The Power of Practice
Over the weekend, I realized something that I wanted to share with you. Saturday, I planned to have this really cool movie theater night quarantine style. I was picturing movie theater popcorn, drinks, candy and a good movie with my SO. Well, Saturday came and the weather was absolutely gorgeous! It was maybe 70-75* here in IL and I just wanted to soak it all up. Which meant my brain was on overload thinking of other things to do besides that kick ass movie theater night that didn't sound as fun anymore.
I mentioned to Pat about the movie night earlier in the week, but when the weather was so great on Saturday I said to him "Why don't we grill out instead?" Perfect, right? Genius idea, Amanda.
But then it happened. I started second guessing my decision.
I don't know WHY I do this (it's probably part of my 'people pleasing' abilities), but I caught myself spiraling and I want to share how I stopped myself from going too far (AKA totally changing plans AGAIN and making things way more complicated than they needed to be AKA adding stress on myself).
Let me tell you everything my brain was thinking. The entire time I was getting ready to go to the grocery store and head to Pat's I thought:
I should be grilling out here. I need to get comfortable with using it.
But if we grill out here, I have to finish getting dressed, tidy up the place, go grocery shopping... There just isn't enough time because I don't want to eat late.
You already changed plans from movie night to grilling out, dang it! I should've told him to come over here instead.
Ugh-- Why am I changing plans again? You're making this so complicated.
Mind you-- The above statements are between me, myself and I. I have not shared any of this with Pat. I could feel myself getting frustrated with myself while the spiraling continued. I began to feel anxious because I was in a hurry to leave.
In the end, I stuck to the plan. We made burgers and broccoli and drank on the back patio for hours. It was definitely an awesome, relaxing night overall.
So how did I manage to stop the spiral thinking? I recognized that I was doing it.
When you recognize that you're becoming less focused on the task at hand (in my case, it was getting dressed and leave for the store), out loud and in your mind ask yourself "Is this helping me X?" Example: Is this helping me get ready for work/to leave/for my meeting?
Repeat that question over and over to yourself until you become more focused and present.
Do NOT call yourself names, go hard on yourself, get negative. Going negative will only pull you farther and farther away from getting focused.
Instead, I'll say to myself "I am focused. I can do this. This is not helping me get ready."
The more you begin to recognize your thought patterns, reframe them and practice, the easier it gets to switch back to the present moment and before your anxiety takes flight.