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Coyote Thoughts: Are You Robbing Your Emotional Bank Account?

Many of us run on empty. Our lives are challenging if not painful. A problem happens and we think about it for a long time afterward and it can make things worse. 

We think thoughts like, “Did I do the wrong thing?”; “They screwed me over.”; “I am such a loser.”; “I can’t do anything right.”; “Nobody likes me.” and worse. We become spent, worn out, can’t take anymore. Most likely, Trickster Thoughts are stealing from your bank account...huh?

We all have emotional bank accounts stored in our hearts. Here’s how it works. This bank account only has from one to ten emotional dollars in it. Let’s call them Emo-Bucks (©2014 B. Washington). If your account is full, it has ten Emo-Bucks in it. If it is zero, you are close to dead with nothing left. Our brains spend or earn Emo-Bucks and we can’t have more than ten in the account. Often we think of emotions as bad, but there are wonderful emotions too like being happy, which is often triggered by things like seeing loved ones, seeing wildlife, winning a jack pot and other things that make you feel joy. There are also emotions that consist of feelings of excitement, which could be prompted by activities like hunting Big Foot, or watching or playing sporting events.

Everyday life presents problems that take our Emo-Bucks—and of course our job is to replenish anything spent. Anything that brings us joy—such as children, kindness or sports—and incites good feelings—like love, happiness, wonder, hope, appreciation, satisfaction or amusement—earns us Emo-Bucks and restores our bank account. It builds our resilience and our quality of life satisfaction, allowing us to see the beauty in the world. This is the great part: When we spend our Emo-Bucks on love, kindness, good excitement and friendship, we are spending them and also earning them back at the same time. In some aspects it becomes an endless emotional bank account.

Life will take a few Emo-Bucks throughout the day and week. However, Trickster Thoughts will steal more Emo-Bucks than the problems are worth, trying to bankrupt you and make you suffer for the Trickster’s pleasure. The slyness of the Tricksters will tell you that a problem is much worse than it is and then it will become a drama. The thoughts that the Tricksters present are often the first thought you have, making you think, “I thought it, it must be true.” Ah, but the Thought-Smart Warrior (©2013 B. Washington) will think about other possibilities and kick the Trickster Thoughts out, saving their Emo-Bucks. 

Thought-Smart is not about IQ. It is about becoming smart and understanding how thoughts work to our advantage or disadvantage. The way to become a Thought Smart Warrior involves learning the Trickster Thoughts and seeing them for how they make our lives miserable and then chasing them away. 

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Right now the Tells Future Trickster may be saying: “Don’t try this, it won’t work.” Or the Jumps to Conclusions Tricksters may say: “I will always have problems and this is just my personality of how I think.” 

From zero to ten, ten is feeling the best with no problems and zero is the pits, how many Emo-Bucks are in your account right now?

Now try that again but think about this very moment in time, not about this morning or afternoon, or about yesterday or tomorrow, just this moment. You are relaxed, not changing a flat on your car or getting yelled at—now think of this very moment. How many Emo-Bucks are in your account? They probably went up. Our Ancestors did not want us to just survive, they wanted us to flourish and enjoy our lives. You can be a Thought Smart Warrior and have more power over the problems, making you resilient.

Dr. Beau Washington received his doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado. A member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Beau grew up at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, where his Father was a teacher. While researching depression, he also discovered the wide range of problems that rumination (dwelling) on problems creates in other mental problems as well. His active understanding of ruminative thought lead to developing a technique for effectively stopping the painful thoughts that plague distressed individuals. In addition, Beau developed cognitive models of depression and addiction.

Beau’s therapy model is entering the clinical trial stage at the University of New Mexico. He is training behavioral health clinics in his therapy. Beau is also adapting his therapy for sports, making it easier for players to focus on the moment.

He has also developed a Native suicide prevention program called “Coyote Thoughts” ©2013. Beau has trained Native mental health clinics and presented at reservations as well as regional and national conferences. Visit his website