A few days ago I was having one of those moments where my thoughts began to run wild and I allowed them to get the best of me. It was one of those days where I was feeling overwhelmed and one small thought turned into a jumble of fabricated stories in my head. It’s amazing how quickly those thoughts can get out of control and how much drama can unfold if they’re not put at bay.
So a few minutes ago as I was getting ready to sit down here and write about this I was going through some points in my mind that I wanted to make sure to share. I realized, for now, three things that help in keeping my thoughts from running wild.
The first thing is God. When thoughts of self-pity, doubt, or negativity are beginning to build up in my mind I know that the one thing that can quickly help me to put things in perspective and separate what’s actually happening from what is being dramatized in my head is when I stop and pray to God to help me get out of that mental rut. And I’ll admit that sometimes praying isn’t the first thing I do when I know I’m getting lost in my monkey mind. Because let’s face it, I’m human, and sometimes I want to wallow in those thoughts and I resist doing what I know will help me out. But then I don’t feel so good, because often those monkey thoughts aren’t positive, encouraging, or helpful thoughts, otherwise why would I be wanting to end them right? And when I’ve had enough of the novella forming in my mind the first thing I do is turn to God and He always helps me sort things out and usually all it takes is a moment of counting my blessings.
The second thing that helps me is something I realized today. Exercising. Releasing those positive endorphins. Today my husband and I went to the park together to work out and it’s truly amazing how much better my mind and body feels with just a 30 min workout. Afterward I felt renewed, refreshed, even my posture felt different. When I feel that good, it’s hard for my thoughts to get all jumbled because there is so much positive to counteract it. I realize how important it is for me to keep that up. I haven’t been so good about exercising since having our baby and this is something I need to work on, not just because I’ll be able to see the physical results but most importantly because it will help my state of mind and clear up things for me. And while it doesn’t mean I won’t have overwhelming days, it means I’ll be able to handle those moments, and most importantly the thoughts that come with overwhelming moments, in a more helpful and healthy light.
And the third thing is a bit tougher for me and requires practice. This I learned from talks that my husband would share with me from his meditation practice and going to Zen center. What I need to practice is that I can acknowledge the thought, but then need to let it go like a passing cloud. I don’t need to ignore it, because let’s face it that just means it’s going to pop up again (which it might anyway lol), but to really acknowledge the thought, realize that it’s present and then let it go without allowing it to form into a drama in my mind. Because I’ve been in that situation too often where I let myself get lost in my negative thoughts and then my outward reactions, particularly to my loved ones (primarily to my husband and mom), begin to form based on those negative thoughts I’m giving reign to in my mind, and yes I’m embarrassed to admit, that I’m sure I’m not the most pleasant person to be around in those moments.
So atleast for today there was no monkey mind drama in my thoughts, and I think that if I keep those three things I mentioned a regular part of my day and practice, I can have more moments where my thoughts are just thoughts and not drama unfolding in my head.