Tag Archives: peace of mind

10 Characteristics of contentment

 

happiness photo

10 Characteristics of contentment

Have you ever wondered how it is that some people just seem happier in general? The usual worries and life woes don’t seem to affect them as much as it does others. The characteristics of contentment can be attained by all of us:

What happy people do:

They live in the moment

They focus on enjoyment instead of constantly looking at how life can be improved.

Their minds are freer of worries

They assume the world is generally good rather than evil.

They focus on the beauty of life rather than the ugliness.

They experience life rather than constantly analysing it.

They let go of things they can’t control instead of hanging on to it.

They learn from their mistakes instead of dwelling on them.

They are open minded and accepting, not judgemental and closed to new ideas.

They tend to be optimistic rather than bitter and pessimistic.

Contented people tend to possess psychological flexibility. They can view the world from many different angles and this helps them to minimise stress and anxiety. The more rigid your thinking is, the more quickly your ‘rules’ about the world will be broken, leading to anxiety. Learn to think about the world in a flexible manner and you will find you can withstand stress far more. The more adaptable you are, the more resilient you will be.

Mandy X

 

 

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