The mind is such a funny thing. It can give you all of these signals of anxiety, anger, depression and sadness. Yet it also makes you feel unbelievable joy, relief, strength and happiness. In this blog we take an important look at when we use the mind wisely and when we need to get out of the mind and back into the body.
When in a burnout, it can help you greatly to be aware of the signals your mind sends to you. It tells you the difference between thoughts and facts. Knowing this can help you distinguish between helpful and the unhelpful feelings. The general idea of mindfulness is to recognize those emotions that are genuine and necessary (even when they are negative) and those not based on truth, reality, fact or your actual situation. The last category is by definition unnecessary. In short, it helps to be mindful of the mind.
Mindfulness to many people is a vague concept. That's because the road towards achieving mindfulness involves stuff like meditation and thought training. We see those concepts as being pretty ambiguous. The road towards mindfulness is therefore perceived as fuzzy... but the actual practical concept is not vague at all. It's quite the opposite. It is simply the awareness of what you are thinking and why.
It's knowing the difference between facts and thoughts. And that makes all the difference. It helps you separate the perceived from the real situation. An example.
Think of all the people who react extremely angry to innocent mistakes. They are at that moment 'stuck in their minds'. Maybe they are dealing with something very hard right now and are thinking about that constantly. It'll make them frown, look at the ground and therefore physically and mentally disconnect from what's happening around them. If you were to accidentally bump into such a person, changes are they will explode.
If however, this person is completely, one hundred percent aware (mindful) of the reason why they are feeling down, they might react very mildly to that same bump. They are aware that their troubles are 'in their mind'; quite literally the synapses that are firing round in their brain on some negative subject they are dealing with. If they are mindful of this, they would know to separate their troubles from the actual - accidental and innocent - situation.
That is what mindfulness teaches you: to be in the 'now' and connected to the moment - the actual situation and your actual physical state - and knowing when your mind is wandering into a perceived situation.
Having this awareness is not a given. It is also not easy to achieve and requires practice. But when you reach that state of mind, it is a true godsend. By understanding that my anxiety and fear during my burnout were just feelings and not (always) reality I became better at distinguishing unhelpful thoughts from helpful facts. And this hasn't just helped me iwhen I was down. It has made everything better and easier in my life.
We will visit this subject again on these pages. For now, take a dip into what mindfulness can do for you. And of course, take it easy.