Author: admin

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

Netflix and how our surroundings effect us

I’m always interested in new ways to keep myself feeling good, and there are many different things you can do on a daily basis to keep your head in a good place.  One of these things is to be mindful about what you are watching, reading or listening to on a regular basis.  Although I’m fully aware of how what I watch, read or listen to can affect my sense of wellbeing, sometimes I forget the impact these things can have.

My Netflix ‘list’ is full of comedies, documentaries and life affirming, feel-good films and programmes, but occasionally I’ll feel drawn to something that keeps me on the edge of my seat, something that raises the ol’ heart rate.  Recently, for about three weeks or so, I began watching programmes/films like this over my usual go-to.  I’m not sure when this change within me happened, but it took me three weeks to feel it enough to question it.

I noticed that I’d been feeling more negative and anxious than normal, and as I’m quite good at keeping myself in check in this area, I could only put it down to the change in my night-time viewing.

So, I changed it back to what I’d normally be watching (excluding that one incredible series that had me hook, line and sinker – I just kept this viewing to a minimum!) and within a couple of days I noticed the difference in myself and my perception of the rest of the world.  I felt naturally more positive about things again in general, and much more uplifted about life.

The following study is a great example of how we can very easily be influenced or effected by our surroundings and be completely unaware of it:

This field study investigated the extent to which stereotypically French and German music could influence supermarket customers’ selections of French and German wines. Music with strong national associations should activate related knowledge and be linked with customers buying wine from the respective country.

Over a 2-week period, French and German music was played on alternate days from an in-store display of French and German wines. French music led to French wines outselling German ones, whereas German music led to the opposite effect on sales of French wine. Responses to a questionnaire suggested that customers were unaware of these effects of music on their product choices.

(North, A.C., Hargreaves, D.J., & McKendrick, J. c2016. American Psychological Association. [Online]. [18 September 2018]. Available from: http://psycnet.apa.org/record/1999-13895-010)

With my Netflix experience in mind, the things that effect one person in one way may not effect someone else in the same way, or to the same degree.  So, some questions you may like to ask yourself with regards to this area, are:

  • What do I know has a negative effect on me and my life?
  • With your answer to the above in mind, what changes could I make to bring about a more positive effect on my life?

Please leave any comments below on your thoughts about this topic area, what you watch on Netflix etc. and how it effects your sense of well-being, and how you found answering those questions.

If you’re interested to see how my coaching can help you get the best out of your time at university and life beyond, contact me now!