Tag Archives: peace of mind

Control, Resistance and Acceptance

 

resistance photo

Control, Resistance and Acceptance

Peace of mind and contentment doesn’t come from control. We all fool ourselves by thinking that if we can control our worlds and environments we will be happier. This is a myth. Firstly, there is no such thing as 100% control.The very nature of life on earth is uncertain. Trying to obtain control is wasted energy and although it helps us temporarily to feel safer (and soothes our minds), the reality is that we are no more safe with or without seeking ultimate control.

I have observed people spending inordinate amounts of time trying to control people and things in their lives. They avoid uncertainty and resist whatever threatens them in life. Be that new experiences or events that they fear such as a new relationship or making important and necessary changes in their lives. Resisting ‘what is’ is similar to being stuck in a yacht on a lake with no wind and trying to blow at the sales with your own breath. It won’t get you very far and will leave you exhausted.

If instead, you accept that at the present moment you’re in a spot of trouble but that if you relax and give it some time, things may very well correct themselves naturally, sending a gust of wind to help you out. Accepting a situation and ‘sitting with it’ for a while can often bring you the clarity you lack when you are trying to control outcomes that are actually beyond your control.

When we hit a snag in life, we immediately go into control mode, instead of waiting and  being patient that little bit longer. Try it. Not everything needs to be controlled. Trust in the natural order of life at times and let this guide you as to how to move forward.

Mandy X

 

How to Promote peace and contentment

 

peace and contentment

How to promote peace and contentment

Be realistically positive

Sure, life has horrible bits, very horrible bits in fact, but you CAN learn the skill of looking for solutions rather than pessimistically going over the same things in your mind. When we churn the same information over in our minds without looking for possible solutions, we end up downtrodden and miserable. If there is no present solution to a problem, possibly due to the fact that it is something beyond your control, it is also possible to learn the skill of ‘mental shelving’. Put it aside, distract yourself but be firm with yourself when there is no longer any action you can take towards a situation. For example – someone has betrayed you and left you feeling hurt. If there is an action to be taken to alleviate or rectify the situation, do it. If you have done your bit and you are now waiting for a response or there is no action you can take, it is a waste of your mental and emotional energy to spend too much time dwelling on it. Focus back on the present moment and on what is within your immediate control. This takes practise and isn’t an exact science but it is a skill that can be learned and improved upon and it WILL lead you closer to peace and contentment.

You have choices

This may seem a harsh and blunt statement but you can CHOOSE how much you want a situation to affect you. The thoughts in your head and your attitude are your choice. Think about it. It is for you to decide what is important in your life and what isn’t. If you don’t want something to overwhelm you and be overly important, it doesn’t have to be. There is always a way to look at something, or a story you can tell yourself to make a situation appear less threatening or upsetting. The thoughts and beliefs we choose will affect the level an intensity of the attached emotions. Learn to challenge your thoughts, they are perceptions of reality, not reality itself and there can be a VAST difference between them. I see how clients get upset over situations and torture themselves for ages with their thinking, only to find out later that the way they viewed the situation was completely inaccurate and that they made faulty assumptions. They have therefore spent precious moments of their lives unhappy and sad when there was no reason for it. Be selective with the thoughts you decide to believe and focus on. There will always, always be another way to view a situation that will lead you to feeling more peace and contentment.

Limit time brooding

Ask yourself how long you want to spend thinking about something and letting it get the better of you. Ask yourself if this type of mental activity is helpful. Allowing negative, worrisome thoughts to stay for longer than necessary is purely a form of masochism.

Don’t take yourself so seriously

Learn to see the humorous side of life and never take yourself too seriously. See your time on this earth as a chance to experiment and have fun. The end result is the same and whilst you are here on this ‘physical plane’ you have the chance to affect those around you, when you are gone that opportunity is lost. Lose your fear, get out there and do what you want. Embrace fear and uncertainty and have a good laugh at the same time. If you take yourself too seriously you can reduce your chance for peace and contentment.

Be proactive

No one likes risking it, especially in relationships where we risk rejection and abandonment (one of my greatest fears!). Learn to be brave and express yourself in relationships when there is ambiguity. Put yourself out there a little, the other person may be just as scared as you are.

Test the waters gently if need be but dip your toe in. Live a life full of life lessons than one where you look back and feel you lost many opportunities. Instead of constantly reacting to another person’s moods, learn to set the tone and express your wants and wishes too.

Being proactive helps us to feel like masters over our destinies…we can sometimes be in the lead rather than passively going with the flow.

There are many clever ways to protect your mood and buffer yourself from the wild elements of life. This is goes on internally – it really is true: happiness is an inside job.

