Author: admin

Maintaining a positive mindset

I won’t be the first person or the last to beat myself up inside for something I’ve done ‘wrong’.  Being a perfectionist by nature, when I decide to do something I do it properly, and it gets everything I have to give it.  This quality has two sides to it. On the one hand I achieve what I set out to do and I always do it well. On the other hand, however, I find myself not living up to the high expectations I’ve created, and feel as though I’ve made a mistake.

I’m sure you have experienced similar instances in your life. These can be everyday things such as saying the wrong thing to a friend in their time of need, or feeling as though you messed up a homework task because your mind was elsewhere. Perhaps you were too tired to give it your all as you’d had a busy week.

What I’ve found for me and from speaking to others, is that these moments should be used for us to learn more about ourselves and how we can do things better in the future.  A technique that works for me is to write down two lists as soon as possible after the event.  On the first one, jot down a list of all the positives about the situation. On the second, compile a list of what you can change or do, so that the situation either doesn’t occur again, or you handle it better next time round.

#Life Lessons

Here’s a recent example from my life where I initially began giving myself a hard time over something I’d done:

Over the last couple of years, I’ve learnt to sing and I’ve been going to open mic nights to improve my public performance skills.  I had a number of songs I was quite comfortable performing, even with a musician I didn’t regularly play with. I was really happy with how confident I was becoming performing live.

Then one day I got a bit too cocksure of myself as I’d noticed my vocal range had increased and I could sing ‘Handbags and Gladrags’ in a higher key than I could before.  So instead of becoming a little more practiced at it, I decided to ‘go live’ with it at the next open mic night I attended.  I fluffed a few parts that I normally would’ve sailed through and began to beat myself up over these because they were schoolboy errors and I knew I was better than this.

Being too tired to put my lists together that night at home, I made them the following morning.  In hindsight, I realised I’d actually sung most of it really well, but there were a couple of parts that I could’ve performed better. After reading the lists back to myself, I realised there were plenty of positives to be taken from the experience. This was all part of the learning process towards becoming a better performer. The realisation lifted my mood and I felt ready to continue learning once again.

The quicker you can switch your inner state to that of a positive one, the better day you will have, the better actions you will take, the better decisions you will make, and the more pro-active you will be in achieving whatever you set out to do.  Your inner self talk is the driving force that will either keep you rooted where you are or move you forwards to where you want to be.

This sounds ‘cliché’, but it is your choice what you hold on to inside, so always look for the good and hold on to that, as it will benefit you far more than the bad.

If you’re interested to see how my coaching can help you find a better way to maintain a positive mindset, contact me now for a free and friendly chat.

Tim

Finding your natural talent…

“Eventually over time we all become our own doppelgangers.  These completely different people who just happen to look like us.”

Ted Mosby (How I met your mother)

There was a time that seems so far away from the person I am today that it almost feels like it wasn’t me.  This is deep, but it feels like I’ve been given a second life to live how I was supposed to have spent the first one.

You know that feeling when you find that thing you were born to do because it comes so naturally to you? For example, I had friends who were unquestionably gifted artists, musicians, singers, and some that were such adept salespeople, they could sell a rickety old barn door to a millionaire. 

I, on the other hand, could never find my natural skill.  I played guitar in a band for many years. It was basically my life, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Yet, I wasn’t naturally good at it.  I had to work really hard to get to a standard that was good enough to be in a band.  This is a virtue in its own right though, as my adventures in the band proved: Hard work will get you places…

No, it wasn’t until much later on that I found my natural talent.  The funny thing is, it was always there, hiding in plain sight. And if I was aware of it at times, it never occurred to me that I could make a career from it.

My special talent was people – I love them, I get on with them effortlessly, and I really value having good relationships in my life.  But it was a long time after my guitar slinging years that I realised this, when training to become a life coach, and although this was intense, for the first time in my life I’d found something that came naturally to me.  It was a light bulb moment, and I realised that this is what it must be like for all those other people when they’re in their groove – It felt great!

