Tired from an exhausting week that included taxes, late nights and unanticipated teenage turmoil, Friday arrived with a vengeance. My head felt as if it were at the North Pole while my body was at the South Pole – so disconnected.
Dragging my body into the gym, I thought for certain that a workout would be the trick – I would bounce back to my usual self, pepped up with a smile. Yet the detachment only magnified!
Ugh! It was deadlift day – my favorite😊. But not today…
Lifting the bar was next to impossible. My heart and head had not decide simultaneously that I could it. Sure, I reach a number that anyone would love to hit. But it wasn’t the one I had “hoped” for…yes, a tinge of uncertainty in that statement.
Too many distractions – negative thoughts permeating, phone continually buzzing, focus wandering…
Monday was a new day with fresh thoughts and a decided heart, choosing to “own my workout” verus it own me. Reviewing the day’s program prior to walking in the gym, I established goals in my head of what was achievable. “I can do this,” repeated continually in my noggin’.
WOW – that was refreshing! Equally as challenged on both days, my Monday mindset translated into a killer workout. Could that have been the difference? The hours prior to both workouts were spent training others. I ate an identical breakfast (peanut butter, of course) and snack and drank the same pre-workout beverage.
Mind over matter, right?!?! That’s the only explanation…
“What you tell yourself is what will be.”
Human beings average ninety thousand thoughts per day (Yikes – my brain is exploding just looking at that number let alone thinking about it!). Most of them we are not even aware of. These thoughts are like spider webs building our attitude towards all aspects of our lives, telling us what’s right and wrong about the world, and about us, creating judgments and expectations and repeating to us what we need in order to be happy. They can be our best friends or worst enemies, as they remind us constantly of what we are, or are not, capable of – i.e. “I can lift the bar” or “I can’t lift the bar”. And yet we have the power to choose one thought over another and eliminate the ones what will not serve us.
We often don’t pay attention to the meditations in our head as there is not set place or time to do so. Thus, they are placing every rock in our path, defining how we act, what we say to others, what we believe in, and what our fears are. Our minds tend to ‘run’ all day every day – thinking, day-dreaming or worrying. However, one of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to tune into our “thinking brain”, choosing to not get involved in its content but rather bring about mental stillness and clarity by focusing our attention to the present moment.
Pay attention to your thoughts for a moment. Notice them, acknowledge them (“oh here’s another thought”), and when they become negative and unproductive, either let them go or create three positive thoughts to compensate.
Now, note your experiences (e.g. “My mind was full of worries at work- I noticed them but focused on my breath to stay present”) as you zero in on your thoughts.
- Does your heartbeat increase or do you break out into a sweat?
- Does your breathing slow down as you focus on positive vibes?
- What is it like for you to notice thoughts and not engage with them?
- Do you recognize a pattern of automatic negative thinking? Why might it be appearing?
Use this awareness to recognize how your thoughts play a role with your reality. The capacity to opt for more positive thinking is there, we just have to focus.
Ok, moving on…
So when can we shift awareness to our thoughts? Here are a few possibilities as you consider your day…
- Morning routines
- While working (and potentially being distracted)
- When getting frustrated/mad/emotional
- While eating
- Before going to bed
As your awareness of your mind increases, you can begin to notice if you tend to move towards your past or if you are consumed by your future. We can also start noticing how many negative or positive thoughts we build up in a day (remember those ninety thousand thoughts?) and how much they affect our actions and emotions. As the movements in our mind elevate, we can even realize how much power social media, news, TV, etc. have on our thoughts and we can become a bit more selective when choosing what we want to pay attention to.
I’ll leave you with this…
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; for it becomes your destiny.
Oh, and be more like our canine friends – they live in the moment, appreciate and give unconditional love, don’t worry about tomorrow, never feel guilty about what they eat, and of course understand but then forget about the negative things!