Retraining my brain

I am starting to learn, or re-learn perhaps, that I can make up my own mind and I can choose what and how I think about things. Take laundry, for example (You have my permission to leave now, if you wish. I will understand.)

I abhor folding laundry. I don’t know why. It’s not even the stinkiest of the household chores on my plate. Really. Dishes have dried food, toilets have you-know-what, showers have scum. But folding clothes is a cinch because the clothes are clean. We’re just folding and putting away. What’s the big deal? Yet, I love folding towels. This is an odd phenomenon. There’s not much difference between towels and clothing.

So, I tried to figure out what it is about folding towels that I enjoy, to see if I could apply that same logic to folding my clothes, and thus make it more enjoyable. Or at least not something to dread. I like that for each type and size of towel I have a particular way I fold them, so that they will fit in their place. So once I’m done I have all these neat piles/groups of towels. And I still don’t know why that seems to appeal to me, but the fact that it does means I could probably be looking at my clothing in the same manner. I have different types of clothing but I can group them together and fold each type a similar way so that they all end up in nice neat matching piles and they fit into their homes properly. (If you think this is sounding very Marie Kondo-like I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you very much.) So if I remember that I have a special system for folding the clothes and make it feel more like a game, it feels much less like a chore. And therefore not something I dread and put off doing.

The other thing is that I always only ever have one basket of towels to fold at a time. With clothing this is almost never the case. However, I could trick my brain by just setting out one basket at a time, and only think of that one until it’s done and put away. Then bring out the next. I could hide any extra baskets of clothes that need folding until it’s their turn to be folded. Thus tricking my brain and not feeling so overwhelmed. Because procrastination is often borne out of the frustration of being overwhelmed, right?

I know that’s just about laundry and that’s silly and not so important, but I find it very interesting that we can train our brains to see things certain ways. I believe that’s a crucial piece of information. I have found it extremely helpful during moments of anxiety, to stop and think about how my thoughts arrived at the place they did. If you know the path they took, you can choose to reroute them. And that makes all the difference. Telling yourself something isn’t the end of the world, whether you believe it or not at the time, is the first step to convincing yourself that it’s not the end of the world.

Hey! Don’t sweat the small stuff, kid. And remember, it’s all small stuff.

Q: How much fun is doing your laundry?
A: Loads

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