Have you ever had the Sunday night blues?
You know the kind that creep up on you as you move closer to Monday.
I remember when I used to spend my week looking forward to the weekend. Well more accurately holding out for the weekend, desperately wanting it to come quicker.
Inching my way closer and closer to that point on Friday when I could shut down my computer, say goodbye to my colleagues and exit the working week through the revolving front door.
I felt freedom.
It felt a huge weight fall off my shoulders. My mind cleared and I thought about all the work free hours I had lying in front of me.
Often I would fall asleep on the sofa on a Friday night and have a slow Saturday morning to recuperate from the arduous week and then my weekend could really begin.
But all too soon it hit Sunday afternoon.
That was the time when the Sunday blues started to hit.
Like the clouds they rolled in and hid the sun from my view.
Now all I could think about was all the work I had to do on Monday.
All the things I hadn’t got done last week.
All the emails that would have inevitably piled up over the weekend.
All the difficult conversations I needed to have.
All the things I didn’t want to do.
From that moment on, the weekend was over despite having a quarter of it left sat right in front of me. I literally changed from being relaxed and enthusiastic to being tense, pessimistic and overwhelmed.
I literally wasted away my Sunday afternoon living in worries.
What I see now, that I never saw all those years ago, is that my work, my inbox, my to do list and my colleagues did not have the power to make me feel stressed on a Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t even anywhere near them, so how could they possibly make me feel anything?
I also see clearly now that how I feel at any moment in time is not a result of the circumstances or people in the world around me. No, they are the direct result of my thinking in that moment.
So on a Sunday afternoon if I am thinking about how awful my Monday at work will be, I will feel awful.
Yet, if I am thinking about the tasty meal I am eating or the friend I am talking to on my Sunday afternoon I will be feeling very different.
What I also see now is that it is futile to try to control my thinking, despite many frustrating years of trying to do so, because we are designed to have thoughts and it is 100% natural.
The difference now is that I can see that I don’t have to either believe the thought – because by definition a thought is formless – and as a result I don’t have to entertain them.
This means that thoughts can roll in but I no longer need to hold onto them or add more and more and more layers of thinking to them because I know this only results in prolonging the thoughts and prolonging the painful feelings associated with them.
Most coaching clients come wanting to reduce stress and overwhelm or feel happier by changing a certain circumstance in their life. Yet the relief they feel by simply understanding the nature of thought and realizing they have been innocently believing their thinking as truth for so many years, is huge.
Sometimes clients realise that they don’t have to change any circumstances in their life to feel better but other times they get clearer on what really needs to change rather than taking the knee jerk reaction because they can’t cope.
The benefits of understanding how our mind works is huge including getting back their wholeweekend, and who wouldn’t want that?