The mind is a most powerful resource but yet it can also be the source of torment and pain. After all, it is the meaning we make of things that causes us distress. And overthinking is a common enough cause of stress and anxiety. Commonly when we are overthinking, the mind just adds fuel to our problems and does not allow us to access other internal resources such as intuition and creative problem solving. So, how to stop this feedback loop of perpetual thoughts that can tie us in knots?
Mindfulness is a well-accepted antidote to the stress and anxiety of too much thinking. It is being used in hospital settings and educational institutions world-wide. Even business has cottoned on to the power of mindfulness. Ironically, the term, although using the word ‘mind’ refers to whole heartedness and embodying breath with our entire being. It offers us the capacity to bring awareness and attention to our experience without being caught up in judgments of our experience.
Cultivating this quality of beingness helps us develop the capacity for presence which includes all of our experience not just our thoughts. We are multi sensorial and when we develop our capacity to tune into our bodies we can be more grounded, more centered and often feel more energy and a greater sense of aliveness. Joy springs up from inside spontaneously. It’s not like our thoughts disappear but rather they lessen their grip and we learn that we are more than the sum total of our thoughts.
Mindfulness is best cultivated with regular practice. There are apps and courses available to assist. The practice of meditation is nearly always the best way to become more mindful. But mindfulness is not only on the cushion. We can use it in our daily life, moment to moment. Just stop right now and notice what is going on around you and take a moment to sense inwards. Pause and notice your breath as it rises and falls. It may be shallow or deep. You may notice your thoughts too, the goal is not to stop thinking, but to sense into the space around your thoughts. We are more than just the sum of our thoughts. Reality offers us a sense of groundedness which we can become attuned to over time. The practice of mindfulness is a powerful way to slow down the mind and is a reminder to come back to the breath again and again. Pause, notice, breathe….
(My book Mindful Relationships is coming out soon, watch this space!)
Read the rest of the article here.