Some of us are all too eager to open those one-on-one date cards sent from our minds. (Can you tell I am deep into Season 14 of the Bachelorette?) We know full well our minds will betray us — telling us half-truths or outright lies, shrouding us in shame over past mistakes, and then showing a compelling movie trailer that previews catastrophes yet to come.
Our crafty minds know how to play the Getting Old card. How many years do you think you have left? What have you really done with your life? A glance in the mirror reveals a new wrinkle, sag, spot, pouch. Your mind has ample material to draw upon.
Soon your mind is questioning your friendships (not good), your calendar (too full or glaringly empty), conversations after one glass too many (you said THAT?), childhood memories unresolved; degrees, titles, goals – yup, all unreached.
Your mind also invites you on group-dates – social situations where loneliness is ironically at its worst – where your mind plays the Comparison Card culminating the big reveal of your fraud status.
We need to silence such unproductive ruminations once and for all. But first a couple of reminders.
We are not alone.
Consider the plethora of TED talks and self-help books – The Power of Positive Thinking, The Secret, The 7 Habits, The Power of Now, Mind Shift, Minding Your Mind; Outsmarting your Brain, Mindfulness. I love this recent title, Unfu*k Yourself – Getting out of your Mind; Getting on with your Life. (Really…why didn’t we think of that?)
It seems we are the reluctant star of the summer hit movie, Mind Gone Wild. (Ah, wouldn’t you know it…that’s already a book title!)
Secondly, our mind is the ultimate unreliable narrator who filters out the good and highlights the regrettable. It is time to call it out. We CAN tell our mind to mind its manners. (Now there’s a book title!)
Psychology Today offers practical suggestions for combating rumination. These are my top 5 which I am trying to implement when my mind starts on its awful-izing path.
- Distract your mind with a walk, a movie, a book or exercise. (Your mind has ADHD and is easily distracted.) When your mind is otherwise occupied, it has a chance to regroup.
- Recite Bible verses or poems; sing a song; say out loud, STOP.
- Write an encouraging note or email.
- Keep a gratitude journal. Review the events of the prior day and highlight what went well.
- DO something – clean a bathroom, cook a meal, pay a bill. Accomplish SOMEthing – albeit small.
Changing your outlook IS possible. Here’s what wonderful Maria Shriver has to say in her latest “I’ve Been Thinking” Sunday Paper —
“Shifting your thoughts can shift your perception of a person, of a place, of an event, or most importantly, of yourself. How you view yourself is truly dependent on how you think about yourself and your life.
Do you see yourself as a victim? If so, try shifting to survivor. Tell yourself, “I am a survivor.” Just use the word over and over again.
Do you see yourself as weak and indecisive? Then tell yourself that you are brave, clear and confident instead.
Do you see yourself as someone over the hill and no longer relevant? Then shift your take on that, too. Tell yourself, I’m in my prime. This is my time. Say this out loud. Say it clearly and confidently.”
So the next time you see that date-card with your name on it, tell your mind that you have other plans. Take a walk. Read a book. Cook an amazing dinner. Clean that toilet. (Well, let’s not go too far!) Treat yourself as your best friend. Say along with Maria, “This is my prime!”
Today’s Takeaway –
-Sometimes the very thing you DON’T want to do is the thing you probably should do and will feel better for having done it. Vacuuming, walking the dog, simply moving have the ability to unfu*k your mind!
-Another Maria-ism — Instead of saying, “I have to…” , say “I GET to…”
Enjoy the Ride! You GET to!!
Barclay and Joy