“Shut up Josh, ya Crabbit Wee Shite”
Leaving Amsterdam, I had 14 days to cycle 800km to Copenhagen.
My brother and a few of my friends were in Copenhagen for a weekend, and I though it would be really cool to see them for a night whilst they were there. So I put myself under a bit of pressure to get to Copenhagen, cycling for 2 weeks solid with no breaks, averaging around 80km each day.
I’d had a long stop in Amsterdam waiting for my new bike arriving, So I was keen to get back on the bike and felt that 2 weeks continuous would be no problem.
However, it did turn out to be a lot harder than I imagined.
My fitness had dropped a little due to being off the bike for a full week and cycling every day for 2 whole weeks was pretty intense.
I usually like to have a few days off to relax and recharge after 7 days of cycling.
Throughout these 2 weeks I started to have some dark thoughts returning to my head and the sheer physical effort of this 800km cycle was starting to get the better of me.
In the past, this type of challenge would really trigger me. Leading me into a depression and feeling suicidal.
However this time was different.
This time I knew how to cope and I knew that these thoughts in my head were just thoughts.
Thoughts can’t hurt you if you know how to deal with them.
I’ve been reading a lot recently about mental health and my mind and trying to really educate myself on these subjects as I know that the key to managing my mind is to understand how it works.
I’ve come to learn that I am not my thoughts and more importantly I am not my mind.
My mind is a great instrument, that can achieve amazing things when used for positive outcomes.
But the problem has been in the past that my mind has been gathering a lot of negative thoughts and these lead to negative feelings and emotions like depression or feeling suicidal.
We all have thoughts.
Millions each day actually.
But the key is to identify the thoughts in your head.
Watch them like they are external to you and then decide how you process these thoughts.
If I start having really negative thoughts, and believe that these thoughts are really me, then these thoughts will turn into feelings.
Negative thoughts lead to negative feelings.
It’s all about becoming a watcher of my mind.
Watching the thoughts coming in, observing them and then deciding how I process them.
More positive thoughts lead to positive feelings like happiness and joy.
Not identifying with my mind and assuming that if I have a negative thought then I need to let this turn into a negative feeling.
I am not my thoughts.
That’s been a real game changer for me in learning how to transform how I feel and beat depression.
On the bike I frequently have negative thoughts when I’m really tired or after a long day cycling.
But I’m very conscious and aware of this now which helps me greatly.
I understand that when my body is physically very tired, my mind starts to act more negatively.
As I’ve been watching it closely I’ve been able to identify this.
So now if I ever have a really negative thought, I ask myself where that might have came from and why I’ve had this negative thought.
If I’m on the bike, I’ll say to myself
“Well you have been cycling all day Josh, you are really tired, that’s where this negative thought has come from”
So straight away I’ve understood it and not let it manifest into a negative feeling.
Anytime I have negative thoughts now I go through this same process.
Where am I? What have I been doing? What could possibly lead to this negative thought?
I’ll give you a few examples.
In Lubeck when I went to bed I had lots of negative thoughts. Rather than let them consume me I just asked what could have caused these? I thought about my day, tried to analyse as much of my actions and behaviour as possible and realised I had 2 beers with Dinner at my hosts.
Ok, there we go, I already know alcohol makes me feel worse and it’s easy to see that this is where it came from. I stopped the thoughts dead in their track and never let them become feelings as I was aware of where they originated.
Another example more recently in Oslo, I had a few more negative thoughts and I again went through the same process. I quickly realised I’d been spending a lot of my time that day on my phone, catching up on social media.
Ok, again something I know makes me feel low is spending too much time on my phone and social media. So it was really clear to see why I had these thoughts.
In the past these negative thoughts would happen, I’d assume they were me and I’d go into a depression and end up feeling suicidal wondering why the hell I just couldn’t be happy.
Now these thoughts only really happen when I’m tired.
So now any time these thoughts happen I go through this process and say the same thing to myself every time they happen.
“Shut up Josh, ya crabbit wee shite”
Speaking to yourself in this may be seem silly or a bit mental, but it’s something that has helped me a lot.
Separating your mind from yourself and seeing it as external to you can really stop negative thoughts leading to negative feelings.
Sometimes I’ll have a really crazy negative thought pop into my head and I’ll respond my saying out loud to myself
“Wow, that was a bit of a mental thought Josh, where the hell did that come from?”
And then go through the process to identify any behaviours or circumstances that day that might have triggered it.
Alcohol, being tired, being on my phone all day, tough cycling etc etc.
I very rarely have many negative thoughts now, I’ve learned so much about the power of positive thinking and the benefits of having a great mental attitude that I very rarely get negative thoughts, I’m training my mind every day to think more positively than negatively.
These thoughts usually only appear at night very late when I’m tired or after a long day cycling.
My best way of dealing with them is not acting on them, just going to bed and seeing how I feel when I wake up.
To this day, I’ve never yet woke up with any of the negative thoughts I went to bed with.
I wake up in an amazing mood, ready to enjoy my day and just have a little laugh to myself about my tired self the night before.
Again even saying to myself outloud,
“aw Josh, you should have heard yourself last night, ya crabbit wee shite”