What’s On Your Mind?

What's On Your Mind - Photo by Robynne Hu on Unsplash

What’s on your mind? I often ask this question at the start of coaching meetings. I am lucky people don’t tell me what is actually on their mind. By the time they would be done the coaching meeting would be over. The reality is we carry a lot of things in our mind. So much so that some clients tell me they can’t get a good nights sleep or can’t switch off.

Can we switch off?

This was true for me and I used to believe I didn’t have a choice. This is just how I was wired, but lately my perspective has shifted. We don’t have to carry all these thoughts around with us. We can park some things and offload our minds. I got a recent experience of this with a client. They had been considering whether to go on an important business trip. It wasn’t critical but it was the sort of thing people would expect them to do. This weighed on my client and at first they decided not to go and cancelled their hotel reservations. Later they reversed their decision and went.

It was only when they truly committed to a decision that they were able to offload this item from their mind. When they finally made the decision, a weight was lifted. The key is making a decision and committing to it. That may be a yes or a no, the problem arises when we get stuck with a maybe. It doesn’t go away and worse it sticks in our memory taking up unnecessary energy as we ruminate on it day and night.

No maybe’s

We also don’t have to make a yes or no decision. Not right now is a fine answer but only if we set a time that we will come back to it. Doing so allows us to remove it from our mind until that time, offloading it temporarily. Another important thing is to write it down. For some reason, the act of writing it down allows our mind to let go. For me, having a to do list but noting an item is parked until a future date works wonders. It doesn’t bother me at all until that date.

How much are you carrying around with you and what are you doing to offload your mind?