Why It’s Difficult To Sit With Our Thoughts

Why It’s Difficult To Sit With Our Thoughts

In the past few months, I have noticed how any time I am faced with a situation that I know I need to sit with for a while, I immediately gravitate towards my phone. My solution to not facing my problems has been to just continuously scroll on my phone for hours on end or do anything at all to avoid sitting alone with my thoughts. Which, if you know me, you know is not something I preach. I believe that it’s important to sit alone with your thoughts. I think it’s fundamentally important to check in with yourself and what’s going on in your brain.

These last few weeks, I have been doing the opposite of checking in with myself and I wasn’t sure why until this morning.

I woke up earlier than usual and by habit, I rolled over to check the time on my phone and immediately opened Instagram. I had been barely awake for 15 seconds and I was already scrolling on an app. This time around, I caught myself in the act and paused for a moment. When did I become this person? When did I start scrolling through my phone 15 seconds after waking up? Why do I do it?

I put my phone down and stared up at the ceiling for a bit and just let myself be. My mind started racing and listing all my to-dos and anxieties for the day and then jumped straight into the negative self-talk and internal arguing. Once again, I caught myself in an act I wasn’t so proud of. When did my internal monologue get to be so rude? Pessimistic? Negative?

You see, what I have come to realize is that I am not necessarily ignoring sitting alone with my thoughts. I was doing that because I couldn’t handle the negative self-talk that was happening, and my temporary solution was to ignore absolutely everything. Whether it was reading, scrolling for hours on my phone or just watching endless YouTube videos, I was adamant about avoiding the harsh mental space I was going through.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t avoid sitting alone with our thoughts because it’s boring or lonely.  We avoid sitting alone with our thoughts because we most likely know how bad we have let it get in our heads.

When we see the missteps we’ve made, or how we slacked on our mental health, our immediate reaction is to run from that realization – at least that’s how it is for me. We run because we feel as if too much time has passed and the conversation and space, we have created for ourselves in our head can never be fixed. But that notion couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even the act of realizing that we are avoiding something inside ourselves shows that you are still doing the work.

Sitting alone with our thoughts isn’t an easy thing, so we need to remind ourselves to do it a bit more often, so it doesn’t pile up and become unbearable. But do remember, we are all human. It’s normal to avoid our inner thoughts, scroll on Instagram and then realize that something isn’t right. It’s normal to be scared of facing our fears, but what’s important is that you realize them and address them.

So, if you haven’t sat with your thoughts in a while, here is your daily reminder to do so.

Mindset

What is a mindset?  A mindset is the attitudes, beliefs and ideas that shape the lens we use to see the world and ourselves. Understanding the roots and core of our mindsets is the starting point to creating a life we want to live or to change the life we currently live. But before we can start rebuilding or fixing our mindset’s foundation, we need to acknowledge where we currently are at without mindset and decide which direction, we want it to go in. 

Often, people say that their mindsets can never change because that’s how they were raised or because of the current environment they have found themselves in. But I would like to offer a different perspective to that argument. As we are creatures of our environments, we naturally are also creatures of habit. The habits we create and follow, are directly linked to the environments we are in.  But in some circumstances, we can change the environment we are in by changing the habits we create.  By changing the habits, we follow, we can change the environment around us and our mindset.

Here are two examples of mindsets that every single person will find themselves in at one point or another. The goal, well for me at least during certain moments in time, was to go from a negative mindset to a positive mindset. Truthfully, we are humans and our lives are beyond complicated, which is why we are most likely going to be in between a positive and negative mindset. This in-between can be known as the grey zone and its where most of our lives happen. What matters about being in the grey area is that we are actively working towards a positive mindset, not all the time because again we are humans and life is tough, but if you try then you have already made a tremendous difference in your life.

Now, the first category is a negative mindset. These are the type of mindsets that tend to make us hard on ourselves, we become pessimistic and negative, we forget what and who we love, admire and want to become. It’s essentially an unhealthy mindset that leads us to create habits that do not in any way benefit our life. From what I have the experience, the world becomes tinted in black and grey and it feels like I have a personal storm cloud over my head. That isn’t a healthy way to live a life, but in all honesty, it’s a way a lot of us will view life. Now, this isn’t meant to make you feel bad about your life. Please remember that every single person on this planet experiences this mindset for one reason or another and it sucks but there are ways to move past it. But in all honesty, it’s hard and it requires a tremendous amount of work, but you can always get out of it.

In my opinion, creating a positive mindset is about creating a mind where you can take life’s problems and process them effectively to deal with them in a way that will solve the problem for good, or at least attempt to. It’s a mindset where you actively choose to work through problems in a healthy way, seek opportunities, acknowledge the present and find the solutions. A positive mindset does not necessarily mean that your life will be all sunshine and rainbows, it’s just that you’re seeing things in a more positive nature, or at least in a way that allows you to find solutions to your problems.

I understand that this seems difficult, or at the very least, confusing. Life is confusing. I do not want to sit here and guarantee you that your life will flip from bad to good in a day. I still have to work through this every day and it does not necessarily get easier. But the thing that I noticed the most when I am consciously working towards a healthier and positive mindset is that I am excited to see what happens next, I see a challenge and I don’t want to crawl back into bed; I want to get up and tackle it. 

Working on your mindset means you are choosing to see the world through your perspective, not what was created and infused in you. You are choosing to give every day a chance, but more importantly, to give yourself a chance every day. You are choosing to acknowledge a problem and not lament over it for days on end, but to find the solution to it, or at least try to control how you can react to it. There is so much agency and autonomy within us that we forget so often because we get caught up in our heads and these negative mindsets. We are preconditioned to assume the worse and come to a defence, it’s the human nature in us. But we also know that part of our lives can be determined by the habits we create. This is why in the upcoming posts I want to dive a little deeper into positive mindsets and how we can actively work to get started on that path and keep it up. I have found that by creating a habit of gratitude, discipline and shifting our thinking, we can change our mindset from a negative one to a positive one.

*Disclaimer:These are my opinions and experiences and they do not apply to everyone’s situation or circumstances. I am not a professional, please seek out professional help if you need any.*