“The goal is not to ignore or suppress [distressing thoughts or] feelings, but to accept them as they happen to be at the moment . . . and then to get on with doing what is sensible and mature anyway.”
David Reynolds, Constructive Living
Has it ever happened to you that you write a to-do list, in the morning, after waking up with a feeling of grogginess, and proceeded to do absolutely nothing on that list? You’re not alone.
When we think about our life’s productiveness, we tend to think as if our “best self” was always the person on the wheel. Which is almost always not the case. Whenever I go for a long run on Saturdays, I know I won’t be able to do much during the rest of the day other than eating and doing some light work on the computer.
We’re different versions of ourselves through the week. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything when we feel down, for consistency is the mother of greatness.
So, what to do about it?
Cut the crap
The first thing that I do is, to be honest with myself and ask myself a question: Given how I feel right now, and how I expect to feel during the day, what are the 2 most important things that need to get done to get forward with my meaningful life?
Throw your to-do list into the trash and focus on those two. If you do more stuff, that’s extra, kudos to you.
Become indifferent to your mind
Your mind, when extremely tired, converts into a monster.
How can you control it?
“A thought…comes up in me –” wrote Friedrich Nietzsche “where from? how? I simply don’t know. It comes, independently of my will, usually surrounded and obscured by a mass of feelings, desires, aversions, and also other thoughts…and I am surely more spectator than originator of this process.”
Nietzsche, Writings from the Late Notebook
You can only control your reaction to the thoughts and feelings that you experience. My advice is to sit then and meditate so you can detach from the constant influx of thoughts and feelings, and gain the capacity for correct reaction.
“Rather than regarding thoughts as necessarily true or as an aspect of the self, patients [who found relief from depression and anxiety] switched to a perspective within which negative thoughts and feelings could be seen as passing events in the mind that were neither necessarily valid reflections of reality nor central aspects of the self.”
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression
This too shall pass. Think about all those times that you felt like crap, dozed off after the long day, and felt freaking amazing upon waking up.
Become indifferent to your negative thoughts, it is just cortisol spiking, in fact, they are helping you, for they let you know that you need to chill.
And Finally, ask yourself this single question
“Does this choice diminish me, or enlarge me?”
James Hollis, What Matters Most
Think about your decisions throughout the day. It’s funny how the things that really push your life forward, are not that hard. Sitting down to write, making a budget, making that call you know you need to make, apply for that job.
But they are scary, and so we postpone them, and in doing so we postpone our lives away.
For me, when I feel like crap, I eat crap, and watch crap, when what I should be doing is eating healthy, drinking water, and taking a nap.
If you switch your focus, to the most sensible thing to do, at the moment, your life is going to change, for as Jung said:
“There are moments in human life” writes Jung “when a new page is turned. New interests and tendencies appear which have hitherto received no attention, [and] there is a sudden change of personality.”
Carl Jung, Practice of Psychotherapy
But you have to take action.
Make today a good day,