I believe we all have a certain degree of mental health issues. Obviously some struggle more than others. I would say that everyone hears voices in their head and initially you may want to argue with me, but let me explain. Have you ever thought about a past conversation that may have frustrated or angered you? Did you replay that conversation in your head and think about how you should have handled things differently or think of things you wish you would have said or not said? These thoughts replaying a past event is like the brain on autopilot. Do you ever wonder what triggered the old thoughts to even creep back in or why you still feel so emotional about the past event? I believe this random thought process is your ego, the voice in our heads that keeps us replaying thoughts without being fully conscious. Reliving old conversations from the past without any real purpose is a form of mental illness. When this happens the ego is in control and never allows time for peace.
Let me give you an example, have you ever tried to lose weight? When you decide you want to lose weight do you feel suddenly your mind is constantly thinking about food? Do you feel a bit out of control? Our mind is a tool meant to help complete tasks, analyze situations, and solve problems. Our mind is not completely who we are, it is just a part of us, like our hands and feet are a part of us. You don’t let your hands and feet go on autopilot and just take off without being aware, so why do we allow our mind? I believe that we have lost control of our minds and in the process lost control of what it means to be at peace with ourselves. We are a species that must medicate in order to relax whether it be with prescription pills, illegal drugs, or alcohol. The biggest problem is not being able to shut off the constant thought process.
So what if we decided to take the control back from our ego? What if we stopped allowing our thoughts to just constantly roll non-stop throughout the day and instead we just used our mind as needed? Stop what you are doing right now, let your mind go silent and just intently feel your body sitting in the chair, feel yourself breathing, take a breath and smell what the air is really like, get quiet and listen intently to all the sounds around you, now look around you and really allow yourself to be aware of your surroundings and what is going on. When you stop your mind from just being on auto-pilot and really bring yourself into the moment, THAT is the beginning of peace. Many people talk about taking time to meditate for long periods of time but really you do not have to be in a super quiet room sitting cross legged with your hands placed in a certain position in order to find inner peace, you can do it anytime and anywhere. Just stopping the random thought process and forcing yourself into the present moment completely, using all your senses is the best way to start the practice.
Once you start practicing the art of being in the moment a few times a day then you can progress to the next step of being aware of the ego. When you feel your mind going to an old conversation that doesn’t really matter anymore just stop yourself. When you have those moments of riding in the car and do not really remember the last few miles, that is your mind on autopilot. During that time your mind is probably going through a few important mental lists as well as a bunch of useless thoughts. This is when you start really observing and being aware of what your thoughts consist of and putting a stop to the nonsense. Having a few mental routines will help you practice being more in control of your mind instead of your mind controlling you.
I have a few that work for me, before I go to bed each night I think about the tasks that I need to complete the following day. I plan out exactly where I need to go and what I need to do and the most efficient way to go about accomplishing everything. I check my calendar and set any alarms or reminders. Once I run through the plan I then allow myself to relax completely by turning off my TV, and putting my phone and lap top on the charges away from my bed.
I often read a book to help my mind relax. This is also a time to allow yourself to be very present by focusing on your breathing and starting with the toes and moving up through the legs and abdomen, chest, back, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and head being very aware of each part of the body; maybe tightening the muscles in each area and holding for a count of three then releasing as you focus on each part of the body along with your breathing. This is great relaxation routine and if you are having some particular health issues this a great time to focus on that part of the body as well. If you are having digestive issues picture your stomach red and throbbing, looking inflamed and bubbling like a volcano. Focus on the stomach and picture a light lavender color slowing melt over the stomach and dissolving the red inflammation with a cooling and calming sensation. Picture the bubbling volcano settling into a peaceful cool lake very calm, relaxed and peaceful. These visualizations are wonderful for focusing the mind on your body and using it as it is meant to be, as a tool to help instead of rehashing or creating more problems.
Taking control of your mind and the thoughts going through your mind can be very hard at first but as you become more aware it can be life changing. As you get better at it you may decide to add a yoga and meditation practice to your routine. Simply stopping to ask yourself what you are feeling can really bring you back into the present. Being aware of your body and your breathing is the best way to constantly put your mind in check and keep it from taking off without you. The more you use your mind with a purpose and take control of your thoughts, the more efficient your life will become. Stopping that voice in your head from reliving things from your past or worrying about your future will also be life changing. The only difference that can truly be made is what you do right now in this moment anyway, so make it count!
With love, health, happiness and awareness