Taking a Vacation from your Anxious Mind

Greetings fellow mindful travelers,

As you read this, I will probably be somewhere in the sky traveling for a week’s vacation in Hawaii.

It got me thinking about the mindset shift that often occurs when people are on vacation and how this might apply to mindfulness practice.

Let’s say you are on your lovely vacation and you receive a work email.  How likely are you to take that email seriously?

Now let’s say you are working in the office that week and receive the same email.  How likely are you to take that email seriously?

If you’re like me, in the first scenario, it is a lot easier to shrug it off and let go.  After all, you are on vacation.  You got more important things to do.

So what if that email was like an anxious or fearful thought: “Don’t make a mistake!”  “No one is going to like you at the party!” or “You are going to fail!”

Our anxious minds are often churning out these thoughts all the time.

And sometimes it’s like we are back at the office and think: “OK Mind – I’m on it!  I won’t let you down!”

Or we think: “You suck anxiety! You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

We buy into our anxious thoughts, or we get into a whole internal battle with them.

But what if we went on vacation…

And we didn’t have to take it all so seriously…

You see, it can be helpful to think of our minds like an overly helpful friend.  The kind that is always giving you advice, often unwanted advice, about how to live your life.

“Watch out for this!”  “What if this happens!”  “Better avoid that!”

His/her intentions are good.  Your anxious mind is just trying to keep you safe.  But ultimately, most of the time, its advice is not very good.

So given that, you can reply to your anxious mind with kindness and wisdom.

“Thank you for the advice, but I think I’m going to that party anyway.”

“Thank you for looking out for me, but I think I’m going to take a risk anyway.”

You get the idea.

So if you’re out on vacation and your anxious mind comes a knocking, you could politely say:

Sorry I’m on vacation.”

Try it out.

Play with it.

How would it feel for you to relate to your anxious thoughts from a space of vacation?

Until next time,

Ellis Edmunds

If you, or someone you know, is struggling with anxiety and could use the support of a professional, it would be an honor to be of service.  I offer Individual Therapy and Mindfulness Workshops in Oakland, California.