the first thought I am having? Why am I not considering the positives of this? 

These questions and how you choose to show up as the detective or inspector of your thought-box-deliveries is for you to decide. Have fun with it - even when it is around a thought that might not be easy. 

The whole point of asking these questions is to give you an opportunity to consider if you want to keep the thought or not. Wouldn’t it be fun to be so clear on what is outside of your fence that when your child drops something on you like, “Mom, I think I'm gonna leave college.” 

That you were to feel the emotions. Maybe start to react but notice them and then quickly identify that most of this is outside of your fence which allows you to show up way more loving than you could have if you were navigating through those tough thought-box-deliveries.

Maybe you even come up and say somethin like: “Wow, that's a huge decision. What is telling you that this may be the right decision for you?” 

And then with those thought-box-deliveries on pause, you have the space to listen. 

If you don’t usually respond that way, you may shock your child, but if you begin to show up more often like this by keeping  the things outside of your fence, outside of your fence and then inspecting the deliveries that are sent inside, your inner Sherlock Holmes will serve you well. 

And this isn’t a once and done thing. I’m human. I have moments where all of the thought-box-deliveries come in and I react, and that’s okay. We are humans. It happens. The beautiful thing is you can begin to tune into the fact that you’re not feeling so good and then start to do some of the exercises - we aren’t looking for perfection. We’re looking at feeling a little bit better.

What is happening is you are creating a safe space within your own mind, and that allows you to have the time to process the thoughts that are coming in without going automatically into reaction mode. All of this allows you to show up better not only for yourself but for every single person that you meet - including those closest to you. How cool is that? 


[level-up music]

Please remember that this isn’t something that we turn a switch on and we suddenly we’ll never go into reaction mode. Sometimes we need the reaction mode, especially in emergencies.

Some days, our Protector is on high-alert and we just have to go, “Okay, that’s where I am right now.”

Trust that over time, the more that you do this, the easier it will become, the more fun it will become, the sillier life becomes, and we’re not looking for perfection. We’re looking for a little more space, and a little more space, and a little more space.  


[level-up music]

Your journal prompt for today is … Do you have an emotion that you typically try to avoid feeling? How can you use questions to better understand it?


As always, I provide content to make you think. My hope is that I am able to provide you with thoughts that positively impact your life. If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a moment to follow this podcast - it is free after all - AND become this podcast's hero by sharing it with others! You’ll find links to additional resources, time markers and more in the show notes. 

[exit music - upbeat]

Thanks for listening today, see if you can ask yourself a few of those questions and don’t you dare forget that you are amazing! 

Chat next time!


Your Empty Nest Coach Christine has her arms out wide and looking up to the sky while in nature, text leads to the online home for the 30-Day  Challenge to Empty Nest Success

30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success

It's time to take control of your new reality and turn it into a positive experience. Do the FREE 30-Day Challenge to Empty Nest Success and get started on your amazing new chapter in life! All are welcome - whether the empty nest is ahead or you've been in it for years and anywhere between.