Ground Hog Day is upon us. Who would have thought a month, two months ago we’d be here?
Truth be told, this is going to last longer than any of us expected. Now is the time to check-in and actively measure and manage our health and wellbeing.
The first step is not to compare yourself to others. We all have our own yo-yo days, the day that I am down might be the day that you are up or vice versa. We are all human and we know appearances can be deceptive. Don’t compare yourself to others or feel that you are not coping as well as others. We are all doing our best.
How do we manage our health and wellbeing?
Health and wellbeing involve checking in on your
- physical health – are you exercising or simply moving for about 30 minutes a day?
- mental health – how are you feeling? What emotions are you feeling, are they more positive than negative? Are you occupied or just drifting through your day?
- spiritual health – the feeling that someone has got your back. Feeling that you are connected to others and you are not alone in this.
The above are interrelated. The aim is to try to have balance in body, mind and spirit. When your body feels strong, you’ll feel more resilient emotionally. When you feel spiritually grounded, you will feel a sense of calm and belonging.
In health and wellbeing your thoughts matter. Your thoughts drive your energy and actions which creates your reality. When you feel great you will pick up the phone and call a friend. When you are feeling down you just want to curl up and zone out.
For as he thinks in his heart, so he is. Proverbs 23:7
How do we manage our thoughts?
You choose to control your thoughts by not attaching to them.
Our random thoughts are called the monkey mind, mind chatter or inner critic.
‘Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly … and all clamouring for our attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong.’
Controlling our monkey mind, especially in times of stress or crisis will help reduce our fears, anxiety and stress. Fear, for example focuses on what may or may not happen, I call it the What if …? game. Currently there are some pretty big ‘what ifs’ for all of us around health, family, work and the economy. These are valid thoughts and feelings which need to be respected and processed, not dismissed. However, letting the monkey mind loose may create a cascade of negative thoughts that may put us at emotional risk.
“Rather than being your thoughts and emotions, be the awareness behind them.” Eckhart Tolle
The key: when we observe our thoughts without attachment, we can control the feelings our thoughts produce. For example, a random thought may be ‘I am going to catch this, it’s so contagious’. Your emotional reaction to that might be fear, anxiety and letting the monkeys loose. On the other hand, if you observed that thought without attachment you’d say ‘Is that true? No! It’s possible but I’m taking the recommended precautions so it’s highly unlikely’.
Position yourself as the observer. Byron Katie in her book ‘Loving What Is’ says
“When we believe our thoughts instead of what is really true for us, we experience the kinds of emotional distress that we call suffering.
Listening to your thoughts without attachment helps you keeps the monkeys under control. Another important point is you are not your thoughts. Your mind is like a narrator that comments on what’s going on around you. We believe we think positively most of the time, however the opposite is true
The thoughts that spontaneously occur— “mental chatter”—is mostly (up to 70%) negative, a phenomenon that could be referred to as negativity dominance.
You can quieten your monkey mind through prayer, meditation and deep breathing exercises. If you’re having trouble controlling your thoughts try a daily practice of writing down your thoughts. This does two things: it will show you how untrue your random thoughts are and, secondly it helps to empty your mind. It is often said, if a friend said to you what your monkey mind says to you, you’d turn, walk away and never look back.
Controlling your monkey mind will help you manage negative emotions and feelings. If you are having difficulty with stress, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed please reach out to family, friends and your doctor.
Keep it Simple. Don’t overthink it. Smile and laugh for a mood booster.
Helen McLucas ©2020
Hypnotherapist I Counsellor I Professional Coach I Advocate [email protected]