You are sitting at home.
You’re exhausted, feel beat up, and you have your favorite pair of cranky pants on. You flop onto the couch (or your comfy chair of choice) and begin to watch television. The show that’s on is not your favorite. It’s kind of depressing, but in a non-descript Lifetime special kind of way. You decide to give it a chance.
And immediately regret the decision. It’s slow, the actors are wooden, and the plot is painfully paint-by-numbers.
You look to your left, and then look to your right, but don’t spot the remote. “Ah, well. I don’t want to get up,” you consider, “after all, the show may be kind of miserable, but at least I’m comfy where I’m sitting. I mean…how bad can it get?”
Is if the universe was intruding on your thoughts and it had echoed, “Challenge accepted,” …the show somehow manages to go from bad to horrible at a somewhat impressive pace.
You decide that you can’t stand it and begin to look harder for the remote…
…only to realize…
…you don’t have one…
…because it’s 1945 and the first wireless remote won’t be in production for another 10 years!
When…suddenly, you wake up from a cold sweat; on the couch with the remote in hand. “Whew,” you exclaim, as you quickly turn off the tv and to go bed.
For most of us, we can’t imagine a time when we didn’t have the ability to change the channel at will – with a remote, our phone, or our digital assistant of choice. It would seem crazy for us to not change the channel (or our favorite streaming service) if what we were watching wasn’t entertaining or interesting in some way.
So why is it, when we are thinking negative, self-defeating thoughts – we don’t change the mental channel in our brains? Often, we find ourselves stressing, obsessing, and following every worry and concern down the mental rabbit whole in our minds to the brain-funded-streaming-services of “Depressionflixl” and “Anxiety Prime.” What’s worse – is these streaming services are completely free and the only advertisements we will see are reminders of our failures, of potential future disasters, and more!
Here’s the trick: it’s not the world of 1945 in our mind! Each of us has the power to change the channel. We just have to choose to do so.
So, the next time you find yourself binging your favorite worry on “Depressionflix” or watching every episode of “What could happen” on “Anxiety Prime – change the channel! It’s not always as easy pressing a button, BUT it works – with commitment and repetition. When you feel yourself using your mental remote to switch back to that negative thought, catch yourself and change what you are doing – go for a walk, go grab some water, or call a friend if you need to – but do everything (legal) in your power to make sure you don’t switch back.
And, eventually, you’ll be able to cancel your subscription to those negative mental streaming services! Pick a better station (a positive, empowering thought or path) and watch that instead!
Change the channel!
(Note: for some of us, depression, anxiety and more can make “Changing the channel” difficult. If you feel this is insurmountable or that no matter how often you change the channel, you can’t seem to keep the station on something more positive – please reach out to family, close friends, or a mental health professional. You can do this and sometimes, a little support can go a long way – You’ve got this!)