Thoughts are really powerful.
The human brain, still a mystery to researchers, is extremely strong and oftentimes underestimated. Harnessing this truly limitless strength, I have found, can be achieved in small realizations. Here are a few that have gotten me through long school days, work shifts, and even a half marathon:
In the seventh grade, our Language Arts class read a book, Freak the Mighty. One of the characters, a boy nicknamed “Freak” who is physically handicapped with Morquio syndrome, was quoted in saying something that has stuck with me for all these years: “Pain is just a state of mind. You can think your way out of everything, even pain.” This revolutionized the way I view all kinds of pain and hardship. Though, in tough times, it may seem like there will never be happiness, normalcy or comfort again, there will be. In the end, everything pans out — the process of making it to that point can sometimes be challenging. I have found that one of the best ways to do so is to simply remember that your brain is the thing incurring the pain (in whichever form it may be), and you have the power and the strength to ease it through the process.
Remember, it’s okay to not be okay. Feel your emotions and don’t bury them, but remembering this trick will maybe help you to “be on your own side”!
Secondly, employ numbers. Though I’m not a numbers person, per se — I’m actually awful at math — using them in situations like a two-hour class or an eight-hour work shift can be life saving! I enjoy using them to count down hours or minutes I have left. For example: “There are 15 minutes left in this shift, so ten minutes until there are only five minutes left!” It really helps to think of things in increments, or little bits.
This leads me to my next point, another one of my favorite sayings: moderation in everything. Regarding things in pieces rather than overwhelming oneself with the big picture is relieving. My mother always used to suggest this trick in stressful situations, and it works magic.
Side note! A good example of this and one that could easily serve as a metaphor to many other instances is a long run. Rather than viewing the entirety of the distance (inducing excessive dread), one can consider that they must simply “get through the next mile”. Focusing on one task at a time, one mile at a time, also allows one to feel accomplished each time they do get through the small increment.
Despite all of these tricks, be in the moment. It’s true that the clock moves faster if the human eye is not watching, and I, personally, have more fun when I’m not constantly checking the time on my phone! Even in the bleakest of situations, try to find something positive about it. With the onset fall weather, for instance, walking through the cold to class is a perfect example. Although the bitter wind may not be comfortable, it leaves one thankful for the approaching holidays.
Our brains can either help us or hurt us. Allowing the former to occur can release a power and peace in life that surpasses the intensity of any depth of hardship. Think about it.