No Thinking While Tired (And Other Rules of Engagement For A Modern Mind)

My mind has a tendency to trespass into anxiety, depression and perseveration, spinning a broken record of worries and critiques.

Years ago I created these rules of engaging with my mind. This morning I wrote them again in my journal.

Whenever I find my mind circling in unproductive ways, I check in with myself on the following points, because sometimes mental health is added best by caring for ourselves on the most basic levels.

1) Have I showered? Have I brushed my teeth? Am I wearing clean clothes that are not sweaty gym shorts? If not, I tell myself no more thinking until I clean up.

2) Am I tired? Yes? Stop thinking! Go to bed! If it’s the middle of the day and I can’t take a nap, then I’m simply not allowed to think until I feel rested again, and if that means no thinking for the rest of the day, great!

3) Have I moved my body lately? No? Then I must stop thinking until after I have gone for a walk or yoga-ed or lifted something heavy.

4) Is my belly rumbling? Yes? Get food! Don’t think!

5) Am I feeling disconnected from others? If so, I find that the best way to get over my loneliness is to do something for someone else. I write a letter or cook soup for a friend. I also read books or listen to podcasts or talks given by people I admire.

If you’ve got a brain like mine, remember: No thinking about the purpose of life, no evaluating your worth as a human, no making big decisions until you are clean, rested, moved, satiated and feeling connected to the world around you and to the universe as a whole.