A few times a year my husband and I pick up and relocate to our apartment in the French Alps – I know, lucky us, right? It has often surprised me, however, how coming to a place which is supposed to be so wonderful and relaxing doesn’t always work out that way. As a curious person, I had to ask myself why that is the case.
First of all, it’s probably helpful to describe what it can be like to be in my head. Even sitting in the most beautiful of locations, I have sometimes been on this crazy mental roller coaster – one minute I would be flying high and then all kinds of thoughts would come into my mind, effectively pushing my happiness over to the side lines.
I honestly have been capable of worrying about almost anything – money, health, my family, the state of world affairs, what happens if I step on a rusty nail and my tetanus shot is out of date – the possibilities are endless. To make matters worse, I only realise now that I had convinced myself that those thoughts were a part of me.
My internal dialog went something like this – Why am I so unstable? Why can’t I enjoy this more? Sometimes it felt like a never-ending loop.
Now for the good news. It is possible to break this cycle. As I came out for a coffee this morning, I sat looking at the amazing views (picture included) and I realise that things are different for me these days. While ‘crazy’ thoughts sometimes still come into my head, they occur much less frequently and I am much more able to pull myself back from the darker places when they do.
This begets the question – what has changed? I can sum it up in one word – mindset. What do I mean by that? Firstly, I now know that we can control the thoughts that come into our heads. The more I focus on embracing the beauty in life, even the smallest things like walking past wild flowers or feeling a lovely cool breeze, the more I am able to live in the moment and let go of the past and the future.
What I didn’t realise before was that every moment doesn’t need to be perfect, as I used to believe. As long as there are a number of moments which touch me during the day, the overall picture is a good one.
I have also realised that even when negative thoughts drift in, as they inevitably do, they are not who I am. That might not sound like much of a revelation, but to me it was a major epiphany – thoughts are only thoughts, they do not define me. Whew. On top of that, the more quickly I release them, without judgement, the more quickly I can return to enjoying the present moment.
Full disclosure – changing your mindset and releasing attachment to negative thoughts takes practice. However, the more you change the internal story you tell yourself, the easier it becomes over time. I encourage you to give it a try – the reward is well worth the effort.