Lost in Introspection

Where do you spend most of your energy? Do you spend it on yourself, or the outside world? Maybe a mix of both? I spend a lot of my energy projected outwards. While this has its benefits, it also is detrimental.

Life needs balance. We are human beings capable of so much, but our energy is precious and unfortunately finite. We need to take care of ourselves to function the best that we can in society.

I Have a Problem

I have always tended to not fully process things going on in my life. As with many of us, life has been very hectic, tiring, and nonstop lately.

When life gets crazy, I tend to be fueled by an adrenaline rush as I try to become Superwoman. Life happens, situations pile up, and I keep putting out the fires without truly processing what is in front of me.

It isn’t until I am depleted of physical and mental energy that I realize all that I am doing on a day-to-day basis without taking the necessary steps to process it all.

Introspection Comes into Play

The term introspection means to look inward at your feelings and become aware of them. It is a practice of examining your soul.

After going strong like Superwoman, my introspective side comes out as I try to take in what life has thrown at me. A little too late! At this point, I am already burned out and trying to build myself back up. Ironically, once I enter a state of introspection, it is difficult to get out of it. I then become almost lost in this state as a way to distance myself from reality.

Introspection is so important and should be done regularly. I have found myself in this situation countless times and I have vowed to now keep a journal of my thoughts and feelings so that I can process them as they happen instead of sitting back and collectively looking at a massive pile of things that have happened to me.

A Daily Check-In

It is so important that we look after ourselves as we go about our daily routines. Life tends to get in the way, and we do not take enough time to really understand all that we do and go through. In this process of introspection, it is then that we can learn about ourselves!

Fill in the Blank

The mind is an amazing and powerful thing. Most of the time it works for us, sometimes, however, it can work against us.

Much of our thought process is automated, we see or hear something, and our brains automatically process the stimuli. Our brains are capable of thinking many thoughts, sometimes it is as if our brain is on a never-ending hamster wheel. Our thoughts go around and around.

Interesting

I have noticed something that I do automatically, and other people have told me that they do as well. When I hear of a situation, or even when I am going through something, my mind thinks of what is going on without having all of the facts. Simply put, my brain is assuming that it knows about something, or someone given the facts that it has, but much of the time it is far off.

How many times have you been left on read, experienced the silent treatment from a loved one, or have not been able to reach someone? Chances are worry and anxiety take over and you run through the worst possible scenarios in your head without thinking much about it.

How Do You Perceive the Above?

Looking at the situations above, what is the first thing that your mind comes up with? If we are left on read, we may assume that someone is busy, or we may automatically think that this individual does not want to talk to us for whatever reason. When given the silent treatment, we may conclude that we have upset someone. Our thoughts might immediately turn dark if we cannot reach someone, we may fear the worst that something has happened to them.

What do all of these instances have in common? They cause our brains to fill in the blank without having all of the necessary information to reach a valid explanation. We experience something and we think that we know exactly why it’s happening. We have made an assumption and assumptions are dangerous.

As I Grow

I still automatically think of reasons when a situation occurs, but I realize that doing so, creates a lot of anxiety and unnecessary overthinking. I try my hardest now to look at a situation logically instead of out of fear and I also make sure to directly communicate and gather information.

I have found that my usual “fill in the blank” approach to life’s situations wasn’t working in my favor, so I try very hard to gather information so that I know what is happening versus what I think I know is happening. It has made a world of a difference!

Brain Fog: Head in the Clouds

It has been a cereal in the fridge and milk in the pantry kind of day (yes, you read that right)! I don’t think that I could have found a better picture to go with this topic. “My brain has too many tabs open.”

Brain fog has been a part of my life for the past 10 years or so. It comes in waves on and off and is a disruption to my day and productivity.

What Brain Fog is Like

It is struggling to come up with certain words while having a conversation, feeling as if there is a mental block, and you cannot think straight. Brain fog is not remembering even the smallest things like what you had for dinner last night. There’s a disconnect and you just don’t feel very mentally sharp.

You may start to lack focus, and concentration, and just feel spaced out. Brain fog is an uncomfortable feeling that makes you feel like you are missing out on your surroundings, conversations, and just recollection in general.

What Your Body is Trying to Tell You

For me, brain fog is always an indicator that I am stretching myself too thin, that I am overworking myself and not taking the proper time to rest and unwind. Brain fog usually hits me when I keep running and pushing myself well past my limits and to be honest, I don’t even know my limits sometimes, I just keep going until it’s too late.

Your body is very good at giving you signals about what it needs. You feel hunger pangs because your body needs fuel, you feel tired because your body needs sleep, and you feel thirsty because your body needs to be hydrated. You are not feeling mentally sharp because your brain needs a break and needs time to not be going full steam.