I’m writing this post to highlight that I was in my thirties before discovering this. I stumbled upon a couple of other gifts later on too. For example, it turns out I’m a far more naturally gifted singer than I ever was a guitarist, and I can string a word or two together too!

So, if you’re struggling to decide what path to follow, don’t worry.  There’s plenty of time and you’ll find your way if you’re determined enough.

An exercise I use when coaching is ‘20 things I love to do’.  All you do here is to write a list of all the activities you enjoy. Anything counts. 20 is just a guide.  Keep going until you completely run out of ideas, and then read back over your list and see what comes up for you.

One important thing to point out here is to be open to following what you love doing rather than what you perceive others may think is best for you. Trust me on this.

If you feel you need some help in finding what it is you’re best placed to do in life, then contact me for a free and friendly chat.

Tim

Social media’s effect on our sense of well-being

student feeling low looking at social media, student life, uni life, stress, anxiety,

The effects of social media on a person’s mental health or their general sense of well-being is becoming more and more publicised of late.  So I thought I would write about it here in the hope that people will connect with my experiences, and become more aware of how social media can change their mood throughout the day.

I’ll start back when I would say I was ‘addicted’ to social media, or to be more specific Facebook.  I remember that after posting an update or a profile picture change etc. I would feel constantly drawn to check it to see how many likes/comments I’d received.

It would be fair to say that my mood in the moment was, to a large degree, a result of how my latest post was doing on Facebook.  So if my expectations of a post weren’t met I’d feel a sense of lowness, almost like a mild feeling of ‘nobody likes me’, and question people’s reasons for not interacting.

Similarly if I spent too much time looking at what other people were up to it gave me a sense of lack inside, like my life wasn’t enough.  This occurred for no other reason than I was being bombarded with the daily achievements of 10’s, and if I scrolled for long enough, probably 100+ people.  How can one person match the achievements of many?  But in the moment rationality isn’t present and these feelings were created.

After so long, and I can’t remember how I became aware of Facebook’s effect on me, I realised that I needed to change my approach to using it.  I didn’t want to stop using it altogether, after all it’s a great way to catch up with people and see what your friends are up to.

So my first move was to have some time off completely and go ‘cold turkey’.  After a month or so I started using Facebook again, but just messenger to stay in touch with people.  Then I set up all the positive quote pages etc. that I followed, to come up first on my newsfeed so I was always greeted with posts that made me feel good (not that I’m not happy to see what my friends are up to, but it’s the bombarding effect that Facebook has that has the negative effect on me).

After all: We are finite people living in a world that is fast becoming infinite with information, and we need to control our intake for the sake of our own well-being.

I still like to see what my friends are up to, and as I said before Facebook is such a good way to do this.  So I will scroll the feed on the odd occasion these days, but only if I’m feeling particularly strong that day, and if I begin to feel any adverse effects I will just come straight off.

Nothing is worth losing your sense of well-being for…

If there’s anything you want to talk about, fix or change in your life, whether that may be stress/anxiety or anything else that you may have going on, contact me now for a free and friendly chat.

Tim

Making mountains out of molehills

As I’ve mentioned in other posts our minds quite like to know things, to work things out, to know how something is going to be, even if there’s no reason for this knowing.  They like to be active, and this is being quite polite to the mind.

Sometimes this activity can turn in to obsessive thought processes, that allowed to run can very easily

‘Make a mountain out of a molehill’.

I feel that this is an apt dictionary definition of overthinking:

“The art of creating problems that weren’t there to begin with”

Now, here’s where it gets interesting.  To the overthinking mind that is creating these problems, the problems are very real, as real as if they are actually happening.  Because as the mind forward thinks about a future scenario, if left to it’s own devices, is highly likely to place a person in a future that is worse than where they are now.  Also any emotions connected with this future ‘negative’ scenario will become real as a result of these thought processes.

