Shut Up and Ride!
One of the highlights of my week is Saturday morning. I love it because I get to sleep in a bit and then go to the gym for a few hours to workout. It’s always been a great stress reliever for me and it really sets the tone for a healthy and active weekend. I’ve been doing this for years and I still enjoy it, which I find oddly funny - given that I’ve never really loved exercise before.
I’ve mentioned in previous blogs that I love to spin because its the only part of my day where I can actually relax my mind. I find that I’m always thinking about or worrying about something or someone. However, when I’m in spin class - the room is dark, the music is pumping and I get into a zone where I turn my brain off and just ride. I usually find myself just listening to the music and focusing on getting my legs to move to the same beat and rhythm. Sometimes I just don’t think about anything at all. Having that disconnect is heavenly and to get the physical benefits at the same time is awesome!
For some reason, this past Saturday was different.
As I was riding, I noticed my mind drifting away to various thoughts. I started thinking about my work deliverables. Both of my kids are dating awesome people - but both my son’s girlfriend and my daughter’s boyfriend have dealt with health issues lately and I was thinking about them. My mom and dad haven’t been 100% lately and I was worried about how they were doing. Then my mind drifted off to me.
I started wondering about whether my ass was jiggling as I was riding, and honed into my body and my ‘loose’ spots. Those are the parts of the body that still jiggle after all the weight loss and the exercise; this includes my arms, my legs and my ass. I have extra skin, a little extra fat and a bit more fluff than I would like. Well, who doesn’t?
I was caught up in this whirlwind of thought and realized that I hadn’t been paying much attention to class. My heart rate was not where it should have been and I was barely breaking a sweat. It felt like I just woke up - my head was a bit foggy and I was stunned by how much time I lost. It was in that moment that I shouted to myself…
SHUT UP AND RIDE!
It’s easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of our minds. When we repetitively think about the causes, situational factors, and consequences of one's negative emotional experience, we ruminate. Rumination distracts us from the focus in our world and oftentimes, it leads us down a negative pathway of thought.
The good news is that we can overcome it. One of the techniques I learned in graduate school was to visualize a stop sign the moment you realize that you’re ruminating. This helps redirect the mind. Once under control, redshift your focus to more positive thoughts or activities.
Here are a few additional options:
Distract your mind with other things such as books, movies or chatting with a friend. Even if you don’t feel like it, when you pull your mind away from the negative thoughts, it will refocus and you’ll feel better.
Focus on the external world around you rather than what’s going on in your mind
Listen to music, sing along at the top of your lungs and if you feel up to it, add a little dance in for good measure.
Re-write the narrative - meaning that you should try to reframe the thoughts into something more positive and empowering.
Once I stopped the ruminating thoughts, I found myself re-energized. I caught the music beat, moved my feet to the rhythm and pushed myself harder. It felt great to get back into the swing of class. In the end, I had a great workout and was proud of myself for the realizing what I was doing and handling it.
If I can do it. So can you!
Bee healthy. Bee happy.