Mandy X

 

 

The key to happiness

 

happiness photo

 

The key to happiness

These two quotes may seem opposed but they go to the heart of the key to happiness:

“Happiness is an inside job” and “When you are in your mind, you are in enemy territory”

Both of these quotes are true and illustrate how important it is to manage our minds and our thoughts. The key to happiness is knowing how to manage our minds and deal with our thoughts. We have something like 50 000 – 70 000 thoughts per day and the majority of these thoughts are non-productive, irrational and of no proper value to us. When you keep this in mind, it makes sense to learn what to do with out intrusive and automatic thoughts. The content of the thoughts we choose to pay attention to and focus on determine our feelings and beliefs about the world and therefore influence our behaviour and the quality of our lives.

Learn to focus on the right thoughts and dismiss the ones that serve no purpose and you will be on the road to happiness. Optimists tend to have far more ‘buffers’ than pessimists and are better able to hang on to the positive thoughts rather than the negative ones. They are both equal in that they are thoughts – not facts. Choose which thoughts to pay attention to and you will definitely improve the quality of your life.

Having said that, I am not saying it is an easy task. Humans are hard-wired to focus on threat and danger and subsequently-  negative thinking. Back centuries ago when we roamed the plains as hunters, it would have served us well to perceive threat and danger and telling ourselves that the lion approaching was just “cute and cuddly” would have been very dangerous.

These days, there is less actual threat like a lion or famine but when we feel stressed and anxious, the exact same parts of the brain get activated. This part of the brain cannot tell the difference between real and perceived threat – it will receive the signals and act accordingly. This is why it is important to know when your body is reacting and causing anxiety – this is when we can use mindfulness, bring ourselves back to the present moment and learn to silence our fearful and anxiety provoking thoughts such as – No one will ever love me, I am useless, life will always be this bad etc

power of thoughts

Steps to manage your mind and thoughts:

  1. Learn to identify your thinking.  Hang on to the positive thoughts and learn to let go of the negative ones. I often catch myself saying something negative to myself but immediately ‘reframe’ the thought. ie. “No I am not useless and worthless, I am just human and making mistakes like everyone else”.
  2. Learn to dismiss negative thoughts. Visualise your thoughts as leaves floating down a river. Watch them float by. You can’t ignore thoughts but you can learn to dismiss them and not focus on them. Don’t ‘buy into’ your negative thoughts…let them pass by. They are just thoughts.
  3. Cultivate positive healthy thinking. Engage in positive self talk and make a habit of talking to yourself as you would a best friend. The more positive we are towards ourselves, the happier we tend to be.
  4. Try mindfulness. Be in the present moment. The more we engage our five senses in the moment, the less time our minds have to wander and get us into trouble with negative thinking and worry. If you catch yourself obsessing over something or running it over and over in your mind, try bring yourself back to your immediate surroundings.
  5. Accept intrusive thinking as a part of life. We ALL have intrusive mad thoughts that pop into our heads, it’s just the way we are made. Don’t take it personally, just learn to dismiss them and not pay too much attention to those thoughts.

What we believe about the world will influence our enjoyment – this is the bottom line. Keep the positive thoughts, dismiss the negative and intrusive thoughts and get used to challenging thoughts that you find difficult to dismiss by asking yourself where the EVIDENCE is for a particular thought. I recently had a client who said he was “useless”, but we soon challenged this by finding times in his life when he certainly wasn’t useless, making that statement incorrect. Get into the habit of being a better ‘mind manager’. It really is the key to happiness.

Mandy X

Make your own happiness

 

 

happy person photo

 

Make your own happiness

 

Everything you need to feel happy and content lies within you. Whilst it is difficult to feel happy if you are in survival mode, once the basics are met such as food, safety and shelter…there is nothing stopping you from being as happy as the next person.

How we see ourselves and our circumstances in life is where your power lies. What do you tell yourself abut yourself and your life? What would you like to believe about yourself and your life?

 

We all have moments when life gets on top of us and we can be hard on ourselves but the way we respond to what life hands us can make or break how our lives turn out. Instead of telling ourselves that we aren’t good enough or that we are inferior when things don’t go our way, it makes much more sense to protect your self esteem and self belief.

You can do this by accepting and realizing that everyone makes mistakes and has self doubt. We tend to be our own worst critics yet it does us no good. Beating ourselves with the naughty stick is the worst type of motivation.

 

Inviting positive experiences in our lives involves speaking to ourselves in a kind and empowering way. Tell yourself that everything is happening as it is meant to and that there is a reason for everything in life. Understand that challenges will always come your way, yep, some may even have you on your knees feeling out of your depth. It’s okay…it really is. We all go through it.  Success isn’t failing, it’s getting back up again. It’s telling yourself that something good is in the pipeline and that the tough times don’t last forever.

It’s also about having purpose in life and doing something with your time on earth that makes you feel that your life is worthwhile…whatever that may be. It’s different for each one of us.