A person on the outside looking in, may find it hard to see what the fuss is about, as they aren’t having the future thoughts and from their perspective have complete clarity.  For them it is easy to see that there is no real problem to solve. 

I have experienced this situation numerous times, from both the over thinker’s perspective, and from the perspective of the outsider looking in.  So I got to see how the mind plays it’s game from both a retrospective view, looking back at a time when my mind had more of a tendency to create problems, and in the moment when seeing it happen in another.

I remember back when my mind would latch on to something and blow it out of all proportions, and although my girlfriend at the time would try to get me to see sense, I never listened, as to me it was real.

“Well is it them or me,
well I just can’t see,
but there ain’t no peace to be found”

W.Axl Rose

If your mind has a habit of blowing things beyond what they actually are, you can learn to change this.  There will be signs that your body gives you to tell you when it’s happening.  These may be feelings of anxiety, worry, or you may notice your mind speeds up at these times.  Whatever it is, you can learn to act on these signs and change what happens next, rather than going with the flow of the mind.

If you connect with what I’ve written here, what do you feel just before your mind becomes obsessive.  Make a list, these are your warning signs.  Then ask yourself – What can I do to stop this in it’s tracks before it becomes obsessive?

If you would like to have a free and friendly chat about how my coaching can help you better deal with this, or anything else you may want to talk about, click here.

How to keep feeling good

Goals are something that we are always moving towards in life and these can be as small as getting to work on time or as large as moving to another country.  The smaller ones in life are automatic almost, in that we don’t think of them as goals, we just do them; like getting to work on time.  The larger ones take a bit more time and commitment to achieve, and in achieving these we can sometimes feel like we’re treading water or even moving backwards.

The treadmill of life can let us feel like we’re moving forwards, but in actual fact we’re going nowhere fast.  We’re treading the water of life and using a lot of energy to stay where we are.  So how can this energy be used to our advantage so we can start to see results, or at least feel better about where it is we’re going.

Something that I would say we are quick to overlook in striving for our goals in life is our sense of well-being, and it is this, that in the end will be the deciding factor in whether or not we get to where we want to be, or at least get there happily.

It’s easy to see something we want like a degree or masters in education, a car, a holiday, a new job, the body composition we want, or anything else we can physically see.  But it can be easy to dismiss or brush our sense of well-being to one side in our quest for these more visible things.

Taking the time to address our sense of well-being and keeping it on a high is vital in keeping ourselves happy on a day to day basis, and once happy we will naturally be more inclined to act on achieving what we want from life.

There are four areas that I have put together in an exercise called ‘The Four Leaf Clover’ which if you keep on top of each, will help you to build a strong foundation within yourself to achieve your goals.

Exercise               Socialise              Re-energise       Doing what you love

I’ve found that if a person is feeling a little low or down for no apparent reason, then there’s a good chance that they have let 2 or more of these areas slip.

We all know the benefits that come with regular exercise that raises your heart rate above resting, as it releases feel good endorphins that can have a knock on effect for hours afterwards and even in to the next day.

Socialising with friends and family that are supportive, make you laugh and feel good has also been shown to have feel-good benefits beyond the event itself.

Re-energising is different for everyone.  This is about taking time out from life to do something that allows you to completely relax and re-charge your batteries. What is it for you?

And finally what you love to do is such a game changer when it comes to living a happy and productive life.

I have a story to show the power of this final one.  I picked this up from one of Jack Canfield’s talks recently:

Jack, when speaking about a similar topic to an audience, was asked by a lady how she can feel happy again, as she hadn’t felt this way since her husband had died.  He asked her what she loved to do and after a few moments of thought she replied with: playing the piano and painting.  He then asked her when was the last time she did either of these things, to which she replied “before her husband died”.  He then gave her his email address and asked her to make time for both of these activities over the next month and then to email him with what she’d found.

