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Over FREAKING Load
Learn To Enjoy the Zero Time Zone
Our minds are never still. We race our bodies to get from one demand to the other. Unconsciously, we allow our surroundings to influence our thoughts and actions. We simply do not take time to just “be”. Sleep? If we DO sleep, it’s not always good, deep REM sleep. Eat? It is never as nutritionally balanced as it could be. Family and friends? We just do not make time for them. This is our world. Going. Doing. Buying. Wishing. Trying to keep up the pace of the life around us.
I have this habit each night where I relive my accounts of my day. Where did it begin? What did I eat? Did I get my check-off list completed? Did I exercise? Did I take the time to love my family? Did I stop mid- afternoon and just practice my breathing. This night time routine is calming for me and it keeps my mind focused on the things that are most important to me. The things that have meaning in my life. The things that keep me going.
Years ago I decided that no matter what I did, thought, or didn’t do, that the world around me was going to keep spinning. There was always going to be places to go, people to see, and things to get done. There were always going to be expectations to meet and people who would be watching. I knew with one hundred percent certainty, however, that I would never keep up.
In reality, no one or nothing expected me to keep up. These were false beliefs on my part. My brain created these feelings of needing to accomplish X, Y, and Z in a day’s time. My mind was tricking me and pushing me to limits that I would never sanely meet. I knew that I needed to choose giving in to these disturbing, self-defeating expectations (Sociology 101) or to exit, freeing my mind from anything and anyone who wanted more from me.
Our minds, you see, play games. Although it likes being active, pushed, and challenged so it can make new neuronal connections, it can be our greatest enemy, making us think we are not good enough if we don’t meet certain standards. It convinces us that we have to blend in to the craziness around us. Our mind is powerful beyond measure and we never seem to STOP and battle it. We ALLOW it to take over and push us to the point of physical and mental exhaustion causing feelings of resentment, anger, jealousy, self- hatred, or even depression. All of those feelings that we feel and those feelings that society implies are wrong to feel are a result of brain chemicals mixed with pressure to perform and expectations to “be”.
This is when you might disagree.
We do this to ourselves. We are to blame. We are in control, yet give in to outward pressures. We mistreat ourselves by not ignoring what goes on around us. (The word “ignore” has a negative connotation, but in reality in order to train our brains, we need to sometimes ignore outside demands.) We can be fearful of being left out and of missing out.
It is essential to let those thoughts go and learn to like being alone. Practice being alone and really taking notes on what you think about when you are in that “zero time zone”. Demand to be left alone if you have to. This is most helpful and works the best when you are in a wind-down mode. If the TV is on, the kids are running in and out, or work is demanding you to be back at a certain time, chances are your mind can not reach full contentment. [However, I do know people who have some sort of magical power to just shut down. They can close their eyes for ten minutes and pull the curtain between themselves and the world and just “be”. These people are very lucky.]
We have to allow ourselves to do nothing. We have to be okay when those self-sabotaging feelings bombard our brains. We are in control and can derail the thoughts that make us conform to outside demands. The easiest way to do this is to carve out enough time for our minds to enter a nirvana of sorts, and just shut off the world around us. It’s okay to do this. The world will not miss you for a few minutes and you will not miss it.
Enjoy the vacation. Your mind, even though it is tricky, thanks you.
Lori M. Bender, MSW
Professional Wellness and Life Coach
Founder of Carolina Lifestyle Coaching
FB-Carolina Lifestyle Coaching