How to Not Think About Work When You’re Not There

Thinking too much about anything can lead to anxiety, sleepless nights, and horrible feelings of being utterly, hopelessly doomed – ie- a sure-fire way to be a less-than-stellar employee when you're actually at work. Before you start on the dangerously slippery slope of stewing, check out these tips for a super quick-time crash course in zen thinking. (Yes, complete oxy-moron … zen-thinking has to start somewhere though, right?) 
Notice what’s happening
The thing is, thinking is like breathing or your heart beating. If you’re alive, they happen. You can’t stop any of it, but being aware of it can make you feel like the boss of your own body. You're not at the mercy of your thoughts. Notice those self-defeating thinking patterns when they start, then commit to quit before you compose a whole novel in your head about something your boss said / something you neglected to pay proper attention to, etc. It all starts with awareness. 
Talk / write yourself out of it
Bringing that inner dialogue out in the open lets you have a conversation with the possibly irrational things happening in there. This is especially helpful when you wake up in the middle of the night in a hot sweat – our minds and the dark can be a terrible combination for worriers. Hearing your own voice or seeing it all on paper can be grounding and lets your rational brain enter the equation and have a say. Then pop a magnesium and go back to bed. In the world of vitamins, magnesium is awesome for it’s super-fast-acting nerve calming, muscle relaxing powers. How often are you actually glad you stayed up worrying about anything for 2 hours? 
Feed your demons
Ok, so before we go to a dark place here let me preface this sub-point by explaining that feeding your demons is just another way of saying don’t resist what you’re feeling. If you try to fight those feelings (anxiety, frustration, helplessness), they’ll only grow stronger and you’ll feel more helpless. If you feed them, nurture them, understand them, you can be free from the battle. Deciding not to wrestle with what you're feeling. Write it out in your journal, or give yourself an hour to do stuff in the middle of the night rather than lie in bed and freak out. 
Have a life
That is, do things you want to do during your time off! No matter how passionate or dedicated you are to your job – no matter if it is your life and you love, love, love it, there needs to be a separation between it's life (a project, assignment, relationship, or series of relationships) and your own life. Otherwise, both are cheapened. 

Tags: career, de-stress, Positive thinking, Self-help, sleep better, sleep well, stressful jobs, Zen

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