The Superfast 60 Second Emergency Brain Recovery Plan
Brain fried? Trouble getting to sleep with all those pesky thinkies mooching about in your headspace, trouncing your tranquillity? Me too, here’s a couple of tips:
This is going to be as quick to read as it is to perform so no excuses bucko! This is my go-to, one minute, no-nonsense routine for blasting the cobwebs out of anxiety, worry, sadness, rumination, hot memories, negative thoughts and just about any other gosh awful brain shenanigans that are storm clouding your blue skies. If you feel a bit pants, do this:
1. Get Stoic about it and decide whether it’s worth even worrying about (15 seconds)
There is nothing worse than seeing an insurmountable obstacle and not having your climbing gear to hand. The good news is, there are no insurmountable obstacles. There are only your THOUGHTS about whatever the thing is.
“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” William Shakespeare
More than that there are only ever really two states that a thing can be in: Under your control, or not under your control. Got to meet a deadline? Under your control. Rain stopped play? Not under your control. Feel me?
If it’s under your control, do the work. If it’s not under your control then think no more about it until the consequences of the thing arrive, then deal with them. If the shiz is going to hit the fan you’ve got to deal with it anyway, right? So why waste all the time up until then worrying yourself stupid about something that may or may not happen?
2. Breathe yourself into a bit of headspace (5 seconds)
No, I’m not going to suggest you immediately start meditating (although it’s really not a bad idea to explore that path), but when you’re dizzy with thinking the first thing you need to do is give yourself a little room to manoeuvre inside that head-shaped cauldron of yours.
Just do this: Take a breath – a single mindful breath.
Ideally performed like this: Put a hand on your belly (nobody will notice, don’t fret), take a slow breath in through your nose and be aware of it moving into the lower part of your lungs and pushing your belly against your hand. Let the breath naturally out again, through your nose and be aware of your belly deflating. That’s it. Congratulations, you just meditated. Even if for just one breath, for 5 measly seconds, you were mindful of your breath and were not engaged with the past or the future. A five second holiday for your noggin. Well done. Feel free to make it two or three breaths if you like and perform this just as often as you like throughout the day; no rules – just enjoy the break from thinking about the rest of the day. And yes, just one breath WILL make a difference; it will allow the thoughts to float away. Nothing stops them arising, but mindful breathing, I promise you, will give them the space to take their leave.
3. Hit the emergency gratitude button (38 seconds)
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it, gratitude is a game changer. Forget gratitude journals and morning pages (although I do both and it freaking works baby), so long as you get your head around a few of the things you already have, then the things you don’t have that may be vexing you will not seem quite the loss, or unrequited whatever, that they first appeared.
“Happy isn’t in the something you don’t have yet, it’s somewhere in your house or your life or on the end of the phone or in a cupboard upstairs, covered in dust and dog hairs.” Me
All you have to do is bring to mind a few things that you are pretty lucky to have (or have had) in your life. Here’s what works for me:
- A relationship I’m grateful for (even one I’m no longer in).
- Something simple (a book, a cloud, a penguin), near me, that I’m grateful for.
- Something great (or just good) that happened the day before.
4. You are NOT alone (2 seconds)
When you’re feeling jaded to whatever degree, just remember, everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, even the ones who claim otherwise or look like they’re gliding through life without a care in the world (according to their social media highlight reels anyway) either have, are or will go through exactly what you’re feeling now. Whether’s its grief from any kind of loss, anxiety of an unknown future or the solid fear of an impending catastrophe (or an accumulation of much smaller variations on the theme), it’s the real deal for us all at some point in time, we all go through the same stuff in one way or another. If there’s one thing you are NOT, it’s alone. Never forget that.
That’s it! A minute is all it takes to radically change your direction so long as you’re doing the right things. It’s true that pretty much nothing outside of yourself can ever really make you eternally happy. That job is entirely up to you. Good news is, all the ingredients are already inside you; you just need to stir them up once in a while.
The formula: Is this a problem? + Can I actually do anything about it? + So is it worth worrying about? + A mindful breath + Gratitude + You’re not alone = Some peace of mind and a break from the think monsters.
P.S – Not even remotely related but here’s a quote I came across this morning that I rather dig; so you’re getting it too 🙂
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” Earl Nightingale
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