The Thing About Monday

One recent Monday I was wrapping up with a yoga client, and I said “I appreciate you, Namaste. Happy Monday!” And I noticed suddenly that I was genuinely sincere with that. Here it was, Monday, and I didn’t have a case of the Mondays. 

But I always have a case of the Mondays, even though I have no real reason to anymore. I no longer have to go into the office on Monday, I don’t even technically work for anyone so I don’t have a hateful boss I want to avoid. There is no reason for me to dislike Mondays, but until recently I certainly did. To me, they are a reminder of stressful situations and the end of fun weekends. Monday represents the job I don’t want that doesn’t pay me enough to live high on the hog enough to make the job I don’t want even worth it. Monday actually represents a lot, when I started really looking at it. Or at least it did. I wasted years of Mondays, lost to nothing more than bad thoughts about Mondays. But I realized at that moment as I was closing the session with my yogi, that I was genuinely happy that Monday. I really hoped she had a wonderful Monday too. I was free from that “boo Monday” club. Some time over the last couple of years, as I’ve worked to untie so many knots in my brain, I must have gotten to that one. I don’t seem to have a thing about Monday anymore.

Suddenly, Monday and I are amigos. 

What do I mean when I say “I’ve worked to untie knots in my brain?” To be honest I don’t know but that’s exactly how it feels. These days my brain doesn’t feel like such a tight mass of looped thoughts that don’t seem to have a purpose. Over the last couple of years, I have begun to place a lot of focus on the quality of my thoughts and making them happier. I’m one of those people who will ruminate on something ad nauseam. Whatever has happened may be ancient history, but I’m still turning it over in my mind… replaying the exact moment when this person wronged me or that person said the hurtful thing. Over and over and over again. Maybe you do that too. A lot of us do. 

At one point a couple of years ago I had begun to notice I was always having negative thoughts, and they were making me completely miserable. There was so much stress happening in my life at the time that I had very few moments of happiness each day. I would wake up and immediately start stressing out about everything under the sun, from a meeting that wouldn’t even be happening for another three days, to an annoying event that occurred last week. It was just all dark thoughts from my first waking moments each day to my last. I was all over the place, and I had no peace.

It was very chaotic in my head.

It was about then that I joined a Facebook group where she offered several free gifts of recordings she had made. Loops of mantras, just uplifting phrases, recorded over a soundtrack that itself was recorded at the healing frequency of 528hz. This is said to be a frequency that resonates with the frequency of the human heart, and with nature itself (bees buzz at 528hz, chlorophyll vibrates at that frequency too, among lots of other things), so it is very balancing for us. At the time I hadn’t done much learning about neuroscience, mental frequencies, or anything like that, but I knew it felt nice to hear her say nice things. So every morning, as soon as I woke up, before my thoughts even started turning, I pressed “play” and spent 10 minutes being spoon-fed the right kind of thoughts. 

The shift began almost immediately. I started feeling just a little better, all the time. I found it to be so important and inspiring that I actually recorded my own set of mantras, with a soundtrack also recorded at 528hz, using my friend’s professional sound booth. I had determined at the time that I was feeling very anxious because of so much uncertainty in my life. So all of the statements in my recording are of peace and empowerment in times of struggle and uncertainty. Just like her, I made it a “freebie” for people who join The Changing Room’s mailing list. Periodically I receive a random message from someone who tells me they were helped by that little recording, and that makes me so happy. It really helped me too. It represents one of the first stepping stones on my way to meaningful contentment inside my own head, and it means a lot to me. I’m gifting it to you now, and I hope it does something good for you too… that it’s the spark you need. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_ihQ7XtzIJ8eU12ekV1ZEJMZDNWeFBrZ3F6ay1uVmRuTEhR/view?usp=sharing

Our brains are negativity machines. 

Why are we always looking to latch on to the negative? Because back in caveman days, the negative is what got us killed. The negative is the tiger in the bushes that we see one second too late, or the snake hiding in the grass that we miss entirely. Back in caveman days, the one who wasn’t constantly on the prowl for the negativity in every situation literally got eaten alive. They didn’t get to reproduce, they didn’t pass on their genes. So negativity, and being vigilant about it, is literally right in our genes. But since we don’t have any tigers trying to eat us anymore, we have moved our negativity patrol to things like Monday. How much it sucks, and all the threats that Monday brings with it. Thankfully we can circumvent our naturally negative minds. We can re-route our basic instincts. 

It’s really silly when you think about it. Even Garfield hates Monday. Sunday, for many people, is a tiny funeral for the weekend, every single week. Our thoughts start turning before the clock ever strikes midnight: tomorrow is going to suck because Monday. But Monday never did anything but be the first day of the week. We’ve made a villain out of Monday, and in so doing we’ve made it a stressor.

We don’t need any more stressors. 

