Many people that I see have problems that they fret over for weeks, months, even years, before they come to see me. By the time they make an appointment, they could have really up-scaled their anxiety. Without a means of breaking unhelpful cycles, the problem can expand, grow and even become part of the new norm.
Sometimes, it’s simply that opportunities and solutions are invisible to us; but they are still there. The thinking fuzziness is clouded by our unnecessary thoughts, ideas and negative what ifs.
Being in this state of high alert switches off learning and reasoning processes.
It doesn’t just affect our problem solving ability, though. It’s a common cause of sleeplessness and health problems that comes because we forget to take care of the basics – sleep, movement, nourishment, fun, relationships and stillness. In the worse cases, this behaviour can lead to burnout.
Our minds are geared to collect information from our surroundings using our 5 senses; but in today’s world, we often spend more time inside ourselves than seeing and hearing the outside. We bury our heads in our phones and devices, we listen to music and podcasts with earphones in – blocking out natural sounds around us. In so doing, you’re actually failing to ground yourself.
Cutting ourselves off from the real world and delving more into the artificial word, we actually make any negative internal dialogue worsen. We’re too ‘inside our heads’. We need to be more grounded in reality. If you ground yourself more in this world, rather than that of television and social media, you will see quick results.
Whilst we’re talking about it, can I also make mention of watching the news and reading too many social media posts? Events that make the news or spread through the internet do so because they are extraordinary, not ordinary. We cam easily create an internal panic – or worse – by consuming the 24 hour bulletins and not paying attention to the effect on our minds.
In brief, it really does make you feel better to leave the 21st century for a while and get back to something far simpler.
What to do about it
- 1. Notice how many ways you insulate yourself from reality (looking at television, iPads, phones, using headphones, listening your personal soundtracks, podcasts, social media, eating low quality food);
- Pick a day to turn off your devices and really notice your surroundings using all 5 senses. If possible, write down what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste. No social media, no television (if you can!). Walk in nature, cook, go to the pub with friends, do whatever re-connects you to being more grounded and down-to-earth.
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