I closed my eyes.
It really worked.
Yesterday I was at the gym using a cross-trainer/elliptical (whatever they’re called). In line with my usual routine I checked the timer on the machine every 15 seconds, wondering why it was taking so long for the minutes to pass.
This is not good. I’m already impatient. Watching a slow-moving clock doesn’t help.
My mind did it’s best to convince me to cut my exercise session short. According to my mind, the gym is boring and/or I have more important things to do. And anyway, it was taking soooo long.
So I decided I wasn’t going to let myself look at the clock for at least five minutes. This is a pretty regular tactic I use (with varying results) to control my monkey mind.
I tried averting my eyes, but they kept falling onto the clock.
So I closed my eyes.
I’ve seen people cover the screens on their machines with a towel before – that’s good too…
…But closing my eyes was different. Closing my eyes made it easier to drift more deeply into my thoughts without being distracted by whatever person, car, bird moved in front of me.
Seven minutes passed without looking at the clock! After the first seven minutes, my eyes went a little bit rogue and opened a few times without my consent. Never mind, I just closed them again.
30 minutes on the machine passed in what felt like half the time.
I’m converted to closed-eye exercise.
* Don’t try this on just any old cardio machine. Most rely on some hand-eye coordination (I’m guessing that bad things happen on a treadmill if you close your eyes – unless you hold on to the rail). The elliptical machine controls your body’s movements enough that you don’t need your eyes to help you along.
* You look weird – kind of like people who close their eyes during prayers at school. But you’re doing your exercise on a machine so you already look pretty silly. (Actually, I was listening to a song with lots of drumming and started weirdly swaying my head to the music. I’m embracing being that weird person at the gym now.)