Friday, 23 September 2011

For Peace of Mind

Perhaps the greatest wisdom I have come across is how to simply and easily achieve peace of mind by focusing on the present.

Yes, there is and will always be pain in this world but if we choose to focus on the negative consequences of pain and not on taking action to achieve the best possible outcome then we will be overcome with anxiety, anger or depression.

According to experts, when we are anxious, we lose intellectual control and our 7-year-old emotional mind takes over - Not great for resolving adult problems and issues.

From my previous blogs you will know that when we create negative thought patterns through negative introspection about the past - i.e. 'I should not have done x, I should have done y, I should have said x, I should not have said y' - or negatively forecasting the future - i.e.'That will not go well, I will fail, I will not have enough time etc.' - we become anxious because our minds do not distinguish between our thoughts and reality.

It makes sense then to think about happy memories when we reflect on the past and - when planning the future - if we choose to predict outcomes to predict positive ones.

This way we avoid anxiety and stay in intellectual control, behaving in a way synonymous with our real adult age.

I tell clients that if this is too difficult then avoid thinking about the past or - if possible - thinking about it 'being as it should be' and factually.

In terms of the future, by all means plan but avoid negative forecasting outcomes - 'If I start dating again I will get hurt again' or 'If I take on that project I will fail'.

By all means take action to mitigate getting hurt - by taking things slowly for example - or to prevent project failure such as proper planning and stakeholder consultation.

It's the same with negative thoughts - we all have them but if you are smart you won't analyse them because it's by analysing negative thoughts that we create anxiety.

This all leads to a really obvious idea that by focusing more on the present, being in the now and mindful, will create greater peace of mind than trying to master good mental habits in relation to the past and the future.

Generally, we do not worry about today. We worry about past actions and future behaviours and issues.

By imagining that you have only today, there is far less scope for angst. By all means plan tomorrow and leave it at that.

We are only ever truly alive in the present and we do not have a crystal ball. Most of the things we worry about never happen anyway.

So enjoy right now and - if you are not enjoying today - take steps to enjoy it more such as incorporating things you love doing into your day and - if possible - finding work that you do enjoy.

I hope that blog creates new insights and that whatever your situation you are able to incorporate some of these ideas into your daily life.

If you would like to know more please visit our website at West of England Coaching and Counselling and get in touch.

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