Overcoming mental imbalances
5 Ways in which mindfulness can help us overcome mental imbalances
Improve emotional awareness – Mindfulness encourages us to notice how we are feeling. Once we can notice those sensations within our body and recognise how we feel we are able to put some distance between them and our reaction. That pause is enough for us to respond in a more constructive way rather than unconsciously being reactive.
Break negative thought patterns - Our brains work experientially, so if we have had a negative experience of being interviewed for a job for example, our brain will prepare the body for the same potential danger at the next interview. So, overwhelming fears of rejection, humiliation, shame etc, leaving us unable to communicate our success, our positive contributions, our attributes that make us perfect for the job in question. This allows a window of opportunity for self doubt and negative self talk to creep in, eventually putting us off even attempting to apply for future jobs. Catastrophising the future usually results in negative outcomes. Mindfulness helps to break those cycles. By taking time to examine irrational thoughts, we are empowered to have control over them, not allowing ourselves to beat ourselves up so viciously.
Help to focus living in the present – more than ever before our modern world is taking its toll on us. For many of us we are juggling family life, work, school, exercise routines, shopping, celebrations all under the same roof – our homes. Our minds are constantly being pulled from one meeting to making a family dinner, back to writing a report and doing the laundry. It’s exhausting just writing about it. Mindfulness can help keep us grounded present and connected to what each moment has to offer us. We can only do one thing at a time and to do it well we have to be fully present.
Reduce over thinking about the future – when we take a moment to calm the breath, the mind will follow. As we over think stressful events coming up such as exams, tests, going back to work after lockdown or future uncomfortable meetings, it can be hugely overwhelming. If we can take time to ground ourselves in the moment, to bring awareness to those overwhelming sensations allowing them to dissipate. By reducing tension within our body and signalling the brain that we are safe allows our thinking cognitive brain to stay online, we remain conscious and aware, which enables us to fully connect to the present moment without panic derailing us.
Hijack rumination over past events - Mindfulness reminds us that we can put some distance between us and our thoughts. When we gain a sense of being separate to our over thinking, when we can observe it instead of being controlled by it, we can then make a choice. We can observe our mental chatter watch how it comes and goes, know that nothing will last forever and each moment only has a fleeting presence. As we chose to let go of those consuming and relentless thoughts of regret, hostility, defence and self sacrifice, we are giving ourselves the peace we deserve to live a happier life.