I know, it has been ages since I last wrote anything on my blog, and there isn’t really an excuse I can make apart from the fact that I have been super busy! It’s funny how we go on a holiday to forget about the stressful lives we have, only to return to even more stress with having to catch up on loads of emails and pending work tasks.. Does that sound familiar at all?
How to disconnect from stress of everyday life?
If you know me, you may know about my obsession for tall buildings, or any high places and also gardens. This has been something I haven’t been able to explain before but after I visited the new Garden at 120, I think I finally grasped the reason behind this obsession. When I was up there on the 15th floor, at the roof garden (see, two of my obsessions combined) I physically felt like taking the biggest breathe in I have taken for weeks. I felt like there I was literally above everything I find stressful in my life at the moment. I pictured the stress as something more “tangible”, like a thick fog, that’s down on my head level on the ground, but it could not climb high enough to reach this rooftop I was standing at. That to me was a powerful moment of disconnecting from my stress. Ever since I have been practicing very hard to imagine that moment, whenever I am in a stressful situation.
Recognise when you are overthinking
This year I have started to listen to lots of podcasts. I recently listened to one by Rob Dial, and what he said about overthinking really resonated with me. He said overthinking can easily turn into an addiction, when you are no longer in charge of your thoughts, but instead your thoughts control you. He talks about the power of human mind to imagine things and make them disappear, explaining that the same way you can bring the negative thought into your mind, you can also make them disappear and imagine something else to replace them. I want to take this exercise a bit further, so you are welcome to try this if you like: Imagine yourself rising above the stress, it can be the rooftop where you can stand 15 floors above your stress or it can be a beach where you see the stress literally washing down to the waves and dissolving. You just need to imagine this very clearly in your head. Focus on your imaginary stressless place and try to picture as many details as you can, and whenever you catch yourself overthinking, telling yourself you can’t do whatever it is you need to do, go to this place and take a breath.
How to reconnect to the present?
This is really difficult for an overthinker like me, as my friend once put it when we were 15, “you already worry about what kind of socks to wear tomorrow!”. And that pretty well explains how granular I am with detail and how I play scenarios in my head even they haven’t happened yet and they probably will never happen that way. The same way that mindfulness works, you need to bring yourself into the present moment when your mind goes off for a wander. I find it often difficult to do this by focusing on how my body feels, because my body is often achy and if I focus on that it will only make me feel worse (and then I start thinking how all my joints are messed up and here we go again with the overthinking). So instead, think about what it would be like to be a 3 year old. In the world of a 3 year old everything you see, hear, feel and smell was exciting new adventure. They live in the present moment and they don’t worry about anything that’s going to happen 5 minutes from now. So focus on your surroundings, when doing simple things like washing your hands or walking down the road. What would your 3 year old self, who is not worried about money, work or the way they look in the mirror, what would they do?
Reconnect back into your present, as if you were in a garden, full of flowers, so excited to see them all that you don’t have space for the stress, you disconnect the stress, and reconnect to the present.
It takes an awful lot of practice for something to become a habit, and breaking bad habits can be as hard as quitting smoking or junk food. So keep on writing down your progress, it takes at least 28 times for something to become a habit ✨