The following month the lady emailed Jack thanking him and explaining how happy she felt, and how she felt she had started to live again.

The effect that doing what you love in life has on your sense of well-being is massive… What do you love to do and how can you make time for it?

So the next time you feel down for no real reason, take the time to look at each of these areas and see what you could change to increase your sense of well-being.

If you’d like to see how my coaching can help you feel better about your life, and help you achieve what you want from it, then contact me now for a free and friendly chat.

Dealing with anxiety rather than running from it

Since a long term relationship that I came out of I have been slowly finding my way and my place in life.  I’m sure a lot of you reading this will know the heartache that accompanies parting ways from a boy- or girlfriend.  There is a sense of abandonment – a feeling of drifting in the black abyss of space, much how Elton John describes in his famous song ‘Rocket Man’

“I miss the earth so much I miss my wife
It’s lonely out in space
On such a timeless flight”

The therapist I saw during this time concurred saying “It’s like you’ve lost your anchor in life and you’re out there floating.”

So, without the benefit of the resilience I have today, in the initial life after relationship period I began to take solace in the company of others.  What I began to realise across this period is that I’d never learnt to be comfortable with me.  I went straight from living with my parents to living with my girlfriend (who later became my fiancée) so when we parted ways I struggled to live by myself, or more aptly, with myself.

I’d been experiencing anxiety/OCD for many years before this time, but I had kind of normalised it to myself – Ignorance is bliss as the saying goes.  This ‘parting of ways’ shone a well needed light on my anxiety, and as I had no immediate person to seek solace in – My Anxiety was caught in the headlights of my new found solitude, and stunned with panic, it took great pleasure in letting me know this!

So, for the first time in my life, I fully accepted that I had anxiety, and initially all I wanted to do was deal with it.  “Dealing with it” became a learning and understanding of it, which lead to my passion of learning more about us as a human race, and how we can live more peacefully as a world.

They say (and I’ve still never found out who ’they’ are 😉 ) that,

“Our greatest lessons come from our biggest challenges in life.”

and with this experience in mind, I’ve very definitely found this to be true.

In my 20’s – indulging the lifestyle that came with being in a touring band – I think it’s fair of me to say that at times I ran from my anxiety with alcohol.  Then following the end of my relationship, I ran from it by seeking consolation in the company of others.  I remember I would plan as much as possible to keep myself occupied; always dropping in to see family and friends, making sure my weekends were fully booked up, weeks and sometimes even months in advance.  This coping mechanism went on for maybe a year or so, possibly even closer to two years.

Although throughout this time I was learning to deal with my anxiety more and more, I was still relying on the company of others to a certain extent.  The experience that clinched this for me was that of travelling.  Just to clarify, it wasn’t just travelling – there were plenty of other aspects involved in my learning to deal with anxiety – but travelling was definitely a defining moment in my journey.

What made travelling such a stand out factor for me was the fact that I travelled alone.  I was booked on tours in a few of the countries that I went to, but essentially I was travelling alone.  Just me and my anxiety… When it decided to rear its head!

So the lesson I learnt here was, to quote Susan Jeffers,

“Feel the fear and do it anyway”

Which does actually work, as challenging as this can be sometimes!

So, being without my usual network of friends and family in which I would normally seek solace, I learnt the final lesson in being comfortable with myself – I did exactly what Mrs. Jeffers had advised.  I felt the fear of loneliness and did it anyway!

How this works is, the more you feel the fear and do it anyway, the more you get used to something, and soon enough that something becomes comfortable to you.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone bit by bit with any fear you have will slowly but surely cure you of your fear.

Now, I never realised this until after I came back.  I didn’t get a sudden “light-bulb moment”, I just noticed a change in myself and my behaviours on my return.  I felt a sense of ‘I’ve travelled round the world by myself, so I can achieve anything I want to!’.  What this whole journey has taught me, and this is a journey that I’m still on, as I will always continue to learn about myself, is how to be more comfortable with me and my anxiety.  I still experience anxiety now but I now know what it is, what my triggers are, and how I can best overcome it, both in the moment and in the long term.

