What’s your pet mental fixation? Money worries? Health concerns? Anger at your spouse? Frustration with your boss? This fussy internal voice chatters at you all day, making noise when you’re stopped at a red light, standing in line at the grocery store, or lying in bed tossing and turning. Chronically visiting and revisiting whatever pet topic can be exhausting and crazy-making. How do you free yourself from this soul-squashing habit?
First, give your chronic mental noise a very general name. Money worries. Resentment toward boss. And when you catch yourself engaged in whatever mental fixation, simply label it. Maybe even give your internal voice a funny accent, or accompany it with soap opera music. When you catch yourself lost in thought about your credit card bill, you say to yourself — in your best Bugs Bunny voice, dramatic violins playing — money worries! Label your mental noise throughout the day. You may do this dozens of times.
Second, recognize that your mental fixations come and go, come and go. They are like ocean waves — and the harder you kick and flail, the more difficult it is to keep your head above the waves. It’s not necessarily about “solving” these various problems. After all, solve one problem and another one emerges. It’s not even about replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. It’s about recognizing the natural rhythm of your own mental space, letting your internal voices play out without the need too feed them, fix them or push them away. Coming . . . going . . . coming . . . going . . . Can you learn to just float?