I grew up in a hot country where fresh produce was not always readily available. Not only was having a fridge was a necessity, but a chest freezer as well where we could store seasonal consumable for a later use. Later, when I was older, moved to the UK and lived on my own. So, the concept of “putting things in the freezer” came naturally to my mind when faced with a situation or a problem that I could not instantly resolve.
I used to tell myself: “right, problem, you’re going into the freezer!” To my mind, I did not surrender, but postponed dealing with it until I was refreshed and ready. But how did I refresh myself? I simply chose to do things that I enjoyed doing, such as watching a favourite programme, practicing a hobby, or going for a walk to distract my mind from the pressure of the issue that was weighing down on my mind.
If you like, freezing the pressure momentarily, allowed my mind to relax; and doing something that I enjoyed, allowed me to feel better and refresh my mind. Afterwards, I seemed to have some clarity of vision.
If you like, while temporarily side-stepping a dead-end situation, “side vision” has helped me to view it differently – it gave me a different perspective. Do you remember a time when you might have been so focused while watching TV, or reading a newspaper, and you were still were attuned to your surroundings through your peripheral or side vision?
In a practical way, I found out that sometimes by changing focus, and not looking at a problem forcibly and directly, I was able to help my mind solve a conundrum.
And so can you. Literally drop your problems temporarily for a day or two, “put them in the freezer”, and tell yourself “I may not know the answer now, but I will later” then distract yourself by getting up and doing something completely different preferably engaging in a more enjoyable activity such as the physical task that would require your undivided attention.
It can be anything, like cooking, solving a crossword or a jigsaw puzzle, Sudoku, gardening, or anything that would demand your focus and allow you to forget about your problem for the time being. Personally, I tend to watch a light-hearted comedy or a crime thriller, or making chutney! That seems to do the trick for me.
Practising going into a different mind-set, shedding all the worries and emotional baggage, your mind can travel worry-free and light. By the time you finish your enjoyable task, you will find that you are more relaxed, and therefore can be more objective.
Also, when you are less-emotionally charged, you will find that your mind will be more flexible, as you allow insights to flow in. Gradually, you will stop digging a deeper hole for your mind, and stop spiralling down the rabbit hole all together.
What you would have taught yourself, is to take command over you mind, and to release the pressure and the inherent inflexibility that comes with having to resolve something immediately, when all that you were doing is repeating the same old futile thought process; and see things form a different perspective by releasing the pressure of finding the answer instantly!