Mind Management: How to Deal When Your Thoughts Wreak Havoc on your Emotions
If you read the last post about Feeling the Feels, you were probably waiting for the instructions on how to manage your mind as promised.
When we think a fearful thought, a cascade of biochemicals send information into the body that something bad is happening. Our survival mode kicks in and we become extremely reactive and amped up, or frozen and numb in order to deal with the perceived threat. So, what if the threat is merely in your mind? A measly thought, and then the uncontrollable dread of that thought becoming reality, aka a worry. Worrying, can ruin your relationship to reality. It does not prepare you to deal with potential problems, it weakens you, and robs you of the present moment ability to deal with things as they come. Worrying thoughts can create un-tamable emotions. This is why I am explaining this in 2 parts. Emotions alone are meant to move, and have an intelligence to them that is as intrinsic as our beating heart and automatic breath.
When the mind interferes, and adds interpretations and worry to the natural emotional process, then we get stuck in tricky land. We get stuck in the Mind.
“My research has shown me that when emotions are expressed-which is to say that the biochemicals that are the substrate of emotion are flowing freely-all systems are united and made whole. When emotions are repressed, denied, not allowed to be whatever they may be, our network pathways get blocked, stopping the flow of the vital feel-good, unifying chemicals that run both our biology and our behavior.” – Candace Pert
What is your Mind?
For these purposes, we will be discussing your left-cognitive mind. This is where our logical thinking comes from. When it comes to grocery shopping, and telling time, and putting on pants in the morning, this is an amazing intelligence to have. However, processing emotions and feeling deep satisfaction and fulfillment, this is for our heart and our deeper self, our Essence. Some might call this the soul, but it is simply the animating, intelligent energy that our left-cognitive mind was never meant to understand, let alone take a leadership role in.
When we lead from our mind only, we are always on a scaffolding that could collapse any moment, and our body then is on edge, and we are cut off from the present moment where our spiritual intelligence lives.
What are Thoughts?
Thoughts are not always yours. Isn’t that neat? If you were to suddenly start judging the woman in the line at the grocery store, completely out of nowhere, and not true to your nature, this is an example of thoughts simply passing through. Think of it as a thought radio wave, where all the thoughts people think are just floating around in the air until a receiver picks up the information. Then, you as the receiver, simply were picking up on random, thought-data. You do not need to think you are a bad person, or anything like that. Just don’t take thoughts personally, ever. They are meant to be used and focused not run around like untrained puppies going bonkers.
Is your head hurting by trying to understand this?
Because from confusion comes change. We change when we step into the unknown. We simply do what everyone else does as a default. Perhaps with skyrocketing numbers of people dealing with depression and anxiety, we might want to try some new tactics.
Did you know two year olds will often take their poo back out from the toilet because it’s their poo, and they don’t want to let it go?
Well, we do that with our poopy thoughts.
We somehow keep marinating in poopy thoughts because we think this will help in the long run. Well, no. That’s the short answer. Letting certain thoughts go, managing them to much less air-time in your brain, will allow you to have the clear space your brain/mind was always meant to have.
Can you imagine having the radio, TV, YouTube, Podcasts, and everything on all at once just in case you miss something?
That is what an untrained mind turns into. Layers, upon layers of untamed thoughts running amuck and robbing you of energy and presence.
“To know yourself as the Being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” – Eckhart Tolle
Managing your mind does not have to be hard, but it will be frustrating in the beginning. Start by simply writing down all your thoughts, I call this a Brain-Dump. Just write, do not censor yourself, do not worry about grammar or legibility. Write it out, let it go onto the page.
When you really stop and look at your thoughts like that, your inner witness, your presence can take some space back. And this is what you want, because this is the intelligence of you and life itself taking over for you. “You” can then let your own inner intelligence take the wheel, and direct your life. The fearful thoughts eventually learn to calm down and not get so amped up. You are simply trying to survive and not get hurt, have compassion for yourself and this process.
Managing your mind simply means watching and questioning your thoughts. Pausing, paying attention, then acting accordingly to your next intelligent instruction, or letting something go entirely because there is nothing to do but love it and let it go. For centuries this same process has been taught to humans, it is also called contemplation or active meditation.
The mind thinks it need to control everything, but it was not meant to. Consider if you were in control of digesting your food and dividing cells? Talk about overwhelming! But, it is not your job to do those things. You are here, as a marvel of creative intelligence living as you, as a human, as your unique personality experiencing the world. Life has an expiry date, and I believe we were not created to freak out all the time, and worry, and be busy, and try not to die, only to eventually die anyways. What about living?
What if you directed your thoughts to increasing LIFE, rather than fearing pain?
You can reverse worry, and feel emotions of expectation and enthusiasm by picturing things working you in the future, rather than fearfully preparing for every possible threat all the time. Our mind is amazing when we let it be. It was never meant to figure everything out and hyper-vigilantly consider every threat. Our deeper, integrated intelligence does that for us all the time, some call it instinct or intuition. We just forgot. Or we forgot how to trust our intuition and instinct. Managing your mind will calm your emotions and allow yourself the space and presence to really be here, as you, living life.
And that’s all anyone ever really wants in the long run.
Try it out. The discomfort of trying something new is totally worth the benefit of freeing yourself from a mucky, poopy-thought, untamed mind.