By Maria Karefilakis
If you are anything like many of my clients, you will have moments where it feels like your mind is consistently commenting, judging and having opinions about you, your behaviours, your feelings, etc to the extent that it feels like it will never shut up.
Well, today I am going to share with you exactly why that happens and how to break free from being a slave to your own mind.
It starts by understanding that we cannot silence our minds to completely switch off. The good news however is that we can start to better understand how this all works so we can create a more fulfilling everyday life without buying into the thoughts that can be destructive to us.
Let me introduce you to Mind 1 and Mind 2 ☺
When you think to yourself ‘Why am I reading this article’ or maybe ‘I wonder whether this is article is going to turn out to be helpful’……have you ever wondered who is listening to your thoughts? Well, that is the Observing Mind.
Mind 1 – The Observing Mind
The Observing Mind put simply is watching your thoughts
Mind 2 – The Thinking Mind
Firstly, let me highlight that the thinking mind is what causes us problems and internal pain and suffering that is not always within our control. The thinking mind is the internal voice, the voice that is always talking to us.
It talks to us every moment of every day. It is the mind that keeps us awake at night, the voice that stops us from completely hearing the person talking, reminding us what we need to do when we get home from work and so on… it never ends so much so that my clients often express a desire to ‘flick the switch’ in order to get it to stop.
It is the voice that obsessively thinks that you failed your exam, that the girl won’t return your call because of what you did or didn’t say and it leads you to believe it true.
The Thinking mind is our default mind. It is analysing, telling stories, creating stories and judging. The observing mind does not engage in any of this.
The point to highlight is that the Observing Mind and Thinking Mind create emotional distress when they are FUSED together. The way to have relief is to be able to master separating the two minds.
The moment you accept everything that you’re Thinking Mind is telling you is when you become a slave to this mind. This is not going to lead to fulfilment or emotional relief. For example: Your Thinking Mind might judge you as unattractive, even though it might not be true.
A way to defuse and display acknowledgment is to speak to yourself as the Observer;
“I am having the thought that… I am not good enough” or ….” that I’m not attractive”
Or maybe the thought is related to a feeling
“I am feeling…angry”
This technique is part of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) which is all about ACCEPTING what is out of your control and COMMITING to actions that can benefit us in life.
With an understanding of the two minds, ACT teaches you the skills to deal with unpleasant thoughts and feelings so that the THINKING MIND will have less of a hold on your life.
If you find it difficult to let go of thoughts you may benefit from seeing a psychologist. The process can be facilitated in therapy by an experienced psychologist.