I was running to the train… again! The LIRR always leaves on time, exactly on time. It’s never late. Sometimes it departs at 6:17, sometimes 12:34, but always precisely on the minute. Being as efficient as I can be, I wait until the last possible moment to arrive at the train station. In the many years of living in New York City I’ve never missed a departure, but I can’t even begin to count how many times I was stressed out and running to catch that darn train. That train, that does exactly what it’s supposed to do.
Seems absurd, right? I want the Long Island Railroad to accommodate my tardiness. I mean, why wouldn’t it? I don’t know if you’re like me, but I like to optimize my time. My secret sauce is to do as many of the things that I love as I can, for as long as I’m alive. A great recipe for a pretty awesome life, except when I’m trying to pack too much in and wind up causing stress! I wish I had a teleporter! Soon, the Google Car is going to help my cause. My efficiency rates will increase immensely!
Part of my stress comes from all that rushing. Remember those old OJ commercials where he’s running through the airport? That was me, always running, always rushing. I would run to the train, run to work, rush to family gatherings. I was, arguably, addicted to the stress that is caused by leaving everything to the last moment.
But then things shifted for me. One day, in the same situation, rushing, rushing through an airport, my mind had shifted. I used to be so critical of myself. My mind chatter was not productive to say the least. I would tell myself that I was bad at managing my time, I reinforced the fact that I was living behind the 8-ball, never able to get ahead. The mind chatter went on and on. But then I noticed the shift one day and my mind became supportive. I started telling myself encouraging thoughts. By the way, my rushing in this case was no fault of my own, the first leg of my flight was delayed. As I was rushing to catch my plane I was telling myself, “breathe, take deep breaths, you’re going to make it.”
How did this happen? How did I go from having that critical mind to the positive encouraging coach inside? Well, I do believe it takes awareness, acceptance and diligent action to persevere.
A few things I recommend to switch your mind from negative to positive.
1. Give yourself enough time. There is a whole world of people out there who arrive early. Be social and go meet them. As far as rushing goes, you may be able to avoid all the anxiety and negative thinking that comes along with it!
2. When you recognize your inner dialogue as critical and negative, stop. Stop your thinking, stop what you’re doing and come back to neutral. Think about the situation and see how best to be your own inner coach. Remember the mind is a tool for us to use, but so many of us get caught up in the fact that what we think is who we are. It’s so incredibly false. Our identity is so much more than what we think. It’s time we begin to live from the heart center and use the mind for our benefit not our detriment.
3. Imagine what your coach would say to get the best out of you. If you had Tony Robbins, Jim Rohn, Oprah or Deepak Chopra, what would they tell you? Whoever you can come up with as a great motivator or coach, when the mind takes a turn for the worse, lighten up for a minute, pull yourself out of your mind, think about what your motivator would say, then tell it to yourself!
It is true, however that most of the 40-70k thoughts we think throughout the day are sub-conscious, but we can direct the mind. If I told you to think about a rose, the experience of being in a rose garden, stopping, taking a deep breath and feel the rose filled air seep their way into your heart, you might think about that for a moment. But you may have also had some other random thoughts jut into your mind. Take it all with a grain of salt, but do your best to stop the negative, understanding the mind is a great way to freedom, but it takes practice.
Begin with small easy situations and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you can begin boosting your positivity, productivity and how you feel in the world!
Photo Credit: flickr.com/AndrewJones