Oops, you did it again! You said YES too many times. You took on too much.
You are completely overwhelmed and don’t know what to start first on your massive to-do list. You feel that panic coming on as you realize it’s happened again… You’ve got Monkey Mind!
We’ve all been there. It happens a lot during the holiday season in the fall. It’s common in the summer when you are juggling your daily responsibilities with family and travel.
It might be related to a new work project that is taking over your life making it difficult to fit in your personal responsibilities. It’s gonna happen from time to time.
Do you know how to get control of it?
Here is my favorite remedy for Monkey Mind: Eliminate the NUTS in your life.
NUTS are those “Nagging Unfinished Tasks” that you constantly think about and make you feel overwhelmed.
They not only clutter your space but your mind. Here is a simple way to get rid of them:
1. Make a list of anything that bothers you, worries you or that you are simply tolerating.
What is nagging at you and on your mind all the time?
It can be a task on your to do list or something in your life that you know is constantly sucking your energy.
Write it ALL down on paper:
-the messy laundry room that is driving you crazy every time you walk into it
-your desire to start a new exercise program
-your craving for a moment alone to take a bath
-those boundaries that you know you need to set with that needy friend who calls you daily
-the pile of mail you need to sort through
It can be something very simple or a bigger goal/desire or something you have wanted to do or stop doing for a long time.
2. Next, it’s time to start to eliminating the NUTS in your life. Choose the NUT that bothers you the most and work on it until completed.
If it is a huge NUT then break it down into 20 minute pieces and prioritize doing the most time consuming one first to completion.
3. Once you have knocked out one of your NUTS, move on to the next most bothersome one.
Notice how much better you feel. When you mark tasks off of your to do list, you actually release dopamine- one of the 4 feel good hormones!
4. Continue to eliminate your NUTS until you have worked through your list.
Although be aware – the list might keep growing. It’s normal for that to happen but you now have a strategy on how to deal with these tasks so they don’t overwhelm you.
Anytime you start to feel “Monkey Mind” creeping in, take a time out and purge the NUTS onto the list so you can get them out of your head and start cracking away at them, one at a time.
Years ago, when I first did this exercise, I made a long list. By getting it all on paper, I realized I was spending time on smaller tasks and ignoring the bigger, more stressful ones. My biggest NUT was that I couldn’t walk my dogs without my arm getting pulled off.
This was an everyday frustration that was stressing me out but I was ignoring it. I was hurting my body as one of my dogs was almost 80 pounds and beginning to show fear around other dogs.
The more stressed I got, the worse the issue was getting as the dogs fed off my energy.
Making the list, gave me clarity that I needed to make this a priority and I found it very freeing to just focus on one thing.
I took the time to find a dog trainer that would come to our home and we had 3 lessons that changed our lives.
Ultimately, I learned how to be the leader in a way that worked for the 80 pounder.
Learning these new skills decreased a daily stressor for all of us and improved the quality of my life and my relationship with my dogs.
I'm pretty sure I would have kept ignoring this issue if I hadn't done this exercise because it recommends you address the most bothersome not the most important task on your list. That was a different way for me to prioritize things but it worked.
Decreasing the NUTS in your life, will also refuel your battery. Think of your body and mind as a battery. We only have so much energy for all the things we have to do every day.
By focusing on this one issue with my dogs, I actually got a lot more done on my to-do list and NUTS started falling off the list without much effort. I started taking action without even realizing it because I had more energy and my mind was free from overwhelm.
Another bonus of this stress busting exercise:
If you focus on eliminating NUTS for just 20 minutes a day, you will eventually be doing more of what you love each day.
So here’s to taking back control of your mind (and life)! Give it a try- tackle one of those NUTS on your list and let me know how it made you feel.
Get to crackin'!
Mollie Miller, PT