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Jonah Engler explains how to take control of your mind by practicing mindfulness

It is important to understand that we can only truly control our actions, our responses, and our thought processes. Humans love to try to be in control of themselves and their surroundings at all times. However, this is a difficult, pretty much impossible task. According to JonahEngler, the human mind is like an untrained puppy […]

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Jonah Engler
Jonah Engler

It is important to understand that we can only truly control our actions, our responses, and our thought processes. Humans love to try to be in control of themselves and their surroundings at all times. However, this is a difficult, pretty much impossible task. According to JonahEngler, the human mind is like an untrained puppy – it doesn’t listen and it has a habit of running all over the place. Our mind starts and stops and suddenly changes direction, making messes, chewing on things, searching for the next pleasurable or interesting object, and easily get distracted. When you wake up in the morning and stand before the mirror in the bathroom, holding a toothbrush in hand, are you present in that moment? Or is your mind wandering? Is it looking forward to the tasks you face in the day to come? Or do you reminisce about the places you would rather be?

Jonah Engler on divided attention

It is almost impossible to pay complete, undivided attention to any specific thing without at some point getting distracted. A mind straying away, or procrastinating, is nothing out of the ordinary. When people’s minds are somewhere else, it interferes with their attention span and their ability to perform and follow through. This can come in mild waves, or it can be severe and form legitimate impairment. Procrastination can be a coping mechanism. It can be a hindrance. It can be mild to severe. A runaway mind is a regular phenomenon that happens to everyone. Oftentimes, people do not even realize they are getting distracted or moving onto a new train of thought. The inability to pay attention to the present is like sleepwalking while wide awake; the mind is present, but roaming elsewhere. It takes a conscious effort to overcome these habits.

Practice mindfulness

To overcome a wandering mind, you can practice mindfulness, which trains the mind to respond to your commands in order to focus on the moment. Staying in the moment and being aware of your surroundings helps you control your response to any situation you might find yourself in. It also promotes health, calmness, and healing. You can take a more pragmatic view of life by freeing your mind from past and future fantasies.

Ways to practice mindfulness include meditation and yoga. Journaling is another great way to practice mindfulness. An exercise to consider pursuing is: writing down five things you are grateful for every day. Mantras and prayers help you focus on what’s important, and they are also another way to practice mindfulness.

There is nothing wrong with riding out your emotions and digging through your past. Self-reflection is a great way to overcome past struggles, and should not be written off as useless. However, if you are only focusing on the past, how are you moving forward? Mindfulness is just another great way to improve yourself and overcome any struggle you might face, past, present, or future.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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