You need to make sure you exercise your mind regularly if you want to overcome anxiety.
Let me explain.
As you might have noticed, it has been a while since I posted here. The reason is that I have pretty much had my anxiety under control for the last few months. However, recently I’ve had a few setbacks and these events have really knocked my confidence.
When everything is going well it is easy to become complacent and think that you’ve finally got this anxiety thing sussed. But, if you have ever suffered from anxiety be warned – it may still be hiding in your mind, waiting for a weak moment when it will rear its ugly head again!
The 3 main reasons you need to exercise your mind are:
1.Your mind is like a muscle.
The more you train your brain the stronger it gets.
When your mind is strong, you are aware of your thoughts and you can witness them without reacting to them.
But, if you ignore your training then before you know it all your hard work will go out of the window. The result is that your mind will become flabby and revert to its former anxious state.
The scary thing is that if you continue to neglect your mind your anxiety can even grow bigger making your life more miserable than before!
2.Your mind follows your inner voice.
The natural tendency of your mind is to follow your inner voice – that incessant stream of chatter in your head.
Now if the voice is positive and calming then there is no problem. But, when you have anxiety that voice is often full of worries and criticism. This constant negative chatter in your head will then have a very real impact on your life. As your experiences are coloured by your thoughts, when those thoughts are anxious that is when you experience anxiety.
3.Your thought patterns create grooves in your mind.
The more you think a certain thought, the more it becomes automatic. In fact you usually carry out regular activities without even thinking about them, such as brushing your teeth. This is because you have done these behaviours over and over again, creating a pattern in your mind that it falls into easily.
These thinking patterns can be useful for routine behaviours, but they are not such good news when your habitual thinking patterns are anxious. If you don’t exercise your mind (to create new grooves), it may start falling back into your old patterns of worry and panic.
Remember that your mind is the key to your happiness
If you are not able to control how you react to your thoughts then you are never going to be happy. Calmness lies in the ability to witness any anxious thoughts and let them go rather than jumping into action to run away from them.
So, how do you exercise your mind?
The best way to exercise your mind is to practise meditation or mindfulness (more on these another time). Devoting as little 10 minutes a day to meditation has been shown to change the neural pathways in our brains, resulting in a calmer and less anxious mind.
That means it’s back to the meditation cushion and Insight Timer for me!
I’d love to know if you meditate or practice mindfulness – let me know by leaving a comment below.