I remember one evening when I was particularly emotionally worn out. I had spent the entire day going around and around in my head over….over….quite honestly I don’t remember what particular issue had me in a knot, but I was exhausted. Habitual thoughts tend to do that and I had spent far too much time debating, rationalizing, (marinating is probably a more accurate word) over some way that I had been unfairly treated, or reliving old wounds, or stressing about the future. Something had triggered me this day and I. was. spent.
While winding down and getting ready for bed I was already dreading a poor night’s sleep because of the mental treadmill I couldn’t seem to dismount. It occurred to me that I was in this unpleasant state because I was thinking only of myself. How many hours had I spent in this extreme introspectiveness? How ever long it was, it was time to stop. I chose then and there to quit thinking of me, me, me.
So…… what does one think of when not contemplating oneself? While brushing my teeth and going through the evening beauty routine, I decided to pray for elephants. How many elephants are left on the planet now? How many are on preserves or protected? Indian elephants, African elephants, baby elephants, elephants in zoos…Pachyderms are my favorite wild animal and always have been, so to contemplate them felt natural and easy for me and it felt so good to simply think of something else. I slept well that night.
Do you ever find yourself on that hamster wheel of personal thoughts? It’s pretty common but we always have the power to become of aware of those thoughts when they no longer serve a good and helpful purpose; when they are simply repetitive and/or negative (usually both) we can choose to no longer engage. With that awareness you can think of something else, something different, something that will give your heart and mind a break and immediately you will feel the release of at least some of that self-created tension. Maybe……giraffes?