Studies have shown that the average person has about 4,000 distinct thoughts each day. Of those, between 22 and 31 percent of them are considered unwanted, uncontrollable, and intrusive thoughts. Ninety-six percent of our thoughts are just repetitive thoughts about daily activities. You know that loop I’m talking about. We all have one. We all come from the same cavemen. All of our ancestors were on the lookout for death at every turn. That’s how we got here. So it’s our natural propensity to keep all the bad stuff that could happen, right at the forefront of our mind. It’s self-preservation, basic instinct. But all that worrying produces a mountain of stress hormones, and a sustained level of those hormones really throws us out of whack. 

To me, the saddest part is that it doesn’t matter. No amount of worry makes any difference to what is actually happening. All that fretting is for naught, but our health really suffers under that sustained stress. The list of ailments that can be directly attributed to sustained stress and high levels of the stress hormone cortisol includes:

  • High blood pressure
  • Death of neurons in the brain’s memory centers
  • Heart disease
  • Accelerated aging of skin and joints
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Fatigue
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Slow healing
  • Reduced bone repair
  • Fewer stem cells
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Osteoporosis

Imagined threats become real ones. There go our thoughts again, becoming things. 

Our bodies suffer and our brain health suffers too when we experience constant stress. Cortisol is a hormone, and it’s released whenever there is a boulder rolling down a hill at us, or when a tiger is trying to eat us, or when tomorrow is Monday. What cortisol actually does is shut part of your brain down so it can send those resources to your muscles. Now you can jump out of the way, or run for your life, or just sit there and freak out because you can’t outrun time. It’s the sitting there and freaking out that’s really bad, and doubly so because the freaking out has fogged your brain. You’re not thinking clearly because you’re trying to outrun a day, or a memory, or a hurtful comment. You’re not right here in the moment, and rarely do you have that luxury.

You’re running for your life, all the time. 

Over the years I’ve realized, and maybe you have too, that we’re always just reacting to what is happening around us. I’ve been doing this, I’ve been behind the eight ball, for as long as I can remember. Until quite recently I’ve been trying to pay the bills, impress a boss, move up the ladder, not lose my mind, play along, be likable, smile more, pretend I don’t see it (or pretend that I do), and think positively of course because that’s what they all say to do. Thoughts become things, so this thought too may become a stressful thing. 

But for me, the stress has finally begun to dissolve. I know it all started with a clean slate of positive thoughts, first thing every morning. It has taken a lot of commitment. But with those clearer, focused thoughts I’ve been able to begin directing my mood, and my attitude, more easily. 

One of the mantras in the above recording is “I make the rules, and I choose to let it be easy.” That was a profound statement for me to make at the time, as are a lot of those statements. You can actually hear my voice crack as I say one of the other affirmations. At the time of that recording, I’m faking it ‘til I make it. I don’t believe the statements I am making. But I do believe that I need to believe the statements, and that was enough for me in that moment. I could build from there. And I did. 

By seeding my day with positive affirmations, it began to propagate to other parts of my life. Mostly I just felt good. Right here, feeling good, enjoying the breeze on my skin in this moment. Over the last couple of years, I have cut a lot of people and things out of my life, or more accurately these things have simply fallen away. I’m not vibing at that level anymore, so these things just don’t hold sway anymore. I have started getting really interested in herbal medicine, and nutrition. The science behind happiness. How our brains work, and how to leverage this incredible tool instead of letting it rule us. 

One of the neatest tricks our brain can do is travel through time.

We can reminisce on events from years ago. We can bring ourselves right back to that moment in time, and we can relive it over and over again. And relive it we do, particularly if that was a threatening event. We need to keep it alive so it doesn’t happen again. So we paint that picture in our minds vividly, and we live it over and over again. But our brain can’t tell the difference between now and then, it only knows it is experiencing this stressful event, so it reacts with a shot of cortisol. It’s these constant, unnecessary shots that begin to mess with every part of us. It doesn’t just give us brain fog and make us fat, cortisol contributes to even more maladies than that list above. 

But we can take back our power, harness the immense capability of our brains by focusing it on the here and now. Training our thoughts on things and ideas that promote healing in our bodies, rather than irritation and inflammation. Meditation. Proper nutrition. Good thoughts, general merriment.

The thing about Monday is that it seems like it robs us of Sunday, but actually we do that ourselves. We give away our Sunday, and our Monday. We can, and should have a whole Sunday and a whole Monday… a whole day every day. We deserve clear minds and contented feelings. It begins by untying your own knots, one by one, whatever they are. Pick a spot and dive in. Find some uplifting thoughts. Watch them become things. 

The trick is to keep your eye on it. Stay committed, don’t be passive. You’ve got to take an active part in the evolution of those thoughts… you have to watch them become things. It’s in the watching that you rewire your brain, it’s there that healing happens. You are not your thoughts… you are the watcher of your thoughts. That is where your power lies. Make your thoughts meaningful, delicious, nourishing, full of life and affirmation. You must, because the message is going all the way down into your cells… right into your genes… telling them how to express themselves. Give them a healthy expression, and watch your whole body come alive in a new way. 

Welcome to a whole new way of being. A truly happy Monday. I appreciate you. Namaste.

*****

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