When to Stop Thinking

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My daughter was upset. A friend had said she was too busy with homework to get together, but then she posted a picture of her shopping with other friends. Why didn’t she just tell her the truth? My daughter wanted to write a text to send to her friend in the midst of her anger.

A friend of mine was feeling guilty and discouraged. She had been sick for a while and was unable to attend her son’s football games. She’d also been needing lots of rest and felt that she wasn’t able to be there for her kids. Right now, she needed to get some sleep, but her mind kept whirling, wondering what to do.

Have you ever been in a situation where you felt mad or hopeless and were pressuring yourself to solve the problem?

One of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to “stop thinking” when we’re upset, tired, or frustrated. Don’t try to figure things out. Don’t make decisions. Don’t take any actions we might regret.

Instead, give ourselves permission to not think about it until the next day, when we’re more rested and have a fresh perspective. I can remember my parents telling me when I was growing up that everything looks better the next day.

Now imagine how freeing that would feel! Instead of adding to your stress, you actually remove some of it. You can relax a little, knowing that you don’t need to deal with whatever it is until tomorrow, when you feel better.

Granted, this approach doesn’t work with everything or all the time. Sometimes you don’t have the luxury of waiting until the next day, and sometimes you don’t feel better. But I’ve found it is extremely helpful most of the time. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.

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