Simplify your thoughts
Start a joy list. I seriously try to do this every single day. I have even had my kids start doing this. Try it when you sit down with your morning coffee. Have a notebook just for your joy lists and list at least ten things that are making you happy that morning. Here’s some examples from mine the last few days: a fun photo shoot with my kids// dinner out at the Biltmore// checking big things off my list// friends coming to visit// Vera taking long naps!// non-chips nails. Just list the littlest things if you’re having a hard day. There’s always something to be grateful for. After a while, feelings like comparison and jealousy melt because you have an entire arsenal of amazing things that you’ve taken the time to acknowledge.
Play the What If game. If you struggle with a lot of fear and worry, you need to do this whenever fear and worry pop into your head. Believe me, I do this whenever I have a sick feeling of worry and it works every single time. Look at your worry and ask what if to every scenario you can think of with this worry. What if I’m not doing a good enough job homeschooling my kids??? Well, I can order a standardized test to get an idea of how they’re doing by comparison to other kids. It could also help me to see what areas he/she is struggling the most. What if he fails the test?? I can reevaluate the curriculum we’re using, call my friend that’s a seasoned homeschooler and get her opinion, and/or hire a tutor if we need to. What if we can’t afford a tutor??? We can look at our budget and see where we can skim. Maybe use a little savings or cut out piano lessons for a few months. What if a tutor can’t help him/her??? We’ll find another one and keep looking until he gets the help he needs. Bottom line, we’re all ok…we will find an answer sooner or later.
I know there are things that are extremely serious like illness and death. But those are not usually the things taking up space in our thoughts. It’s usually the things that we can sort out by What If’s. Try this next time. Believe me.
Shut it down at night. Give yourself some real wind down time at night. For me, watching TV right before bed makes me think more, which is always a bad thing. The phone is also a BIG no-no for me at bedtime. I will find myself on some random person’s IG feed looking at each of their 2,545 photos and staying up too late for nothing and then usually letting my mind wander to who knows where. Back in January I took a long break from social media. Since then, I haven’t slept with my phone by my bed. At all. Seriously I think this has been the most freeing thing (clearly I need help). Leave your phone in the kitchen. It’s ok to read an actual book instead of FACEbook. For me, reading helps me zone out and gets me in a sleepy mood. Whatever you need to do to totally shut down at night when your fears and worries seem to arise, do it.
- Refocus. Sometimes our fears and worries can be remedied with a plain ol’ refocus. Do something for someone else, get the focus off yourself. Get a new hobby. Volunteer somewhere. Keep busy. Stop honing in on that one thing filling up so much of your brain and refocus on something else.
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Making room for the good thoughts
When we stop with thoughts that are consuming and draining, we create so much space for better, more productive thoughts. We have space for:
- ways to help others
- listening more deeply to those we love
- contentment with our lives
On our last day of this simplicity journey, I just challenge you to really pay attention to what is taking up space in your head. Clear that clutter. Make room for the good.
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I have had such a blast with you this month. Thank you for reading along and for all your input and encouragement. You are the best readers.
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