Everyone’s triggers are different. Everyone will use different running techniques. And when the time comes for a person to firstly accept their anxiety/stress – and then learn how to better manage and overcome it – their ways to do this will also be different.

How do you deal with your anxiety? Breathing techniques, getting outside, meditation, music?  Leave your comments below!

Do you want to start bringing your anxiety under control by learning more about yourself, and also how you can achieve what you want from your time in education and life beyond this?  If so, contact me now!

Tim

Finding calm in the acceptance of not knowing

 

I was on a trip in the south of Spain, and just as I was getting ready to leave my hotel room to go out exploring, I received a text from my Mum letting me know that the company I had booked my flights through had closed down.  On receiving this text I felt an initial pang of anxiety flit in my lower stomach – the result of my mind wanting to know something it couldn’t.

My practice of present moment awareness is becoming more and more natural these days, and here was a good test for it.  I stayed in the present as much as possible, although this present moment wasn’t without my mind wanting a piece of it.  It wanted to race, it wanted to work it out, and it wanted to know what was going to happen next.  I had to catch it a few times as it thought up contingency plans to try to protect itself from the unknown.  One of these knee-jerk desires of the mind was to text work to let them know the situation and book a day off in the event I was late home.  But I didn’t know I was going to be late home, my mind was presuming without knowing – trying to know, so it had an absolute but without actually knowing.

Luckily, I recognised this early on and laughed at it slightly – but only slightly – as I’ve come to learn not to even give my mind that much attention, as to even laugh at it too much.

Before I went out for the day, I thought it best to check the website that had been set up for people abroad with cancelled flights.  On doing this, my mind was given a ‘semi-definite’, which it attempted to wallow in and make it a definite-definite!  The equivalent flight the day earlier than mine had been rescheduled to fly from Seville or Malaga (I can’t remember which) so a coach was put on from Gibraltar (my original airport) to one of the aforementioned airports, and the flight would leave at 1.30am the following morning instead of 7pm the night before.  My mind now had this ‘semi-definite’, something it could cling to in the hope of having something concrete to lean on.  I smiled again, because although this is a very plausible outcome, once again it is not definite – it is just a figment of my mind, it isn’t real.

After double-checking the bus times to the airport with staff at the hotel reception, I meditated and brought my mind to complete rest.  I’ve found that only when my mind is at complete rest can I make any real productive and informed decisions.  And although my mind was now at complete rest, it was a further hour before I was completely free of any funny feeling caused by the flight arrangements.  After this, I was completely happy – completely happy – with the unknown.

This was a sign of great achievement for me, as only five years ago this anxiety would’ve lingered with me for a lot longer than an hour, and would’ve been a lot more intense.

Recently I watched an author speak in London, and he finished his talk by saying that his greatest achievement in life, was without doubt, his ability to stop thinking.  I smiled as the goosebumps ran the length of my spine and out across my body on hearing this.  It really does put it into perspective on how great an achievement this is, when a best-selling author ranks it as his number one achievement in life.

To stop thinking, in my opinion, is the greatest achievement any human being can acquire.  To stop that train of sporadic notions that build on each other, stoking the boiler room of thoughts and increasing its velocity with every moment, is to find your place in life in each and every thing that you do.

Meditation is just my way of dealing with anxiety, each person will have their own way that works best for them.

If you’re interested to see how my coaching could help you find your way of better dealing with anxiety whilst at university, then contact me now for a free and friendly chat.

