Are You a Thermometer or a Thermostat?

The following is a guest post by Lisa Bobyak of Living Fully Balanced.

You’ve got them in your house, but have you ever thought about what truly differentiates the thermometer from the thermostat?

The thermometer in your home reads the room and adjusts to the external surroundings. It’s controlled by factors outside of itself. The thermostat is set and remains steady no matter what the external conditions are. The controls are internal and constant.

To understand why I’m talking about the HVAC system in your home when my typical subject matter isn’t focused on climate control, I’d like you to consider these common life events. How do you respond to them? Are you a thermometer or a thermostat?

  • You couldn’t get in to see your doctor for three months and the day of the appointment arrives. Your appointment is scheduled for 2:00pm and you get there early to check in. As you settle in to the seat in the waiting room, you notice others are being taken back their rooms. You wait. And you wait. And you wait. Finally, at 3:30pm, a nurse calls your name and takes you back to the exam room. You get changed into the paper gown. And you wait… again. Your doctor eventually rolls into your room around 4:00pm. ARGH! Is your reaction more like a thermometer or a thermostat?
  • It’s Wednesday evening and you’ve had a relatively good day at work. You’re feeling fine and you’re happy to be home. However, things quickly change when you open the door from the garage to the house. You can almost taste the tension in the air. Your six-year-old twins are arguing over who’s turn it is with the shared iPad. And your spouse is yelling at your oldest, “Turn off the TV and find your soccer equipment! If we don’t leave in five minutes, we’ll be late!”. Thermometer or thermostat?

In our busy, sometimes frenetic days, it’s so easy to get caught up in reacting to the “temperature of the room.” Without thinking about it, we often soak in other people’s emotions and before we know it, we’re the ones taking on the stress and negative emotions that weren’t ours to begin with.

It’s a natural response to react like a thermometer.

However, constantly reacting to, and being pushed and pulled by other people’s moods and agendas gets exhausting. And it’s not just tiring. Our physical health takes a huge hit when we absorb other people’s stuff.

So, what’s our protection against the constant barrage of emotional shrapnel in our everyday world?

Be a thermostat rather than a thermometer.

Thermostat people have an internal locus of control. They know they have the power to control how they respond, no matter what’s going on around them. Their reactions are controlled and they are not affected by external factors.

Thermostat people are resilient.

Resilient people are happy.

Resilient people find joy in life.

And joyful people are better at practicing self-care and being kind to themselves.

The Stuck Place: 3 Powerful Tips to Move Through the Muck

This content was originally found on

I’d like to get real with you. No matter how much I know or how motivated I think I am, I still get caught in the stuck place. Do you know that place…where we knowingly choose things that don’t move us forward?

Even though I have been trained in helping people get unstuck, I sometimes get caught in the weeds and hang around in the muck myself. (Argh…heavy sigh)

Looking back, I have to say I used to live in the muck more often than I want to admit. At the time, I knew that the stuck place wasn’t a place where I wanted to be. However, it WAS a place in which I was comfortable. I knew how I felt when I was there, yet even though it was comfortable, I so desperately wanted to get unstuck.

Sometimes we have to get deeply uncomfortable in order to make a change. That was surely true for me. And it’s that way for most of my clients.

One of my clients recently texted me in desperation, hoping that she could have a coaching session the next day. She was pretty sure that she wasn’t making any progress and she felt like she was actually sliding backwards. Even though she felt like something was wrong with her, we talked about the fact that what she was experiencing was actually normal.

When we’re moving through divorce we can all find ourselves in the stuck place. It’s a place where inertia gets the best of us, we feel overwhelmed, and like we’re going backward, not forward.

Here are three powerful tips to help you move through the muck in your life.

1. You are not alone. It can feel lonely when we listen to the murky, negative self-talk in our heads. Because we live in a culture that honors bold action and positivity, we often feel like something must be wrong with us, when we can’t “just gett’er done” like everyone else. There is nothing wrong with you!

2. The thoughts in your head are actually not truths. Those thoughts are created by the part of you that wants to keep you safe. And what better way to keep you safe, than to keep you stagnant and not risk anything. But in order to move through a place of stuck, you must take risks. And the real truth is that all of us, even the Tony Robbins’s among us, occasionally need to re-motivate, re-commit and create consistent actions as we move through.

3. You are capable. When you find that you are stuck and don’t know how to move forward, I want you to know that you’re not lacking something that others have. You have the resources and skills you need to move through this difficult and often painful transition. Do what you know you need to do, and you’ll build your confidence, one choice at a time.