Our Mind is an Excellent Servant but a Terrible Master
This old quote is spot on. When we move through our day reacting moment to moment, we are operating from the subconscious that keeps us resistant to change and fearful of failure. Symptoms can include irritation, anxiety, victim thinking, loneliness and a lack of self-confidence. We follow around our thoughts like an ever-changing mini drama in our own heads. It starts with a single thought or interaction that leads to elaborate re-creations of always or never scenarios. We are not in control of our thinking but rather follow obediently on what road our mind leads us. Our mind is being put in the master position of dictating thoughts that produce stress and fear. This in turn produces the physical response to both because our minds and bodies don’t know the difference between real and fantasy thinking.
Is your Thought Really Happening?
When anxiety comes up, it is important to gain the attention of your mind. “Is this happening right now?” No. Return to the room. Touch and name furniture in your mind to really orient back to the present moment. Make a new thought choice. This is a way to move your mind to where you want it to go. This puts the mind back into the servant role. The mind is like a never tiring dog in a game of fetch. You can either throw the ball without end because that is what your mind demands or you can put the ball on the shelf, command the mind to sit, and then give it a new directive to follow.
I Can Choose Again
A new thought choice can be to remember your goal. What is your goal in this moment? To do what? To think about what? To feel what? Direct your mind to those answers and you begin to master control over your thinking. We can begin again and again in the moment. For me, it looks like catching myself mid-worry and pulling out of the fantasy. I notice my increased heart rate, a tightness in my stomach. Then I breathe. What I was imagining is not happening. Return. I can choose again in the new moment where I want my focus to be. Every moment offers this freedom.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is simply the ability to be fully aware and engaged in the moment. It is directing all thoughts to the present moment. The helpful thing about increasing mindfulness is that we can achieve more and experience a higher level of well-being by activating our minds to notice what is happening. In turn, mindfulness can help regulate poor mental habits by moving from worry, fear, and judgement, to a curiosity for what is happening. Check out these 2-minute explanations on mindfulness:
Need help getting in touch with your mind and body? Box breathing is an easy technique to connect with the breath and thoughts by directing the mind to regulate breathing in a box format. It is possible to calm the mind by calming the body.
Need to take a quick calm down? Try breath work to elongate your exhale: If you need a calming moment, inhale 4/exhale 5 or 6. The letting go breath calms the vagus nerve.
Want to practice breathing? Check out Insight timer, a free app that has guided meditations. Practice 2 minutes of calm breathing and focus 2x a day. It is free to install on your phone:
Meditation: Follow the breath with your eyes closed and in the posture for box breathing. Success is calling the mind back to the breath when it wanders. You can choose to focus on the breath or another sense for 2 minutes. The success of this is calling the mind back to focus on what you tell it to focus on.
Want reminders in your phone to follow the breath? Text JOIN50 to (833) 589-0365!
The great thing about learning more about ourselves, our thoughts, and our mind is that we have a lifetime of material to enjoy. Our minds are learning, growing, and thriving daily and we get the opportunity to deepen our ability to care for it with intention. If you want to understand your own habits or mind better, discuss the growth you wish to achieve in a free sample coaching session.