 

Tim

All we need is just a little patience

I’ve found that a peaceful life is a lot about patience.  In the past I’ve always had that natural sense of wanting things right now, or even getting that feeling of wanting something so much that you feel like you want it yesterday!  Not all the time, but usually what an absence of patience brings is discomfort to my life. This is usually coupled with a knee-jerk reaction to a situation, where had I employed a little patience, a much more resourceful and productive decision – and therefore outcome – would’ve come about.

Before I learnt the power of patience (and don’t get me wrong here, I’m human, I still get impatient, I’ve just got better at employing patience more and more in my life) I would tend to live in a state of continually wanting things or experiences I didn’t have.  My life would be completely focused on what was to come and because I wanted that thing now, there would be a feeling of discord within me until I achieved that thing.  In this instant, peace would be lost and I would spend my time running around trying to get whatever my latest desire was.  As a result, I took a lot of actions and achieved what I set out to achieve.  So in some ways, it was successful.

The question I ask myself looking back, is this – How much more enjoyable and peaceful would my life have been, had I just employed a little patience, and from there gone about the necessary actions to achieve or gain whatever it was I was ‘chasing’ at the time?  My answer is – I would’ve had a lot more enjoyment and much more peace of mind, and I know I would’ve made some wiser decisions along the way, which I believe would’ve brought about a better, and more likely, faster result.  “So, I’ve learnt to be patient with life.”

Although patience is great for peace of mind, action is needed to get a person from where they are to where they want to be.  Generally I would say, the bigger the goal the longer the time and the more personal investment it takes to achieve.  The key is to take the necessary actions, and then have patience in seeing the results emerge from these actions.  A quote from Robert Louis Stevenson captures the essence of this well:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”

A philosophy I’ve come up with to remind myself of the reason for the time something is taking to achieve, if I feel my patience waning, is this –

“For me to achieve this goal, or fulfil this want or desire I have not yet become the person I need to be to have it yet.  This is a great achievement I’m achieving and it will take time to become the person required to achieve it.  I’m in the process of becoming this person by the actions I’m taking and when the time is right I will get to where I want to be…… and here’s the insurance policy – “If that’s where I’m supposed to be.”

Bruce Lee sums this up brilliantly:

“A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”

Life can change at any given moment and therefore our experience and perspective of it can change along with this, so what we once envisioned as our goal may change slightly, or even greatly, depending on how we change from our experience of life.

All in all, whatever destination you’re travelling towards, just remember: if it’s worth achieving, then it’s worth achieving well.

How would it feel to you to employ a little patience along your road to achievement at university and in life beyond this?  If you’re interested to see how my coaching could help you do this, and achieve your goals then contact me now.

Tim

Just another brick in the wall (of resilience)

 

Each time we move outside of our comfort zone, we grow stronger.  For us to grow, we must stretch ourselves, and during this stretching process it is quite natural for us to feel uncomfortable.  We’re uncomfortable because we are stepping in to unknown territory and learning something new.  As we grow older, we tend to forget how to try new things.

“Can’t teach an old dog new tricks”

Perhaps this is because we feel more uncomfortable trying something new, as it is almost expected of an adult to already know how.  So, as a student you have ‘The World’ on your side – you’re young and no one will question you if you decide to try out something new.

Each time you try something new, whether you stick at it or not, you place ‘another brick in the wall’ of your inner resilience.  You become stronger in all areas of your life and you increase your belief in the fact that you can do anything you choose to put your mind to (obviously within reason).

The stronger you become internally, the less general anxiety you’ll tend to feel, and the quicker you’ll become at processing it.  So flexing your muscle of resilience by trying new things is a good habit to develop and hold on to as you go through life.

“If you don’t use it, you lose it”

By nature we are creatures of habit, so unless we actively try new things we will generally roll on through, what is universally known as ‘The Treadmill of Life’.

One of the biggest steps I’ve taken outside of my comfort zone was when I went travelling for a couple months.  Some of this was on my own and other parts were in tour groups.  Either way, I was away from everything that was familiar and habitual to me.  I remember returning home and feeling like nothing could touch me and that I could achieve anything.  That was definitely several bricks cemented firmly in my wall of resilience.