 

Make the choice to choose thoughts that work for you. Choose beliefs that keep you feeling good about yourself. Other people’s views about you are never more important than your own.

 

Mandy X

 

highway of life

The Highway of life

the highway of love

The Highway of life

Travelling the world is one of my favourite things to do. I love experiencing new cultures, different ways of living/doing things and find that travelling opens my mind to the variety of experiences available to us in this world. There are many similarities between travelling the physical world and travelling the emotional inner landscape that we all experience.

Emotions

I couldn’t find an image to accurately represent my idea so I drew my own one – please excuse the crude representation but it does the job. 🙂 When we venture out of our comfort zone and get onto the highway of life, we gain access to all sorts of experiences. Good, bad and downright ugly – they are all there waiting to be explored. There will be some places/emotions that we will wish we hadn’t visited – that curry in Delhi that made me ill could well be likened to visiting the place of rejection. Not great but a lesson emerges each time: don’t eat curry at that restaurant again or don’t ask that particular person for a favour again. Each time, whether the experience is joyous or disastrous, we will be more experienced for it. We also learn something about how ourselves – how we deal with the experiences we go through.

Perspective on life experiences make all the difference

Experiences don’t have to break us if we see them in the right perspective and never personalise an experience as being all our fault. For example, travel along the highway of life and sooner or later you will arrive in the place called “Failure”. A crappy little town that leave many in a state of panic. When you look at failure as a lesson, a way not to do something in the future rather than seeing yourself as a failure, the crappy little town loses it’s influence.

Your true potential

Many mistakenly believe that if they avoid the highway of life (stay single, never venture out, take the humdrum job, never take a risk…) that they will lead a safer life. It might be safer on some levels but you will never blossom. How can you know what you are truly capable of, what your full potential is, if you never get stuck in? Getting on to the highway of life takes a little bravery but you will be amongst many others visiting the emotional towns and cities of life.

At any one time on any given day there will be hoards visiting each of the ’emotional towns’ listed in my drawing above. You can draw your own highway – the most important thing is that you are experiencing all the emotions. Instead of resisting, accept that life has it’s ups and downs, it’s fun and shitty towns (did you see what I did there??  😉   )

Welcome to the human race, the ebbs and flows, the highs and lows. Yep – it’s called Life.

 

Mandy X

highway  photo

 

how to be happier

How to be happier

How to be happier

 

how to be happier infographic

Mandy X

 

 

Photo by Britt Selvitelle

time over money

Time is more important than money

time and money photo

Time is more important than money

I just don’t get it. I regularly witness people working their butts off, coming in to the office early and going home late at night. They spend a disproportionate amount of their time sitting in the office working. Often, these same people aren’t the newest apprentice eagerly trying to learn the ropes. They are the owners, shareholders and top authorities in their successful businesses. Money isn’t an issue yet they still slog away. They tell me they like working. I would like to take their word for it but when I delve a little deeper, there is more often than not an underlying issue they are trying to avoid or escape. Perhaps, stopping for a while scares them? When we stop for a while and contemplate what we are doing, what will happen if we realise how meaningless our actions really are in the grand scheme of things? What if we suddenly become aware that we have actually been in denial?  What if we realise that we are afraid of change and have just been keeping our busy head down, clinging to the safety of the existing life structure we have carved out, even if it no longer works for us?

People fool themselves on a daily basis. People don’t really know themselves. In fact, the majority don’t know what makes them happy. Food for thought.

In my opinion, the ‘rich’ person is the one who has quality of life. The wise person who realises that time is more precious than anything else and uses it wisely is the one who will look back with the highest sense of peace and contentment. Chasing money has become an obsession that has taken us ‘off course’ and leaving more people than ever feeling lost and empty.

Working has become an acceptable way to define ourselves and chaos reigns when people  retire or move away from their defined work-based roles. They start asking questions like, “who am I?”. They often have no idea who they are outside of their defined role at work. A sad state of affairs. There are ways to lessen the impact of the defined roles that you have taken ownership of.

What to do:

1) Apart from your work title ( I hate them) how would you describe yourself? Imagine having to describe yourself to a complete stranger without making any reference to your job. Many people find this difficult to do – very telling.

2) Is your work life successful but the rest of your life suffering? Research shows that connecting with others and experiences bring us more joy than material possessions. Great if you can combine the two but ensure you have balance and make time for other pursuits.

3) Take stock of how you view your worthiness. Is all your self worth tied up with what you DO rather than who you are as a person? When your sense of worth is closely aligned with your work role/position you are essentially basing your self worth on a precarious connection. Learn to like the person, not the achiever.

