Sunday, August 23, 2015

#234: Decide. Plan. Act.

I expected to wake up at like 9 this morning after being up so late last night (I came home at 11:30 then watched The Quiet Man, as I was missing Ireland).

Suddenly I was wide awake and it was 5:55 a.m.  I tried to go back to sleep for a half hour, but it was not happening. The sun wasn't up yet, and I suddenly had this idea to hike up Table Rock. I've often had this idea—to hike in the morning and be awake before the sun enjoying the quiet of the morning. Usually I go back to sleep, however, because my brain gets involved. It starts telling me all sorts of unhelpful things such as
  • If you're going to get up and exercise, you should run
  • If you lay here just a little longer, you'll fall back asleep
  • You should get up and do school work since there is so much to do
  • You should get up and go to early church so you can do schoolwork in the morning
  • You should get up and go to the gym and run and get it out of the way
  • You should relax - you had a big night last night!
  • You should get up, make some tea and read a book—you always want to do that
  • ad infinitum....
Finally a voice made it through that I listened to. It said, If nothing changes, nothing changes. I love hiking. I don't do it very much because, well, see above. 

I got up and went. For the entire first 10 minutes my brain was in rebellion: You should turn back. Look at all this smoke. You could still make it to the gym before church. Suddenly I remembered a tool I learned a few years ago: Decide. Plan. Act. Once I realized this, I was able to separate myself from the thoughts in my head and look at them objectively. For whatever reason, decisions, even small ones like what to do at 7 in the morning on a Sunday, are sometimes difficult. I get sucked into the crazy in my head and end up taking a nap, eating, or doing laps around my kitchen. I have missed out on so much stuff in my life because of these anxious voices. I incorrectly think that there is something I can do to get them sorted out and once they are all calm and dealt with, then I can get on with doing the stuff I want to do.

So wrong.

Decide. Plan. Act. Is one way out of the cycle. I had decided, made the plan, and was acting it out. I just kept walking [up the trail] and in less than five minutes the anxiety and racing thoughts subsided and I was able to enjoy something I truly love on a beautiful Sunday morning in Boise.

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