Another time I left a note for a girl who served me in a restaurant. If I remember correctly my heart was beating faster than when I went up in a hot air balloon… and I can struggle with heights!  But I did it anyway.  On that particular occasion, my mind was coming up with all sorts of reasons why it was a stupid idea.  The bottom line was – I had nothing to lose and everything to gain.  I already knew what it was like not to go on a date with her, so asking the question was only ever going to bring me what I already had or something better.

If the bigger steps seem daunting now, then start with smaller things and build up to the bigger ones.  Make a list ranging from all the small steps you could take, to the bigger, more adventurous ones.

Some of the smaller steps to get you started could be as simple as: walking or driving a slightly different way to university or college, parking in a different place (if possible), trying something new from a restaurant or café menu or having the waiter/waitress recommend something, going to the cinema without a plan and watching the next film that is on when you arrive there, or a slightly more testing one if you haven’t tried it before – eating with yourself for company in a restaurant or café.

Please leave comments below to let me know how you’ve found it, and if you’re interested to see how my coaching can help you get the best from your time at university and your life beyond, click here!

What would happen if we stopped thinking?

 

Would the world end? Would a loved one die? Would we just stop existing? No, none of these things would happen, and if they did, it wouldn’t be as a result of our stopping thinking.

Have you ever tried to just stop your mind in its tracks?  To just be with what you’re doing at any given moment and not think about what he/she just said, or what you just posted online, or probably more to the point, what you wished you’d said, or done or posted, or not posted etc…

How much of your everyday stress or anxiety is caused by your overactive mind?  I’ll take a guess and say: quite a lot.  It’s funny how we as humans, will just keep on thinking even though it causes us so much stress.  Let’s say we had some type of allergy to dairy, where if we ingested it we became sick with headaches and vomiting, we’d soon remove dairy from our diets.  So what are our reasons for continuing to think when it causes us so much stress?

It’s probably a good idea for me to clarify at this point what I actually mean by ‘stop thinking’.  Let’s ‘think’ of our mind as a tool that we pick up when we need to use it and put it down when we’ve finished with it.  Similar to how you would use a hammer – you would pick it up, hammer in a nail, and then put it down.  It would be considered pure madness to keep picking a hammer up when there was no use for it.  In fact you would probably get yourself stopped by the police a few times (or your family and friends would become concerned for your well-being!) if you were found stalking the streets brandishing a hammer for no apparent reason.

So why do we carry on using our minds long after they have served their purpose of writing that essay, or playing that game of football, or whatever logical process it is you’ve been doing.  What does this do for us?  How is it productive to our life?  Our minds, when being used to move us forwards, are the best things in the world, but what is the point beyond this?  Ruminating, overthinking, what ifs, buts, and maybes – they are all a waste of life, and more importantly, are anxiety-creators.

Sometimes I’ll be away in the motions of my mind for several (sometimes countless!) minutes before I realise that my thought processes are pointless. There are also times when I catch my mind running with something, but the act of thinking can be so addictive that I’ll allow myself to continue thinking even though there’s no point! I think it’s fair to say that most of the human race have this addiction in varying degrees, and it obviously affects some people more than others.

One way in which I have learnt to better control my mind’s activity is to see my mind as separate from me.  In doing this, I can watch its activities rather than be a part of them.  It helps me to see it as just off to the left of my head in front of me. And when I say ‘see’, I don’t actually see it there! But I place its workings there when they aren’t serving me well.  It helps me not to get emotionally involved in its ‘madness’.

Just to become aware of your mind’s activity is the first step in beginning to stop it on a more regular basis.  How could you become more aware of when your mind is running with pointless thoughts, and once aware of this, how could you practice stopping it?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below, and contact me to see how my coaching can help you better deal with any stress or anxiety you are experiencing.

 

Tim