4) Society rewards material success but this won’t earn any longterm personal fulfilment points. What should be rewarded is kindness, compassion and selflessness. I have visited many old age homes and have never seen photos up of cars, houses, certificates etc. All that it boils down to is pets, friends and family.

5) Maintain perspective. Sometimes a major crisis brings us to our senses and forces us to shift our priorities. We don’t need a crisis to be aware of what is really important in life.Don’t pass up valuable time with friends and family to work unless it is absolutely necessary. Most people get their worth from their work, not from their relatives and friends and therein lies the problem. If we tweak our thinking we can actively change our priorities.

6) We live in a time poor, cash rich society and I believe this can lead to more ruthless selfish and self serving behaviour. Use your resources to improve the world. We are all connected and helping others comes back to you. Maybe not today but the message gets out there and your influence may go further than you imagine.

Ultimately, I have seen enough evidence of how defining yourself according to how ‘successful’ you are (and what exactly is success? – Millions in the bank or true peace of mind?) in terms of money, status and power leads to emptiness and unhappiness. We chase what we think will make us happy, expend all this effort, only to find out that we were chasing the wrong things.

Remember that time is more important than money. If you are cash rich, use some of it  for a good purpose. Spend time redefining who you without including  your profession and get back to basics. Life can become meaningless if we chase things as a means to personal fulfilment. Be mindful, appreciate the here and now. Time is precious. Are you using it well?

Mandy X

 

lady smiling and happy

Twelve Ways to Find Peace and Contentment

peace contentment photo

Twelve Ways to Find Peace and Contentment

Accept your ‘human-ness’.

So you want peace and contentment? Fat, thin, short or tall…able-bodied or disabled. We are all here in a particular physical form. The reason for being in our specific ‘shell’ may not be known but it is what we have been given to interact with on this planet. I used to hide the fact that I have Cystic Fibrosis. I felt inferior. Now I think my body is amazing as it produced a wonderful child (who is now 15 yrs old), it works harder than ‘healthy’ bodies have to and I’m still going strong – clever little bod of mine!

Love Yourself “Voetstoets”

Love yourself as you are. “Voetstoets” is an old Afrikaans expression from South Africa and is often used when selling a second hand car. Sold “voetstoets” = sold “as is”. You don’t need to rise to the top or achieve anything in order to be amazing and wonderful. Society conditions us to believe we need to be productive to be valued – it’s nonsense. You are just fine as you are – whether you achieve every day or spend the day in bed.

Enjoy the present moment

Live in the moment as much as possible. Your power lies in the present moment..this is where it’s at. Right now..yes, right now..no time like the present 🙂

Keep it simple

Don’t complicate life. Look for the little things in life that bring joy. We really don’t need that much to be satisfied. Advertising companies want you to believe otherwise but they are wrong and just want your money. You don’t need more things to be happy.

Keep perspective

Will you feel this same frustration/irritation tomorrow..next week? Time passes and the intensity of emotion passes too. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Live with integrity

Let your inner world mirror your outer world. Be kind, don’t gossip and live a good life. Be able to look at yourself in the mirror and like/respect the person looking back at you.

Don’t hold grudges

You give the people you hold grudges against power over you when you don’t forgive. You still have poisonous thoughts about them that upset you yet they are off doing their thing without giving you a second thought. Don’t allow this to happen. Forgive and move on – especially if you cannot change or control any part of the situation. Let it go.

Be an optimist

Positive thoughts can singlehandedly improve the quality of your life. It doesn’t cost a thing either.

Acceptance

Accept what is. Stop resisting what you cannot change. It is wasted energy. Instead focus on resolving issues. Once you accept what is, you can begin effectively dealing with it.

Don’t Hold Back

We have all been hurt and as a result we tend to start protecting ourselves by closing off and revealing less of ourselves to others. We look for signs as to why we shouldn’t trust others.Being open and letting others in can be a huge relief and can bring incredibly positive results. I’m not talking about opening up to complete strangers but about allowing yourself to be less vulnerable with people you care about. Trusting others and having a little faith can bring huge emotional rewards.

No Comparisons

Comparing ourselves to others is irrational. We are comparing our perceived faults with their positive achievements and attributes. What’s the point of that? You don’t know all the facts so you will be drawing conclusions that are likely to be inaccurate and they won’t leave you feeling good about yourself. What a waste. There is no need to compare. We all have our good and bad bits.

Do Something Different

Get out of your comfort zone – try something new. Don’t be afraid- ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen? If you keep doing the same thing you’ll keep getting the same result.

Sometimes we can feel stuck by circumstances in life. There is always a way to shift things, even if it’s just your thinking that you start with. Choose your attitude, be open, be kind – let others in a bit more. Finding peace and contentment isn’t impossible. Get the energy flowing in and out for some amazing changes…

Mandy X

 

 

Photo by Dawn Ashley