By Neil Schori
How often do you talk to yourself? Quite a lot, don’t you? Come on, you can admit it. As a matter of fact, some mental health experts say that it is actually a marker of true mental health. In that case, I must be really healthy! Since November, I’ve been doing a lot of self-talk. I tell myself that I’m just in a busy season and that soon it will slow down and everything will be ok. I’m sick and tired of saying that to myself because it isn’t changing. This is one of the longest “seasons” on record!
In our fast-paced and results-oriented society, we’re told to keep running and running in our careers and with all of our kids’ extra-curricular activities. Even our vacations are rushed. We’ll surely rest one day, won’t we? Certainly retirement will be good, at least. Maybe, but we’ve never been guaranteed retirement, have we?
Here’s what I’m learning, and starting to integrate into my self-talk mantras: running non-stop is neither efficient nor good for me. And no one else will tell me to slow down, either. I have to care enough for myself to recognize that slowing down is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, slowing down can make me a lot more productive, and will help me to keep firing on all cylinders in a healthy and well-rounded way.
Maybe you can relate to all of this. Why is it that we think that we have to keep running so fast, anyway? What are we trying to prove? A lot of us keep going because we think that everything depends on us. I used to think that, but now I believe that is both unhealthy and untrue. When we fall for that lie, we start running around so quickly that we are good to no one…particularly not to ourselves. When we do that, we are out of a healthy rhythm and we’re inefficient and something will break in us. It may be our sanity, and it may be our health.
It reminds me of a heart condition called atrial fibrillation. It is one of the leading causes of blood clots that kill people each year. A healthy heart beats with a united and purposeful rhythm, but atrial fibrillation causes the heart to beat erratically, and without unity and strength. What happens next is the blood that is being pumped does not circulate properly and tends to pool and to clot. It isn’t that the heart is not beating. It is actually beating like mad. It is beating quickly and inefficiently…and for the physical heart, that can be disastrous. And just maybe, it is for our emotional hearts, too.
If I’m describing you today, I want you to do something with me. Say no to someone when they ask you for something, and then take that time and do something for yourself. It isn’t selfish or bad or uncaring. Let all of that go. Get a cup of coffee all by yourself or take a long walk or do yoga. Don’t give a long explanation for why you are saying no because that just makes you sound guilty. Just say no and be silent. I promise you this: you won’t regret it…and you’ll be healthier for it. How is your life’s rhythm?