I'm sure you've heard of fasting. Most of the time, fasting is referring to refraining from food and drink as a religious observance, or as a health benefit. People all over the world fast for those reasons. But this post is about what I like to call mental fasting.
Mental fasting refers to putting a halt to unhealthy thought patterns for your own well being. If your head is always full of the wrong kind of thoughts, then there's not enough time or energy to devote towards the good stuff in your life. You'll not only be more anxious, but you'll also miss out on so many good moments in your day. Read on for more...
I read something really wise in my own journal recently; something I'd written several years ago, but have practiced many times since. To be honest, I'm amused about it because I'm not sure if it's a quote from something I read or a Blake original. I've searched high and low and can't seem to identify the source. Most likely, it's something I wrote as a thought; probably a combination from similar passages I've read in several places.
Here's what I wrote:
"We can fast from anything that occupies our awareness and makes us "fall asleep" in consciousness. Choose to fast from anything that frequently occupies your consciousness as a practice for releasing attachments and opening to something new."
We can fast from anything that occupies our awareness and makes us "fall asleep" in consciousness. Choose to fast from anything that frequently occupies your consciousness as a practice for releasing attachments and opening to something new.
Worries. Work stress. Anxiety. Comparison. Competition. Inadequacy. Frustration. Irritation. Future fears. Past regrets. Toxic thoughts. Toxic people. Endless to-do lists. Or anything that makes you miss out on the present moment...
Those are the thoughts that steal you away from life happening right in front of you. Those thoughts of worry cause you to "fall asleep" from consciousness, meaning, if you're too stuck on a thought that is stealing your focus, you miss out on what's actually happening right now. You're stuck in your head and not alert to life. [For more on this concept, read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle which no doubt greatly influenced this journal entry of mine] What a waste of thoughts, energy, and precious moments. Those moments add up to minutes, hours and even years. Don't waste your life away living in your head like that. Wake up. Try to develop an awareness of when your thoughts get hung up and stuck on a loop. Try to notice faster when you do this, so that you can let it go and come back to life in the present.
If you can identify, then here's where my journal entry comes in handy. If you notice it's one particular thing or thought or emotion that is stealing your mental energy, fast from it. Let that junk go. It is not worth it. Show it no mercy. None. Cut it out. Be ruthless about protecting yourself from negativity.
I love Cleo Wade's book Heart Talk. In it, she says this: "Nothing negative deserves to take up major real estate in your mind or in your heart."
Try it for a day and see how it goes. You may still have the thought pop up over and over, but the point is recognizing it and saying: "Nope. Not today. I'm fasting from this thought today. I will not go down that rabbit hole today. I will not let my thoughts spiral out of control with this today. Not today."
That's it. One day at a time. If it helped you, do it again the next day and again and again... until you can breathe again.
To be very clear, I'm not telling you to avoid your problems or live in denial... I'm telling you to not let unhealthy thought patterns rule you. BIG difference. There is a big difference between actual problems that need attention and unhealthy thought patterns. If there's a real problem in your life, it may give you some space and clarity so that you can deal with it from a healthier perspective. If it's not a real problem in your life, you'll start to see that, too, and may be able to really let it go. Life is hard enough. Don't make it harder.
The point is to free up your mental focus to let go of unhealthy thought patterns. Only then can you really create space for new things. Better things! Lighter things. Healthier things.
Do what you have to do to take care of yourself. Don't waste your life away on thoughts that suck you down a black hole. No thing, no emotion, and no person is worth that. Let. That. Junk. Go. Then be on the lookout for better things happening all around you.
Love and Light.
Other things that help...
Meditation to still your mind. Prayer to connect you to a higher power and better perspective. Practicing gratitude to place your thoughts on healthier things (I'm big on this. Here are two past posts of mine about it: Practicing Gratitude and One Small Habit: Gratitude Journal). Frequently emptying the proverbial emotional garbage can and letting go of junk in your life. Listening to uplifting music. Exercising to help your body feel better. Getting enough sleep. Laughing. Dancing. Spending quality time with loved ones or your pet. Taking a break from your phone. Getting outside in nature.
Thank you for reading! Sign up for my free Monthly Newsletter here. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest here:
Hi, I'm Blake. I love adventure, cooking, costume parties, wine, yoga, and reading...in that order. Follow my blog for yoga stuff, fitness tips, & healthy recipes...
• The Meaning of Namaste
• Confessions of a Self Care Hypocrite
• Living In The Age Of Social Media: Swapping Comparison for Gratitude
• My Exercise Manifesto
• 4 Exercise Hacks To Get YOU Moving