Who Rents Space in Your Brain?

I recently was listening to a podcast and the speaker was talking about stress and worry.  He made this statement, which has stuck with me.

He told the listeners that he is careful who rents space in his brain.

He was speaking in the context of not allowing worry, stress and anxiety to take up residence in his brain and cause him to lose sleep, suffer health problems or waste valuable time on things that he felt would eventually take care of themselves.

For me the visual is a tenant who might be leasing an apartment or house I own.

The “good” tenant keeps the apartment clean and tidy and leaves it in good condition when they vacate and requires minimal investment to get the unit ready for the next tenant.

The “bad” tenant is messy, destructive and leaves the apartment needing major repairs or even totally inhabitable for the next tenant.  In order to rent the unit again, you will need to invest in some major repairs and cleanup.

One type of tenant is good for your investment the other is toxic.

What type of tenant is in your “apartment” or “brain”?

Honestly, for me this is an area I consistently struggle with and have to stop and “think” about what am I worrying (or stressing) about and why.  I have spent sleepless nights “worrying” and caused my stomach undue aches and pains, not to mention my attitude towards my family, staff and even patients.

Certainly living in today’s world it can be hard to eliminate stress from our everyday lives. 

Many of us have our methods of “de-stressing” that may some healthy options like exercise, yoga, meditation, massage and my personal favorite vacations!

However, there are less healthy ways that many of us may manage our stress from time to time including excessive alcohol, too much caffeine and poor food choices.  We all know that these options lead to more stress because our health fails, our relationships suffer and we tend to focus even more on the negative.

Mark Twain is famous for stating, “ I had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

For how many of us is this true?

And even if the “less than ideal” thing happened, was there any benefit to all your “worrying” in solving the situation?  Most likely not.

I speak from experience of course and many sleepless nights and too many cups of coffee the next day have made me realize what Mark Twain said is very true.  Most of what we worry about never happens.

So what do you do to prevent the “destructive” tenant from taking up space in your brain?

Here are 3 things that I have implemented as I “recover” from my worry syndrome and my “bad” brain tenants.

#1 Instead of holding in my “problem” or worry, I now find someone to talk to about it. 

Usually the lucky person is my husband, who never seems to rent any of his brain space to any worry or anxiety.  Often as I am telling him what I am “stressing” about, I realize how ridiculous it is and usually have the problem “kicked” out of my brain shortly afterwards.  If it truly needs to be “aired out” he will often help me see the reality of the situation and before long I realize I need to let it go.  It is either not a problem at all or will resolve itself.

#2 Take better care of you especially during times of increased stress and worry.

It is inevitable that you will face some stressful situations.  Problems with your employees, patients who are unhappy or teens that are …well being teens!  You cannot often avoid these situations, but you can change how you manage those seasons in your life..  I enjoy long walks listening to empowering messages or uplifting music.  By the time I get back home, whatever I had started to focus on that was causing some anxiety is often lifted or totally eliminated. 

#3 Unplug from your phone and all electronics at least one day a week for 24 hours. 

This means no emails, Facebook, twitter, instagram, etc…  This has been a challenge for me, as I know it can be for many of you to not check emails (or clinchecks) for 24 hours.

Some of you may have serious withdrawl symptoms!

The reality is that while we get physical mail on Saturdays, most of us are not running to our mailboxes to open up the physical mail on the weekends, why would do it with our emails?

My hope for those reading this post, that some of my ideas will help you kick out those “bad” tenants from your brain and you will find more room for the “good” tenants that bring you joy, peace and happiness.