“I believe. I believe. It’s silly but I believe.”
~ Eight-year-old Natalie Wood in Miracle on 34th Street
Like that little girl in the holiday classic film, a lot of people talk to themselves. In my case, sometimes it’s in hoping that a wish will come true. Often, it’s to reaffirm my positive attitude. Occasionally, negative thoughts pop into my head and, if I’m not careful, lead me down a path of imagining the worst possible outcome.
While the rest of the animal kingdom simply reacts to what’s right in front of it – based on thousands of years of flight-or-flight instincts, the gift of being human is that our complex minds are able to imagine and create new ways of doing things. Thus, we have Starbucks, Google and iTunes today… and some unknown ‘got to have’ tomorrow.
Of course, the downside is our complex minds are able to imagine things that have a nearly zero chance of coming to fruition. That’s why the zombie apocalypse is a thing, could explain why Bitcoin is up nearly 150 percent this year… and might be the reason insomnia impacts more than a quarter of the U.S. population.
Limiting the impact of our imaginations requires mindfulness – a highfalutin new age term that means being able to take a step back from the thoughts whirling around your head and make a conscious choice about your actions.
If you’re awake in the middle of the night worried about an 8 a.m. meeting with executives, rather than dwell on what could happen in six hours, spend five minutes writing down your thoughts, then turn out the light, allow your mind to focus on something that relaxes you… and go to sleep.
This isn’t easy to do. It’s takes practice. Then some more practice. However, if you master the art of letting it go, you’ll get a good night’s rest and be better prepared to address things in the morning.
Perhaps the words from a song by Josh Groban in a much more recent holiday film – The Polar Express – will serve as your mantra: “You have everything you need / If you just believe.”