I caught myself going down a rabbit hole again just now. 

I don’t subscribe to Apple News, but I get on it almost daily and look at the headlines. And before I know it, I’m deep into an article that just moments before I wouldn’t have even known to be interested in.

This time it was a headline about massive bird deaths in New York City, and without even thinking, I clicked on it and spent 10 minutes reading that article, and then I searched out another to see if I could get more information. 

Now, here’s the deal. I cannot do anything about the bird deaths in New York City. It’s sad but true. This information is well outside of my circle of influence. But I was 10 minutes in and having all kinds of feelings before I realized what I was doing. 

I was sad, upset, angry, and concerned.

I had let the headline distract me from what I needed to be doing – writing this content, if you must know. 

I only realized what I was doing when I could feel my shoulders grazing the bottom of my earlobes, and my body felt tied up. I closed my browser window, stood up, got some water, and returned to my computer. 

But it took a while for me to settle back into writing. 

And then I thought, isn’t that what we do all day long? We allow headlines to pop into our head, and we click on them and go down the rabbit hole. 

Headline: “You’re never going to lose that weight.” 

Story: “Well into middle age, you’re still carrying extra weight, and yes, you like to call yourself muscular, but you also have a nice layer of the squishy stuff. And didn’t you just eat three Trader Joes Mint Ice Cream sandwiches? That’s not going to help….and on, and on.” 

Just like the news, our thought headlines are constantly trying to get our attention with negativity. We always pay attention to the negative stuff. 

And then, we fill in the story to the headline.

So what can we do when we get a mental headline that begs for our attention. Well, just like the internet, we can see it for what it is—a diversion from the more important things we need to do. 

We can ask ourselves, is this what I want to spend my time thinking about? If the answer is no, disrupt the pattern – go outside, do ten jumping jacks, put on some music and dance, or play with your dog. 

If you get on any news source, we are bombarded with negative news. We don’t have to feed ourselves that same negativity by clicking on our mental headlines. Imagine letting yourself scroll past it to the headlines that make you feel good. 

Headline: “You just finished the newsletter like a rockstar!” 

Give yourself some better headlines.