As I was checking out at Whole Foods, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation that was happening right in front of me. “Today is Blue Monday, are you feeling it?” The lady asked the cashier.
Supposedly, the third Monday in January is recognized as the most depressing day of the year.
“Oh yeah, big time” the cashier responded. “This has been one of the hardest winters for me.”
I honestly agree.
If you’re feeling a bit down today, hugs to you, and know that you are not the only one. We are all dealing with our own personal circumstances that are added on top of the sickness, the weather, the holiday hangover, and hemorrhaging bank accounts from an uncertain world system.
But, low seasons are part of a high life. I like to refer to these times as ‘the messy middle’.
Soon I’ll share specific practices I do when I’m in the ‘messy middle’, but today we are talking about getting away from the things that will make our low time even lower.
Personally, I have found that when my mind isn’t in a good place, it’s because I am doing too much of this. . . (5 this week, five next week)
Top Ten Ways You are Destroying Your Mind and What to do About It
1. Constant quick checks: The more quick checks of your phone throughout the day, the more you are rewiring your brain to need that stimulation while simultaneously destroying your attention span. That’s a problem because the best insights, work, and connections come from being able to focus for long periods of time.
What to do about it: Read ? Turn your smartphone into a dumbphone – The only thing I have found to be truly effective at stopping this. Today, don’t bring your phone with you everywhere you go, and notice how you feel.
2. Following too many people: Your brain was not designed to know what is happening in 694 people’s lives. It was created to have a small group of people who know what is happening in youf life and you know what is happening in theirs. Being able to look into thousands of people’s lives whenever you want overloads your nervous system and creates mental chaos. Your mind was not created for that.
What to do about it: Unfollow EVERYONE for at least a week. After the week (or two) is up, re-follow only the people that you thought about during that time. You will be shocked at who you actually care about and how many people you can let go of.
3. Comparing: Because you can see into thousands of people’s lives whenever you want, there is no way around comparing your life. Suddenly you begin to become discontent, unmotivated, and depressed and you don’t know why. . . Comparison is a root cause of the anxiety and depression epidemic. It’s causing mental and physical imbalances by putting your nervous system in a state in which it can’t rejuvenate or correct any imbalances that may be happening.
What to do about it: Well, doing the two things above is a great start. Then start to train yourself to recognize when you are comparing and quickly/intentionally change your internal state.
4. Looking at your phone first thing in the morning and last thing at night: Listen, you have to realize what your mind has the capability to do before you become protective about what you are putting into it and what you are wasting its most powerful times of energy on. Every morning your mind has new neurons, and you get to choose what you want to use them for. If you check your phone first thing in the morning, those neurons and connections are being wasted that could have been used for some insane creativity, wisdom, and connection with God. Same thing at night. Your mind is going through a processing system when you sleep, you want to be thinking about what you want, questions you have, and what you are grateful for right before bed to take advantage of what your mind can come up with.
What to do about it: Use app control so that all of the apps on your phone in the morning and night are not accessible. It can’t be a choice, it needs to not even be a possibility (in my humble opinion;).
5. Constant dopamine hits: We are going to be talking quite a bit about dopamine because it’s likely that you are doing some serious damage to your own circuits. Being able to eat what you want when you want, look at your phone when you want for how long you want, buy something you want whenever you want, and get it the next day. Each time you check to see new likes or followers or open any app to see what’s new on it, you get a hit. Dopamine is actually the seeking and ‘more’ chemical. It gets triggered by seeking and discovering more.
Getting all of those dopamine hits without having to work for it or have long breaks from it actually causes feelings of depression and low motivation. Many people think they are depressed when in reality they may have overstimulated their dopamine circuits.
What to do about it: When you feel the urge to impulsively do something, don’t. The act of resisting is actually incredibly beneficial to your brain. Also, having a period of time from night to as late in the morning as you can with as little input as possible will help do a daily reset of your dopamine circuits.