My ultimate freedom? Freedom from thought

surfs upLike many others out there, I’m guilty of over-analyzing everything and thinking way too much. It’s a challenge to shut my mind off – especially right before bed. There’s always something in my work, family and personal life that fuels my inner monolog. I’m always going over my to-do list and all the things I forgot… and of course, thinking about all the things I wish I had done or said… instead of the things I actually did or said. Throw in some good ol’ fashioned insecurities and money woes, and seriously, my mind is triple-booked! Thankfully, I’ve found two things that provide my brain with moments of relief: writing and exercising.

For as long as I can remember, I have kept a journal that I write in before going to bed. Putting my thoughts on paper makes them tangible, easier to make sense of and deal with. It clears my mind and forces me to focus on one thing, issue or problem at a time until I’m grow tired from writing. And honestly, sometimes I just need to bitch and moan – once I get it out of my system, I feel calm and can move on.

When it comes to exercise, I actually think I do it more to keep me sane than I do to stay healthy. When I run (okay fine, jog), I am completely focused on me. Am I thirsty? How much further can I push my body before my legs give out? Can I squeeze out a fifth mile? I also recently took up surfing and when I’m in the ocean, I think of nothing but survival. Can I make it out past the break? Can I paddle fast enough to catch that wave? Can I stand up on my board? Is my board going to hit me after I get drilled into the water? I’m far from being anywhere near good but even when I spend all day just getting pounded by waves, I feel free, alive, bold and able to take on the world.

Freeing your cluttered mind is a gift, even if for a moment, and makes it easier to deal with the daily grind. So whether it’s watching movies, shooting hoops, reading books, playing video games or baking pies, find those one or two things you can do ALONE that allow you to focus on yourself, give your tired mind a rest, and restore a sense of freedom, strength and independence.