Brain Fog Is a Serious Matter

Brain fog should not be taken lightly as it is an indicator that something is amiss. Of course, it may be due to lack of sleep, or certain medications, but not feeling mentally clear warrants immediate attention.

Many years ago, when I was still in college, I pushed myself to the point of being completely burned out. I didn’t realize there was such a thing until it happened to me. My short-term memory was terrible and following any sort of conversation, even reading was so very difficult. I would have a conversation with someone or read parts of an article and I was not able to recite back to you what I had just heard or read.

Someone asked me who the president of the United States was at the time, and I wasn’t able to answer them, not because I didn’t know, but because I couldn’t recall who it was no matter how hard I tried. It took me nearly 6 months to recover from this burnout. I truly thought that I was never going to get my mind back, it was a very scary time.

Take Care of Your Mind

We must take every effort to take care of our minds and bodies. We need to listen to ourselves and take breaks when necessary. Our minds are not machines, and they will have a breaking point.

Take action and take time for yourself so that you can come back ready to go and conquer life again. With a little rest and self-care, slowly the fogginess in your brain will disappear.

Dreading Something? Read This

There are many things in life that we go through. Some good, some bad, and some in-between. As human beings, we deal with many different emotions as we process the world around us.

One of the many uncomfortable emotions is dread. In other words, when we feel anxious or worried, it can take a toll on us and prevent us from living our best life. It can even impact how we view the world and the decisions that we make.

Are You Dreading Something?

You may be dreading an upcoming meeting, long-distance travel for a wedding, a doctor’s appointment, a difficult conversation with a loved one, or a project that you are due to start at work. Whatever it may be, feeling dread for a certain date or event to come around is a feeling that is tough to sit with.

As with many feelings, there are ways to help minimize the feeling of dread. There are ways that we can look at the feeling and the situations that evoke it to help us in life.

What Can We Do to Minimize Feeling Dread?

  • We can realize that feeling dread is just a feeling no matter how uncomfortable it is. We can sit with it, recognize it, acknowledge that it’s there, and then try to let it float away. A thought is just a thought, don’t give it too much power.
  • Analyze the situation. What could be the worst that happens if you have that conversation attend that meeting, and go to the doctor? This way you can see what is the worst that could happen. Often seeing this side can help minimize anxieties as we realize it isn’t as bad as it seems in our heads.
  • Look at the positives that could come from this situation. You might feel relief, and empowerment, you may feel stronger for having conquered your fear. You never know what you might discover or learn about yourself!

What To Remember

Oftentimes, the very thing that we have been dreading for days, weeks, months, or even longer ends up being so much better than we expected. Much of our worry and anxiety comes from things that haven’t happened yet, so the anticipation of an event or upcoming date on the calendar can send our minds spinning.

If you are dreading something that is coming up, as hard as it is, remember that it will pass. It may be uncomfortable and feel like a burden, but you will get through it, and it will pass just as everything else that you have gone through in life. Here is a little motivation to get you through a trying time, you can do this!

The Parking Lot

There I sat, in the parking lot of a grocery store, waiting for a family member to finish their shopping trip. The sun was shining bright, and the sky was filled with fluffy white clouds. The trees were a beautiful green and there was a slight breeze in the air, which was more than welcomed on this hot and humid day.

I, like many, am a very busy person these days. Months feel like weeks and there is always a lot to do, I am very much living a life full of hustle and bustle at the moment. There is hardly any time in my day that I can truly sit and be at one with myself and my surroundings, a little piece of bliss that I truly miss.

As I sat in this parking lot, I had such a sense of peace and serenity come over me. I wasn’t focusing on what I had to do next, or knocking anything off of my to-do list, I was simply focused on the beautiful nature that surrounded me and the sound of my breath. I was focused on just being. At this particular moment, I felt as if the world had stopped, this was true mindfulness, something that we all could use more of.

So often as I am driving, I’m thinking about so many things, but hardly about the gorgeous scenery that surrounds me. So often I am cooking, but I don’t pay attention to the beautiful colors and invigorating smells in front of me. So often I am watching TV, but instead of getting lost in a good show, I am thinking about what I need to do tomorrow. We could bring so much more peace and joy into our lives if we practiced mindfulness, if we truly exist in the here and now.

I sat there in the car without a care in the world. I admired nature’s beauty as I felt the warm sun on my skin and realized just how nice, rare, and precious this moment was. Sometimes the happiest moments are ones where we are alone and can turn our busy minds off for even a few minutes. Who would have thought that something as simple as a parking lot could remind me of a very important practice…the practice of mindfulness.