Every day we each have an average of 17,000 thoughts
How do we manage that amount of mind traffic?
How do you manage your mind?
Most of the time we’re carried along by the force of emotions, habits and conditioning.
When good things happen, we’re too busy to fully enjoy them and are rushing on to the next moment. When challenging things happen, we often react in a knee-jerk way and this elicits the body’s stress response.
We may then stay stressed for much of the day as we repeat the same frantic reactions.
Do you recognise some of this? If so, how can you do things differently?
How can you choose a more balanced and calm way through your day and manage your mind?
Red light! Stop!
Developing a mindful approach is the key. It gives you the ability to open up spaciousness in your mind and breathe a second’s awareness into your behaviour.
It’s like stopping at a red light. If you were on the verge of getting caught up in worry and anxiety, this awareness helps you to stop the stories unravelling.
You get to notice that it’s a story you’re building up, using past experiences and your current inner critic voice.
You can choose how to respond. You can direct your thoughts! You can manage your mind.
It takes a lot of practice to unlearn these habitual pathways that your brain is so used to taking. Yet it’s incredibly empowering.
You start to bring a more stable and calm approach to your life. It feels like you’re more in charge. You are in the driving seat!
You may have an automatic car that changes gears for you or you may use cruise control when on the motorway.
Our minds, too, have the tendency to go straight to auto-pilot. While this may be great for some of what we do, it also means we may well overlook more of life’s experiences than we realise.
Take a look around you right now, and see if you can identify amazing and fabulous things right within your eye-line now! This kind of awareness can be key to your happiness.
How do I know?
I practice mindfulness and meditation, and I find it particularly useful for managing the negative self-talk that can spiral out of hand.
And I hear from the people I teach mindfulness to. They enjoy the relaxing sessions and we always make time for sharing questions.
One participant has said that it has been a positive life-changer, another says she now finds inspiration around her every day. Others are using mindfulness tips to deal with busy daily commutes, chronic daily pain, anxiety attacks and the numerous responsibilities of being a parent with young children.
Each and every one of us has a mind busy with its own specific traffic – daily worries and strains, health issues, family concerns, financial clouds hanging over us and relationship difficulties to name a few!
By learning to manage the mind’s thoughts more effectively with a mindful approach it can feel like a weight is lifted from our shoulders.
It gives you the tools to deal beautifully with a myriad of potentially stressful situations. This is why I love implementing and teaching mindfulness!
Books and Mindfulness
If you are looking to learn more about mindfulness, it may be worth dipping into a book or two!
There are numerous books out there, and some of the best easy-to-read introductions include:
- Andy Puddicombe’s ‘Get Some Headspace’
- Jon Kabat-Zinn’s ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are’
- Thich Nhat Hanh’s ‘Peace is Every Step’
See also Books on Mindfulness and Meditation.
And if you are looking for some really simple inspiration, I have written a few little pocket books ideal for keeping by your bedside and dipping into, including:
Mindfulness for Mums
And last, but not least, watch your speed!
Slow down and take charge.