When your mind is turbulent or chaotic it can be difficult to see things clearly or interact in situations in the way that you would like. When you are stressed or overwhelmed your mind is being driven by negative thought patterns and emotions that can make you feel as though life is “out of control” or not going the way you would like it. In such times, you may feel like your mind is mastering you.
Ideally you are the master of your mind, and are able use your mind as a powerful tool to support you in feeling well and happy.
In fact, your mind is your most powerful tool in building the life you want. When you feel challenged by external circumstances, it is possible to get through the situation in the best way, by training your mind to be peaceful. When your mind is peaceful, it is still enough to hear your inner wisdom, to see external events with greater clarity and to choose the best course of action.
The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with highly significant levels of psychological distress that, in many cases, would meet the threshold for clinical relevance. Mitigating the hazardous effects of COVID-19 on mental health is an international public health priority. ~ Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 277, 1 December 2020
One of the best ways to nurture your mental health is by training your mind to be peaceful.
Fortunately, there are so many things you can do to develop a peaceful mind. Many of them are fun and free! The important thing is to choose activities that you resonate with and love to do. Make them regular practices to support your mental wellbeing. It can be helpful to make your peaceful mind practices at the same time every day—making them routine—just like brushing your teeth!
With consistent practice, it is possible to develop a toolbox of skills that you can draw on particularly when you are finding things difficult. Your skills to maintain a peaceful mind will allow you to respond to life in a way that supports you and that you feel proud of.
- Observe your inner world: by sitting quietly and taking your attention inwards to observe your thoughts and feelings. Separate yourself from your thoughts—you have thoughts, which are not your thoughts. Just as you have feelings, which are not your feelings, your true self is the stable, consistent observer of your thoughts and feelings. Tap into this peaceful, calm and still place.
- Rest in awareness: by choosing not to think for a while. Give yourself a rest! In this state, you will physically feel your mind relax, as the tension from thinking is released from your head.
- Focus your attention on your breath: as this will calm your mind. Calming your mind can be done anytime, anywhere; when the mind is restless use meditation to transform your life into a moving meditation of joy
- Develop focus by not worrying about the past or future, but instead, fully engaging in the present. When you do this, the energy consumed by thinking the worst, or mental looping (thinking the same negative thought over and over), can be used to enjoy your life!
- Practice thoughts of acceptance: as this will help you to relax and see situations more clearly. Ways in which you can do this are:
• I accept my past.
• I accept my life is changing.
• I accept I’ve done my best with the skills I have.
• I accept I don’t like this situation.
• I accept I can/cannot change this situation.
• I accept that I feel insecure right now.
• I accept my relationship has changed.
• I accept that I am strong and can rebuild my life
- Go beyond the instability: that your thoughts and emotions can create by; meditating on the go. Calming your thoughts can be done anytime, anywhere; while walking or driving, for example. Your mindfulness is all that is required.
- Activities: such as yoga, qi gong, gardening, sports, hobbies, being in nature, and doing things you love are all great at quietening restless thoughts and creating a peaceful mind.
If you are having trouble maintaining any of these practices, remember that your mind loves the familiar. Your mind will take you back to any former negative ways of being where it feels comfortable. That is until you retrain your mind by practising new habits consistently, to replace your former patterns with practices that support your happiness and health. Joy, vitality, and peace can become your new normal!