I like folding laundry. I find it calming. It’s like meditation.
I put on some music, empty the clothes on to the bed, and begin sorting clothes into different piles. Then, I go to work on the socks, the shirts, the sweatshirts, etc.
I find this relaxing.
I hate folding laundry. I find it exhausting. It’s just one more thing to do.
I’m tired, the laundry basket is overflowing, and even though I don’t want to, I have to fold laundry because I have nothing to wear tomorrow. Maybe I’ll just pull what I need out of the laundry basket and finish it tomorrow.
This is making me feel anxious.
Same event. Different response.
This same dichotomy could happen with cooking, browsing Reddit, or reading. I could see both sides of a sales call, a zoom happy hour, or hosting a podcast.
Yet, in every one of those examples, the event has not changed…I have.
Cooking is still cooking. A sales call is still a sales call. The only thing that changes is how I see the event.
Am I excited or am I anxious? Am I inspired or am I frustrated? Do I get to choose?
The conditions and the stories
We are all presented with external circumstances beyond our control. The playing field is not level. Society has erected different barriers for different groups. Where you’re born and who you’re born to is not inconsequential to how your life will play out.
Sometimes, we are presented with internal circumstances beyond our control. Mental health issues, especially when left unaddressed, can limit our choices, and stifle our ability to manage stress. No one chooses to have these issues.
Our realities, at home and at work, are the product of the conditions we find ourselves in, and the stories we tell ourselves about these circumstances. We all fall somewhere on the spectrum of freedom to choose our stories.
Mindfulness at home and at work
We’re going to have good days and bad days. We’re going to have good clients and frustrating ones. We’re going to have co-workers who say something to us, and we’re going to make up a story in our minds about what it meant.
Our mindset will shape how we see these events.
Becoming aware of this fact is the first step. Intervention is the second step. The third step is to repeat steps one and two.
This is not a solution. This is a practice.
There’s never been a better time to start. Take this advice however you’d like.