Is This Useful?

I lost my contact lens at the yoga studio the other night.

This might not seem like the end of the world but for me, it's a bit of an issue. Without special hard contacts I can barely see - so if you've ever seen me in a yoga class that I'm not teaching and I don't smile or wave at you, I'm not avoiding you, promise! It fell somewhere as I was taking it out of it's case, which is pretty inconvenient in a busy yoga studio on a Monday night in-between classes. People everywhere. Imagine looking for a needle in a haystack. Only it's a really expensive custom made needle that you're supposed to use everyday for a year or two. Oops.

Two of the sweet girls working the desk that night were on their hands and knees scouring the floor with me. When I explained that it wasn't a daily but a pretty special custom made lens, one of them looked at me and asked how I was being so chill about it.

I explained that the contact was already missing so there's really no use in me getting upset about it. I obviously wasn't bouncing off the walls and cheering, but it really wouldn't help my cause of trying to find the missing contact if I let myself get worked up about it. Remember - this was right after I practice - 'Zen Jenn' was out in full force.

In the end I never did find the contact lens. I went on my way, annoyed but okay.

In the moment that the contact fell, I could have freaked out. In all honesty, a part of me really wanted to. There's a question that I've been asking myself lately that stopped me from spiralling. I think you might find it helpful in your life which is why I'm sharing this whole little contact debacle.

If I find myself following a train of thought that might not make me feel good or I'm feeling triggered to react like I was the other night, I simply ask:

IS THIS USEFUL?

It's an instant reality check. I have Dan Harris, author of the book and podcast 10% Happier, to thank for it. He brought up the importance of asking this question whenever you find yourself lost in thought or getting dragged around by that voice in your head. There are countless situations where the simple answer to the question is NO. 

How many times in your life have you gotten into your head and made life way harder than it has to be? How many times have you reacted to something or someone in a way you shouldn't have and made the situation way worse? How many times have you let that inner dialogue get you down about yourself or your life on what otherwise could have been a good day?

There are things in life to worry about.
A lot of what we waste our energy on doesn't fall into that category. 
There are things in life to get upset about. 
A replaceable - and expensive ugh - contact lens is not one of them. 

The next time you find yourself spiralling down the rabbit hole of negative thinking or reactivity, ask yourself the simple question: is this useful? If the answer is no, move - or think - in a different direction.