This is the fourth and final article in our series about yucking on our own or another’s yum. In the last article, we discussed how not to yuck on someone else’s yum. In this article, we’ll find ways to ensure that we don’t yuck on our own yum, because the person who is most likely to yuck on your yum is you.
Have you ever noticed that after something wonderful has happened to you, that you say to yourself:
- "I don’t know how long this is going to last”, or ...
- “I wonder when the other shoe will drop”? Or ...
- We might start to think “I can’t believe it’s true."
We could be listening to music, enjoying a sunset, hearing wind chimes, or having a fun evening with a friend and thoroughly enjoying the experience, but then, very frequently, we disrupt our enjoyment of the moment with negative thoughts about our life, either by gazing into the future with worries, or reliving past moments of frustration.
For instance, our phone chirps with an alert, and we start thinking about our to-do list, the project that we need to complete, an upcoming chemistry exam, an upcoming PTA meeting, or a problem with a colleague.
Thoughts On Auto-Pilot
Often we may not even be aware that we are thinking these things or saying these statements to ourselves because it’s so automatic. It’s so easy to shift into our minds and drift away from the experience. We may not even be aware that we have left the present moment and our yummy experience until we’re already lost in our thoughts.
- We can bring ourselves back to this moment without judgment and self-criticism.
- We could validate or acknowledge the experience with thoughts like, “ I feel so wonderful right now, I feel very peaceful right now.” This requires us to be conscious not only of how we feel, but what we tell ourselves.
Being able to be conscious and self-validating are the most important ingredients that help us to maintain our yum. Because experiencing our yum is not a state of mind, it is a state of being.
Experiencing our yum isn’t necessarily a result of something external that’s happening – we can learn to find these moments even within the midst of a hectic day.
There may not be an identifiable reason for being happy, but we can still allow ourselves to lean into and really imprint the good yum feeling in our bodies and minds.
The more we allow our yum, the more yum we are going to feel, both in the current moment and in the future. This practice of allowing becomes part of our new healthy pattern, and by being present and noticing, we will increase our ability to attain more moments of enjoyment in our lives.
Ways To Stay Present
- Realize that most things don’t need our immediate attention. As Eckhart Tolle writes about in his seminal work “The Power of Now”: there is no problem in the present moment. What he means is that we don’t have to feel as if we have to solve something, right this moment. We can let it go and focus on it at a later time.
- Writing the thought down: If it is a thought that you are concerned you may lose later, feel free to write it down (i.e. an idea for something that has been stumping you, or a solution to a problem.) But then, allow yourself to go back to your enjoyment of the experience.
- Thought-stopping: Sometimes, repeating a phrase like “these thoughts are hurting me, not helping me” can help us to remember that our thoughts are not who we are, or that a thought about the future or the past is not doing us any good. We can look past the thought in order to come back to the experience of being content.
- Minimize your “yucks”: Have you noticed things that immediately pull you out of your enjoyment? For some, it might be watching the news or driving in traffic. For our highest good, we can evaluate those things and decide not to do them, or to find alternatives.
- Maybe looking into teleworking, or avoiding peak hours, or even just listening to soothing music while driving might be of benefit. (This may be deeper work to evaluate our belief system about the things that frustrate us.)
Becoming present is some of the hardest work there is, and is the work of a lifetime.
However, if you feel as if you can’t quiet your thoughts for any length of time, not even long enough to enjoy a little bit of “yum” in your life, then it might be helpful to speak with a therapist about the distractions of your mind.
At Nassau Guidance and Counseling, we’ve worked with many people to find ways to enjoy more “yum” in their lives, helping each person to find a new level of contentment and enjoyment.