This is a question that has been coming up for me lately, so I thought I’d explore it a little more today.
I was listening to a talk by US coach Brendon Burchard who discussed removing the non-essentials from your life in order to create more, to get more done, and to ultimately generate more success in your life.
He said that many people complain of being ‘busy’ when really, they’re burning 30-45 mins a day scrolling through Facebook or spending two hours a day watching TV (in fact, the average American apparently watches four hours of TV a day and I’m sure it’s not that different in Australia – particularly with Netflix and Stan offering all our favourite TV shows in binge-watchable format!).
Although I try to restrict myself to one episode of something on Netflix in the evening, when I think about it, that’s still a LOT of time spent watching TV every week. Add to that the time that I spend scrolling through social media (definitely too much) and I realised that what Brendon Burchard was saying about those people complaining about having too little time applied to me too.
It was definitely a revelatory moment for me to realise that I feel like I have little time, but I’m probably wasting a lot more time than I think as well.
The fact is, I’m totally not against down-time or ‘escape’ time. I LOVE reading fiction novels and watching Netflix. But these things aren’t creatively fulfilling. They are pure escapism. Sure, it’s fun and relaxing to enjoy reading and watching TV, but there needs to be a balance because if we spend too much time consuming then it’s taking away from our ability to create things – and to create success – in our lives.
Similarly to being a dampener to creativity, over-consuming is a way of numbing our feelings and not having to sit with uncomfortable sensations. But when we shove our feelings down, they unfortunately don’t go away – they become stronger, so we have to push them down more and more.
A Ted X talk I watched recently really nailed the strategy for sitting with negative emotional feelings. Check it out here: Emotional Mastery: The Gifted Wisdom of Unpleasant Feelings | Dr Joan Rosenberg | TEDxSantaBarbara. Dr Rosenberg says that emotions come in 90-second waves: all you have to do is sit with the wave and be present until it passes. Then it is gone. (It may come again, particularly if it is an extremely traumatic event that you’re reacting to).
However, this really resonated with me in terms of dealing with day-to-day unpleasant feelings. E.g. Frustration at work or in business; feeling guilty for not going to the gym; or comparing oneself with others (never pleasant but sometimes difficult to avoid!). That’s just to name a few. Just give it 90 seconds, be present, allow yourself to really feel the emotions (rather than running away from it or using a distraction) and it’s gone! Magic. Try it – it works (at least for those unpleasant day-to-day feelings).
It also occurred to me that the more we DON’T deal with the unpleasant day-to-day feelings, the more we feel the need to escape (think shopping, binge-watching TV or binge-reading novels, wine, chocolate, etc). I know that this is true for me.
So – my challenge to myself for this week is to allow myself to really feel, and to experience those 90-second waves of emotion, then to let them pass. Then I will see how much energy I can save through wasted emotion on stuff that really doesn’t make a difference to my life and direct that energy towards creating instead.
Watch this space – I’ll write more about my findings next week!
What do you think about this topic? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below – how do you deal with those uncomfortable day-to-day emotions and do you feel that they contribute to you wanting to escape more?