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What to do when a below-average thought is about to derail your day

Happiness & Fulfilment, Resilience & Managing Emotions

This morning Neville woke me up at god awful o’clock to ask “Do you think we’ll be able to buy a new purple filter thingee for the Dyson?”

He often wakes me up with such groundbreaking intellectual stimulation. I smiled and said “Neville, Shh! It’s 4am for christ’s sake!”

For those of you who are new to the blog/ newsletter list (there are hundreds of you, welcome!!) Neville is not my boyfriend. My unfeasibly lovely boyfriend’s name is Bloody Good Bloke.

No,

Neville is someone far less handsome and significantly less loving* than BGB.

Neville is my mind. You can read more about Neville here: How to handle insecurity, doubt and indecision.

*Perhaps not true. Neville (and all minds) may seem like they’re trying to hate us into a pile of insecurity at times, but I’ve begun to have suspicions that they actually secretly love us and are just trying to help us stay away from hurt — and death.

Albeit in the most unbelievably unhelpful way.

So there we were, me and Neville, having a little argument about whether 4am is an appropriate time to discuss yesterday’s vacuum related banalities. Most of which involved me drilling and chiselling many holes in our new house. 😲

While I was busy drilling, I heard a crash from the laundry,

which is only ever a few steps away because our house is miniscule. I’ll probably put a video of our house on Instagram soon, though maybe I won’t, but you’ll never know if you don’t follow me!

<< Shameless bid to get you to follow me on Insta because Neville thinks it would be fun to finally nudge over to 3k followers and it ever eludes us! I ignored Insta for many years too long (I’m a VERY late adopter of all things, don’t even ask me to deal with Click Clock), painstakingly built up our Facie following to 12,000 legends, and then was very sad when FB sort of died. My Instagram remains rather woeful compared to how many of you follow this blog!

So that was a tangent.

Back in my miniscule house, I dashed in to discover that our new washing machine, Payk, had finally decided he didn’t want Dysie the vacuum to sit on him anymore.

Dysie was patiently waiting for me to screw her house onto the wall.

So Payk vibrated a bit, deafened me slightly in my left ear, and chucked poor Dysie onto the floor, snapping off her purple filter mohawk in the process.

What a bastard.

I can’t remember why I was telling you that story, so I’ll go back to Neville.

Neville has been very, very busy lately, dreaming up things to wake me up with.

Many mornings Neville gets a bit crispy (in my head) at Bloody Good Bloke who wakes up at 6am-ish every day no matter how late we went to bed — and just by the act of breathing differently, wakes me up in the process.

Night owls and early birds should be warned off dating!

Other mornings Neville notices that I’m feeling non-specific-mild-unfounded-background-dread, and he panics and starts pulling problem after problem off the shelves of my mind. Then the analysis begins.

Nev and I have also spent many mornings discussing that friendship that went off the rails ages ago, and whether it’s possible to get it back on track.

And that other friendship that went pear shaped, and whether we should do anything about it.

And interest rates… yikes!

Many mornings, I wake up with Nev mapping out a plan for exactly how we’re going to build the tiny desk I’m making, or some other practical plan of action (his favourite thing to do).

This morning, Neville’s next thought after “Do you think we’ll be able to buy a new purple filter thingee for the Dyson?” was “Ohh we should write a blog post about Neville’s waking up thoughts.”

“Neville, you’re talking in 3rd person again,” I replied.

“Also, your thoughts are not interesting.”

Neville disagreed, and somehow here I am back in my bed, in my fluffy blue dressing gown, typing.

The thing about Neville is, if I don’t catch him in the act, his morning thoughts can go awry pretty quickly. And those thoughts can seriously colour my emotions for the day. Not in a lovely sunny yellow like the chairs I just painted.

I’ve been pretty unwell for the last few months (year, really — but more on that another day), and as a result, my waking thoughts have been less than rosy.

And I’ve never been more grateful for this skill of unhooking from my mind and returning to the present moment

(thus freeing me from getting in a car with a Neville shaped hijacker).

To catch your mind in the act is one of the most helpful skills I’ve ever learnt.

I think of it like this — when you wake up, there are a load of Ubers waiting for you. Many look fairly innocuous. Perhaps you think to yourself, Ohhh maybe I’ll just hop in this one here, it looks safe, it’s just a Toyota Corolla.

Next minute the driver has pulled a balaclava over his face, pulled a gun on you, and driven at high speed into dread-ville (everyone has dreadlocks there), and suddenly your day has been unravelled by a thought.

But if you wake up and see all the Ubers there, shouting random things at you, you can laugh.

Safe in the knowledge that Neville is in all of those Ubers,

and one should never trust a Neville with their happiness.

So most mornings, when Uber driver Neville number 47 shouts “You have a headache again and your friends don’t even love you that much!”  I can just watch the thought, let it be there, then turn away from the dodgy Uber and instead focus on the feeling of my feet touching the cold wooden floor as I make the dash for my fluffy slippers.

The way we handle the first thoughts of our day is everything. If we can catch our thoughts, we can shift the tone of our day from

‘crispy’, ‘dready’, or ‘crispy fried dread’… to ‘bloody good,’ or at least ‘not too bad.’

When your mind kicks things off with a bunch of bollocks, as minds are prone to do, you need to be prepared with strategies.

Like the inspiringly named “Foot-focus” technique that I wrote about here: How to chuck wrong-side-of-the-bed-ness in the bin.

If your mind likes to get a bit crispy with you at 4am. Or 7pm…

Focus on your feet.

If you’ve been thinking of doing the much loved Bloody Good Life program, this is your last chance. BGL will be closing its doors from July this year.

Learn to tame your overthinking mind and get clear on your direction (plus a handful of other benefits you won't expect).

→ Put your name on the Bloody Good Life waitlist here.

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