Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night thinking of something you should have done at work or something you missed? It’s human nature, it’s just a pity these damn thoughts pop unto our heads when we’re trying to have a good night’s sleep or enjoy our weekend.
I will often be at home, on a hiking trail or in a yoga class and an unwanted thought rudely invades my headspace. It could be work, it could be something else. It lurks around in the back of my mind, waiting for a time to pounce, just before I get too comfortable, then it jumps out and starts demanding my attention.
Obligingly, I take the bait and start worrying as I am expected to. There is so much out of our control, or more accurately out of our control at this time, right now. If we cannot deal with the issue that’s taken up residence in our headspace there and then, we can kindly ask it to leave.
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.
We can catch these thoughts and save them for later. If its work related I generally send myself an email, so there is a reminder sitting waiting for me when I get in. Otherwise, I make a note or if I’m driving, I ask Siri to set a reminder or send an email.
Unwanted thoughts don’t have to hijack our headspace. We can save them for a suitable time and place to deal with them. When you are in a position that you will not forget what has come up it is easier to stop worrying about it.
It can be tricky to catch these thoughts, it comes with practice. Daily meditation is so important. Start small and build up but be consistent, even if it is only a few minutes a day, eventually, you will become more aware of your thoughts and your state of mind when you’re not at ease. (See the end of the page for some of our previous blogs on meditation)
Meditation and concentration are the way to a life of serenity.
What if it doesn’t go away? When you affirm something, your brain listens to you. I often tell myself, “I don’t need to think about that right now.” My brain listens to me and I can dismiss the thought. It may keep popping back into my mind, especially if it is something troubling but repeat, repeat, repeat.
Your unconsciousness is not the one in charge, you are. You do not have to take all the suggestions the unconscious mind throws at you.
Beware of the procrastination bug also, you can only tell yourself “I don’t need to think about that right now,” so many times before it’s effectiveness will fade. The defences against worry and preoccupation breakdown. Acknowledge whatever it is that’s bothering you and set aside dedicated time in the future to think about it. If you can do something about it there and then, it is best to act rather than defer but it depends on the situation. If a professional item pops up when you’re in the middle of family time you’re not going to drop everything.
If you can’t act on it or chose not to for a good reason, set something in place to remind yourself and tell yourself that you do not need to think about that right now. After time and practice, you will start to catch your uninvited worries sooner and more often.
The future can be a source of anxiety and stress and it is something we must think about and make decisions about but I believe in deliberate thought rather than background worry which in the long run will only add wrinkles to your face and grey to your hair. Allow yourself to set the worries aside for the right time.