“Stop the Hangovers!” by Alejandra Morisi

As most people do, I took a bar prep course to get ready for the bar exam. The exam is two days long and, on the second day, you take a 100 multiple choice question test in 3 hours. When we practiced the multiple-choice test during the prep course, it was all about time. The math had been done for us. We had 1.8 minutes per question. 1.8 minutes to read, analyze, and deduce the correct answer. That’s it! And then, you moved on. You had to! And here’s what the bar prep course guy used to tell us, “NO QUESTION HANGOVERS!”

This meant that when the 1.8 minutes were up, you were done with the question. You did not think about it anymore. You did not dwell and still try to figure it out or second guess the answer you picked. There was no time for that! You had to move on and give your attention to the next question. You see, if you did not do that, you would set yourself up to fail because there were still so many questions left. This takes mental and emotional discipline.

This is one of the most valuable things I learned from that time. How many times have I gotten in my own way by not moving on once something was done and out of my control? I am so good at replaying things over and over in my head—especially if they prove how much I suck at something. But that “hangover” takes over my present and the things that I CAN control. What’s in the past is in the past, even if the past was 2 minutes ago. I can’t do anything about that. But I can control what happens next.

I think about it now when I’m at the gym and I am sure it shows up in other areas, too. The minute something throws us off, it gets in our heads. We dwell on it. We willingly lease our head space to this noise. And then it seeps into the next thing that we do.

I think this has everything to do with our emotions. We are emotional about it in a way that we cannot let go of that moment. Have you ever seen toddlers be sad one minute and then immediately be happy? That’s how I want to experience moments in my life. I want to feel the emotion from that one missed lift, miserable run, disappointing performance and then I want to move on ASAP! Because you never know what can happen! You can turn shit around! You can finish strong when you started horribly!

Why does one day when you can’t make it to the gym mean that the whole week is messed up so you stop altogether? Why does missing one lift mean that the entire WOD is done for? Why does having a “cheat” meal mean your entire diet is fucked up? Because you allow the hangover to linger. That’s not what those things mean. But you make them mean that in the end.

One thing does not have bearing on the next. You and your emotions are the only connecting link.

These hangovers sabotage your present. They create self-fulfilling prophecies about your insecurities. When I have a hangover from something at the gym, I start moving differently. It’s less efficient, probably has less energy. I get weird! And then this weirdness has me perform in a weird way and then I miss even more lifts or I move even slower or whatever a sucky performance looks like at the moment. I affect the entire thing. Me! And then I get to be right about my insecurities.

Let’s take a powerful stance with this. I am not a victim to my emotions. They don’t get to run the show.

Let’s acknowledge moments as they happen, step back and move on. We can take a deep breath and seize the new moment. We can stay curious and acknowledge how we feel and just stay open to what can happen if we shift our attitudes. Let’s control what we can control.

We can stop the hangovers.