What To Do When It Feels Like Groundhog Day EVERY Day
You wake up to the alarm. It’s dark, a bit cold, and you KNOW that the next two hours are going to involve a lot of shouting and arguments as you struggle to get everyone fed, dressed, and out of the door on time. You KNOW you’ll all be late. Again. For the 3rd time this week. And it’s only Wednesday….
In your mind’s eye you can see Child no.1 teasing their sibling, who will refuse to eat his breakfast and end up walking out of the house with his socks hanging out of his trouser pocket. Your partner will be walking around like a bear with a sore head, yelling “why don’t any of my socks match?” and “where did you put my keys?” when they’ll be on the hook all the time. There’ll be cries of “Marmite sandwiches AGAIN?” (you still haven’t had time to get to the shops) and “I don’t like these crisps any more” as the kids explore their lunchboxes to see what they can look forward to in their breaktime. No word of thanks as they run into school, looking for their friends.
It’s ALWAYS raining when you drive to work, and the traffic is ALWAYS so slow as you’ll desperately try to think of short cuts so you can get there on time – inevitably taking longer than if you’d stayed on your original route. Then when you do get to work you’ll struggle to find a parking space because you’ll be the last one in, and, as usual, end up getting soaked (you NEVER remember your umbrella) as you’ll run from a nearby side-street. DARN parallel parking! Finally you’ll sit and simmer at your desk for the first half hour of your day, complaining to anyone who will listen about the awful morning you’ve had, before you’ve even started the day’s work! And then who KNOWS what will happen?
But, hold up! It’s only 7am and you’ve just lived your own private Groundhog day in your mind for the 10th time….. while you’re still in bed! And you’ve probably done the same every morning for months. Even when it’s the weekend, you’re just anticipating that awful Monday morning and for it all to start over again. What do you notice as you imagine this scenario? Do you feel good, happy, refreshed? Or down, blue, frustrated and fed up?
Here’s the thing… Science tells us that your mind can’t tell the difference between reality and your imagination. When athletes imagine lifting weights or running, their muscles actually “spark” a little in response and the hormones they would be using are released. Also they feel the emotions of winning as they imagine themselves reaching the finishing line, making them feel good.
But you’re not thinking about winning – you’re thinking about losing….and putting yourself through this emotional roller coaster several times a day. Your mind is on “auto pilot” – rather like your car when you arrive home from work and can’t remember how you got there. Remembering, re-living and anticipating bad things happening most of the time. Sadly, doing this could create a spiral of repeated negative thoughts and feelings that could seriously affect how you feel each and every day – aka your mental health. That’s right. Everyone has mental health, just like we have physical health. It’s what we do with our mind and how we exercise it that matters.
So, it’s time to put on the brakes. To take a sunny side road. To stop and smell the flowers. Become aware of what images, thoughts and feelings your mind is creating. And if they don’t make you feel good – find a way to change them. Your mind is like a toddler – it is easily distracted by a shiny new thought, memory or music….
And when you’re next there imagining your day ahead…bring in the sunshine. Put smiles on your kids’ faces. See your partner giving you a hand for a change. Notice what it’s like as you leave the house on time, drive through calmer traffic and find that last parking space for yourself. Someone else will have to park on the road today – Yay! Notice how you feel as you stroll breezily into the office to find a vase of flowers and a fresh cup of coffee on your desk, warmed by the sun streaming in from the window and the smiles of your colleagues.
Who knows? One day it could actually happen! And until it does…you are training your athlete brain into more positive mental health that will make your mind AND body feel better…
What do you do to improve or sustain your mental health? Find out more about my ideas in my free online course “10 Steps to Calm” or my book that trains brains to be more positive “Daphne and the Smiley Shells”.
See you on the brighter side!
Vicki Tongeman is a Wife, Mother, Artist, Teacher, Author and Coach. She lives on the beautiful shores near the New Forest and loves walking and being mindful on the beach and in nature. Her friends call her the “Magic Mermaid” as she combines life changing coaching techniques with a sprinkle of Mermaid Magic!
As an NLP Practitioner and personal coach Vicki is passionate about helping people develop their inner self confidence and achieve their goals.