At some point, I found myself swimming in thoughts. Too many thoughts if I must be honest. Thoughts that triggered all types of emotions, good and bad. I found myself trying to hush them somehow by keeping myself busy. We all know that "busy" is not always translated to productive, so things seemingly turned chaotic rather than soothed me from these thoughts of what seemed like every possible thing that could occupy my brain space at one time. I found myself scattered here and there, half accomplishing the things that I needed to get done with focus that I clearly didn't have.
What was the problem? Some sort of overload of being bombarded day in and day out with information. A constant reminder of what things should be like, what they should look like, how life was supposed to be, and most taunting of all, how far I seemed to be away from being even remotely close to these images hammered in my mind everyday.
What I didn't realize was how paralyzing thinking too much is! Nothing is more frustrating than having a list full of to-do's and accomplishing none because you are too distracted with the how's and the why's to even make the first move to get them started.
I had to do something to refocus and get grounded. I had to knock myself out of this trance like cycle and get back to ME.
The first thing I did was PLUG IN. I had to reconnect my thoughts to ones that empowered me, rather than those that depleted me. I do this best by feeding my mind with personal development first thing in the morning. I start each day with something positive, uplifting, and inspiring. I would grab my phone and go straight to YouTube and find a sermon, a motivational video, or listen to affirmations at a time when I found myself the most susceptible to overthinking, in LA Traffic in my 45 minute to an hour commute to work in the morning. Most recently I have been able to find my peace with audio-books. This helped me tremendously. Not only did it refocus my thoughts and set me up powerfully for the day, it made me greatly decreased the tense feelings I’d have in traffic, which allowed me to be more relaxed throughout the day. I noticed that I was in a much better mood. I found myself more energized when work was over, which allowed me to accomplish those task that I never could focus enough to complete or even have enough energy left over to tackle.
The second thing I had to do was UNPLUG. Unplugging from things like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TV was a major necessity. Though social media networks, TV shows, and streaming apps can be extremely entertaining, and a way to connect to friends and family and to the outside world, they are major contributors to wasted valuable time. Not only that, like in my case, they can contribute in a surprising way to the current epidemic of anxiety, and mental health. Seeing life so glamorized on the one hand and then being constantly bombarded with advertisements, other people’s lives, conflicting quotes, memes, extreme crime, hate, and negativity does a lot to the human brain. Its clear that many people have become desensitized to things that have once been sacred or off limits. We have been exposed to so many things that its no surprise to me that suicide and depression seems to be at an all time high. Social media an entertainment apps don’t always have to be seen in a negative light. When filtered and used with purpose and intent, they can be a great way to connect with like-minded people, networking, to grow your business, advertising, motivation, and inspiration. Like myself I had to unfollow a few pages and hide a few things from my view that did not serve me in a positive way. After a few tweaks here and there, things got much better.
Knowing what works for you and what doesn’t will save you so much time and energy from going through the motions. I started to notice that I was going through cycles of highs and lows. When I was working out, eating right, and staying plugged in to the right things and unplugged from the wrong things, life was good, I was focused and knocking out task and goals like a champ.
Learning your patterns and paying attention to yourself as much, if not more, than you pay attention to other things and people will allow you to identify things that you may need to reevaluate in your life.
It All Matters!
Things like foods you consume surprisingly can change your mood, and brain chemistry. Food can alter your energy levels and even your mental clarity. For example, I know that when I eat unhealthily, I can immediately feel the difference in how my body responds to it. Not only do I feel sluggish and weighted down, I then feel down because I know that I have strayed from the path that will get me to my goals. It may seem a little extreme, but I gain 5 lbs by just looking at a carb. This one act can quickly send me down a spiraling hole. To prevent this, I try my best to stay prepared. Because life is no fun when its strict 24/7, I allow myself room for error, but I keep reinforcements in place to break potential negative cycles. I meal prep often and eat a pretty healthy diet most of the time. Changing my habits and sticking to them help me keep my head in the game. Making simple adjustments can drastically help you improve your day to day life. Keep a plan and do your best to stick to it. If you happen to slip, let it be that, just a slip. Being self-aware and knowing what triggers you, will allow you to stay in your zone much more and out of it much less.
1. Identify problems.
2. Uncover the source of the problems.
3. Reconnect to things that put you in your zone.
4. Pull the plug on all things that distract and clutter your mind.
5. Create boundaries and structure to stay focused and balanced.
6. Be self aware.