For more information please visit www.karenmcgregor.com.
The pandemic has thrown the world (and its inhabitants) into chaos and uncertainty. If you are one of the many people struggling with depression and anxiety right now, it might seem natural to blame COVID-19 for your suffering. While outside factors certainly play a part, they are not the real reason that you are living a less-than-amazing life. The true culprit is your mind. If you can train it to be happier, you can unleash a source of power that helps you ride out the very hardest times and begin living your best life—even amid chaos.
Let’s take a look at the nature of the egoic mind. Noticing and obsessing over problems is what it does best. It focuses on the negative in order to protect us, but sometimes it works too well. This is why we “hand wring” over how out of control everything feels and spin fearful stories about the future. In this way, letting the mind run the show drives our unhappiness and keeps us out of the present moment. And therefore, it stops us from noticing the amazing things we do have, like loving families, good food to eat, the beauty of nature, good friends, etcetera.
The good news is, when you learn to accept the nature of the mind, you can separate yourself from its incessant thoughts and judgments and discover the calm, joy, and peace you have been missing. From there you can work on building your best life instead of letting the chaos of the world drag you down.
Here are some steps to take.
First, understand the seven aspects of the mind that keep you stuck in unhappiness. Understanding how the mind works is the first step in distancing yourself from these tendencies. See if you recognize any of your behavior in the following list.
- It constantly looks for problems, influencing the way you view the world.
- It prompts you to judges everything and everybody, consuming you with issues that are none of your business.
- It is a compelling storyteller, weaving narratives that waste your time and energy.
- It is reactionary, upsetting you over things that shouldn’t be such a big deal.
- It needs to defend itself, making you resistant to feedback you need to hear.
- It gets distracted easily, stealing your focus from what really matters
- It fixates on initial impressions and disturbances, compelling you to cling to your initial responses. If someone pays you a compliment, you may develop romantic interest in them; if an email from a work colleague rubs you the wrong way, you may grow to dislike that person.
Notice your fear-based thoughts. Then let them go. When (not if) a negative or fearful thought crosses your mind, consciously release it. Watch it drift away and dissolve. Take a moment several times a day to ask yourself, “What I am holding on to right now that could be released?”
Get your body moving (it helps to “re-set” your mind). We tend to fixate on certain thoughts because we lack the discipline to break away from them. But physically moving our bodies makes distancing ourselves from negative thoughts much easier. Then next time you have a thought that does not serve your greatest good, shift your body into a different position or stand up and move somewhere else for a few moments. When you do this regularly, your mind will learn to follow your body.
Adopt a morning routine. Start the day off right with a relaxing ritual. Walk up a half hour early and spend it doing something that will help you stay calm and centered throughout your day. Sip tea, pray, stretch, journal or meditate, and set a positive intention for the new day.
Clean up your home. A messy chaotic home creates disorganization in your mind. Tidy up and de-junk your living space so that it is a haven of peace and serenity. And remember, your thoughts are also taking up space in your home. Perhaps it is also time to toss out distractions that drag you down and take up space in your mind. You may realize it’s time to get off social media for a while, or to stop reading the headlines each day.
Connect with your inner child daily. The inner child is often the keeper of old wounds that add to your stress and suffering, and prevent you from living your best life. They could be the source of thoughts created in your formative years (usually around ages 5-7) aimed at keeping you safe. Each day try talking to your inner child. Ask them what they want and need. Perhaps you are not standing up for yourself, and so they feel betrayed. Or they are upset because you are being untrue to yourself. Assure your inner child that you—your adult self—will do what is necessary to honor self, and then do what needs to be done
Commit to eating more plant-based foods. Plant-based foods contain energy that supports a joyful and calm being. Meanwhile, eating highly processed foods and/or too many animal products contributes to feelings of irritation and sadness. Strive to consume 80 percent fruits and vegetables and treat animal products and unhealthy treats as “sometimes” foods, instead of “everyday” foods.
There’s no denying that these are trying times for all of us. But fixating on everything that is wrong only hurts you. Recognize the mind’s role in your suffering and release thoughts and feelings that drag you down. Without their interference, you will see a path to not only feeling more peace and joy yourself, but you will also put more peace and joy out into world at a time when they are greatly needed.
About Karen McGregor:
Karen McGregor is a thought leader and catalyst for influencers with a powerful global message, and is the author of the new book The Tao of Influence: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Leaders and Entrepreneurs. Karen has supported hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs over the past decade to create and deliver powerful messages. An inspiring international speaker who presents across all industries, she walks her talk every day, sharing her message on stage with luminaries like Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, John Gray, and David Wolfe. Her ideas and direct quotes have been featured on CTV News, Reader’s Digest, Breakfast Television (Toronto, Canada), Florida Weekly, and many other prominent media outlets.
About the Book:
The Tao of Influence: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Leaders and Entrepreneurs (Mango, September 2020, ISBN: 978-1-64250-275-6, $24.95) is available from major online booksellers.
For more information please visit www.karenmcgregor.com.