Stop thinking about yourselfArts
“Of all the things people think about during the day, the one topic of thought related to the worst moods is the self. The reason for this seems to be that generally when a person thinks about him- or herself, the first and often the only thoughts that appear in consciousness have to do with things that are going wrong – for instance, about getting old, fat, or losing one’s hair, or feeling that one is not successful in some aspect of life.” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: The Evolving Self: A Psychology for the New Millenium
Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the leading authority on the optimal experience of flow, a state of total absorption in one’s work that requires forgetting about the self. When you are fully engaged in your work, you aren’t thinking about yourself or your problems. In those moments you are not obsessed about getting old, fat, or becoming a failure. But after your world turns upside that those self-absorbed thoughts can overwhelm you.
Here’s the paradox: it is easy to forget yourself and your problems when things are going great. It is hardest to do so when your world has turned upside, but that is precisely when it is most important for you to do so. Focusing in on yourself and your problems just makes you more depressed, and the more depressed you are the more difficult it is for you to connect with other people, effectively search for a job, start a new business, write your novel, or whatever it is that should come next in your life.
Pay attention to what’s going on in your head. As soon as you see your thoughts beginning to focus on your Self, immediately shift your focus outward. Think about the work you need to do, think about others you need to meet, think about the contributions you can make.