Rebooting My Spirit

To say that I am impressionable would be to put it mildly. And when I say impressionable I mean prone to take on the circumstances and anxieties of things around me. Here’s an example: I watched the movie “Castaway,” and for the next seven nights in a row, dreamt that I was drowning.

I’m a giant sponge. I absorb whatever I allow myself to be exposed to. That’s great when those things are inspiring and encouraging. Of course, I can’t always control my surroundings and life situations so as to avoid anything negative, but I’ve had a giant wake-up call in the past week or so. I’ve allowed myself to become overly saturated with the cares of the world and the prophets of doom (and gloom). It’s time to reboot my spirit.

Here are the five things I will be doing on a daily basis over the coming 30 days:

1. Turn off the TV

I rarely sit and watch TV. But I am one to have it on in the background, all the time. I’m drawn to news and talk shows and you know what that means―all of the troubles of the world playing over and over again. I am taking a 30-day break

2. Leave Wall Street

I am not going to check any stock market figures, follow any economic forecasts or look at my own investments. It’s easy for me to become obsessive about things like that. When I load up on too much economic prophecy, I become weighed down with “what could happen,” feeling as though it already has.

3. Spend time with God

Rarely am I all alone, in solitude. I am a multi-tasker and do many things at the same time. For 30 days I am going to make time for being alone. I will pray, write in my journal and just listen.

4. Go to bed at a set time

I hate to even go into this one because it is so unwise. I see nighttime as the extra hours I need in my daytime. I often work through the night, or fall into bed at 3 am just to have the alarm go off at 6 am. I know this is terrible for my mental acuity, my health, and my family. I am committed to going to bed at 11:30 pm every night, no exceptions.

5. Guard my mind

Even with items 1 through 4 above in play, I have one of those minds that can come up with all kinds of thoughts and worries on its own. But guess what? I can control my mind. I can choose what I will think about. So this month I am making a concerted effort to make sure the thoughts on which I dwell are positive, empowering, and enabling of good things in my life.

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  1. Joni Kelly says:

    Dear Mary,
    I’ve been following you columns, reading your books (can I get an autograph?) and subscribing off and on for years! All your columns inspire me, but this one knocks the ball out of the park!
    When I read that you’re a night owl like me, I admitted to myself that I really MUST get back to a regular bedtime routine. At 66 it’s becoming more essential than ever!
    Thanks again for another great reminder!
    Love you bunches, Joni

  2. Joan Rene says:

    Dear Mary,
    I am with you! I have been practicing most everything you listed (need to stick closer to regular bedtime).
    I don’t really watch TV. In fact, we only have wifi, no cable, no broadcast tv, but on Friday nights my husband loves to stream a movie. They usually involve some dystopian future plagued by killer robots, giant, killer space rocks, unfriendly aliens or pestilence of some kind and lots of chasing. It’s not my idea of fun. Like you, I internalize this stuff so I usually go in another room.

    I just wanted to say something positive: You/your emails have been life-changing for me. Your posts either give me a new idea or affirm what I had been thinking up already(I’m no spring chicken!). On top of that, we are finally debt free(insert happy dance here)!!!!!!!!
    I have tried many of your recipes and cooking methods with great success, switched to microfiber cleaning cloths, make my own detergent from your recipe, make many of your cleaning and cleaning refill recipes and thoughtfully bought a few products you’ve suggested.
    Best of all, I love your upbeat, kind, godly, can-do spirit.
    Mary Hunt, you’re a national treasurer! Thank you!

  3. leslie rubinson says:

    guarding my mind – this may sound silly but when negative or stressful thoughts start to creep into my mind, i think about and visualize a big chocolate cake covered with delicious gooey chocolate frosting and focus on that for a moment until the bad thoughts go away. works every time, and, i also find watching the zoo programs on animal planet and other places relaxing and stress relieving. the total love that the keepers have for their animals is what shines thru.

  4. Lori M says:

    TV is such a bad distraction. I stopped watching most TV in the 80s when I realized that there was nothing positive on the news. To this day, I do not watch any news on TV. The last time I tuned in was during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I do watch some specific shows, but I have TiVo and I watch them at my convenience, not when they air.

  5. Jill says:

    I saw this in my inbox but could not get to it until today. You nailed it with this piece. I do/feel everything you mentioned here and I had been thinking seriously about taking time away from media in the morning while getting ready for work. Music, whatever I might choose, seems like a better idea. Also instead of listening to other people tell me what they think, how about finding out what God has to say about all that is going on. In my devotion for the morning, it was of the same topic and as soon as I saw it, I was amazed at how hungry I was to read it.
    Good on you!

  6. Bookworm says:

    I finally learned how to quiet my mind form something Eckhart Tolle advised: First completely relax all your muscles, even those in your face and shoulders and inside your stomach (those are the hardest for me). Then take a few deep breaths. Then continue breathing deeply and concentrate only on your breathing. When you realize your mind has wandered to some problem, smile to yourself, take another deep breath, and go back to concentrating on your breathing. Sometimes this isn’t easy, but it gets easier with practice.

  7. Barbara says:

    Mary, I have been exactly the same way the last week or 2. I don’t intentionally watch much news but it is so invasive that it finds you unless you stay away from any media altogether. I am going to try like you to avoid listening or reading the global news because it is all bad and focusing on God in my thoughts for peace and comfort and count on Him to take my troubles away. Thanks,

  8. Kathy says:

    I’m in the same boat as you! Controlling my thoughts is the hardest. I recently heard Dr. Caroline Leaf speak at a women’s meeting at our church. All about how the mind builds “pathways” of thoughts but we can change that. Her book Switch On Your Brain is wonderful at explaining it scientifically and giving steps to accomplish it. She also has free videos on You Tube. It’s worth checking out.

  9. Betty Thomas says:

    Mary I feel like you read my mind. I’ve always said I “feel things” so deeply that it can interfere with living my life well. The news locally and globally has hurt my heart and kept my head spinning as of late. I’ve never been a good sleeper so these things running around in my head do not help that situation. I’m going to follow your lead. Thank you once more…

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