It’s 2:30 in the morning. You roll over and wake yourself up. Should you A) go back to sleep? or B) grab hold of that teeth-rattling worry-train that was dragging you around the day before and go for another ride?
I’m asking for a friend.
Everybody’s got worries. Even JC had worries. I recall that Mary Magdalene told him:
Try not to get worried, try not to turn on to
Problems that upset you, oh.
Don’t you know
Everything’s alright, yes, everything’s fine.
And we want you to sleep well tonight.
Let the world turn without you tonight.
If we try, we’ll get by, so forget all about us tonight…
She’s sweet. Unfortunately, “don’t worry” is crap advice.
Anxiety is a clever opponent. It uses brain-jitsu against you. Here’s how:
You know that certain topics get your brain in turmoil, destroying your serenity, and naturally you want to avoid that. So, if you’re like me (I always assume everyone is like me, just for convenience) you have a helpful voice in your head reminding you what not to think about.
So you make a list of thoughts to avoid. For safety’s sake, you will keep the list handy, on the tip of your brain. And you refer to it often. Especially in the middle of the night. That’s the best time for running through the list of things to avoid.
Shit, shit, shit, shit.
But there is hope, in the form of actual good advice. Practical advice. And it comes from the world of mountain biking, just like you would expect.
Too often, beginner mountain bikers see an obstacle on the trail, like a big buried rock, and they hit it. (Pro tip: you want to NOT hit it. [We’re not to the advice yet. That’s good stuff, though.])
No, here’s the real point: if you look at the thing that you don’t want to hit, you will hit it. That’s just where you bike will go, and you will make a whomp-crunch sound when you superman over the bars and then come to rest in a tidy heap along the side of the trail.
What to do, then? (This is the advice. Get ready.) Look at the bit of the trail where you want to go instead, and your bike will naturally follow that path around the obstacle.
In other words, look to the solution; don’t watch the problem.
That’s such beautiful advice, I want you to re-read it in the voice of Dr. Phil:
Thank you, Dr. Phil. You make everything better.
So, to sum up: if you wake up in the middle of the night, remember to think about nice things. Go straight there. Like bright flowers. And maybe fluffy sheep. Think on it like you mean it. Give your fluffy sheep something fun to do.
That’s it. That’s all.
Be well. Aim for the pretty stuff. Keep your eyes on the happy things. Look to the solution; don’t watch the problem. And, most of all…