That story in your head. That one you tell yourself every week or everyday. Is it helpful? Is it accurate? Or is it just a default setting? Have you ever thought about reprogramming that voice? Maybe making it a repeat record that tells you great things about yourself, or how grateful you are to have what you have in life or that what you want to do in life is actually achievable?
You see our brains are like road maps. They take the same route home again and again – like a GPS on autopilot. Even if it’s a dead end, it’s the road your brain knows well and it’s the easiest one to go down.
Perhaps you didn’t even know there was another route? Or perhaps you aren’t sure how to even jump on that route?
These routes are how depression starts and continues and how the cycle of anxiety perpetuates itself.
I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a while now as I see so many people with these false stories in their heads all the time. They’ve created their own version of reality and who they are and while this isn’t always bad, many of these roadmaps are unhelpful, false and based on conclusions they formed many many years ago.
Now I’m not here to make another raving review on the power of meditation and mindfulness but one aspect it has bought to my life is the ability to ‘think about what I’m thinking about’.
To be conscious of the thoughts you’re thinking, the stuff you’re telling yourself or not telling yourself. The thoughts that come in when you’re super tired and over it and the crazy conclusions you draw from these.
When I took a moment to start observing what I was actually thinking, some of it was pretty naff. It wasn’t helpful, it was negative and it didn’t reflect reality – it was just my version of it.
There are about 2 or 3 stories that we default to in times of sadness or stress and these are the ones you need to watch out for. Mine was ‘oh I’ll never be good at xyz’ and ‘everyone else has the answer to this and I don’t’. Clearly both are wrong. And yes I still think these things sometime but I’m aware of when they pop up and I just think – yea this is the dead end road – I think I’ll take the highway this time.
So think about what you’re thinking about! What are the small things your brain thinks when you fail at something, are unsure about something, get rejected by someone, feel overwhelmed or nothing goes as planned? You’ll be surprised by what road maps your brain has made.
Then bring yourself back to the present moment and remind yourself of what actually is true and good and helpful.
Are you actually no good at that sport or have you just not practiced enough? Is this really the way it will always be or have you just not thought of alternative solutions? Are you really not good enough for that girl/guy or are you just not a good match anyway? Is everyone else actually happier or have it more together than you or have you just spent too much time on their well-manicured Instagram feed?
There was a wise person who once wrote in the book of proverbs ‘Be careful what you think, because your thoughts run your life’. See even back then they knew what they were talking about.
So drive down some better roads this year my friends. Don’t get caught in the dead ends again!