What is mental wealth?

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What is mental wealth?

Mental wealth is just as important as mental health. Mental health is the physiological functioning of the brain and nervous system. Mental wealth is how successful you are at managing the content of your mind. I’m going to share a few strategies with you to enable you to become more mentally wealthy:

Don’t take thoughts seriously. Thoughts aren’t facts. Learn to dismiss them. There will be more along to cloud your mind before you know.

Attention training. Be aware of where your focus is. We tend to focus on things that confirm our existing beliefs about the world. If we see the world as nasty, we will look for examples to confirm this. This is known as confirmation bias. Be aware of what you focus on as it grows and seems more real. The alternative may be true too if you focus on it.

Real worry vs hypothetical worry. When you worry ask yourself if you are focusing on a “what if” worry (hypothetical – it might not happen) or a real worry. An example of real worry would be – your washing machine breaking down. It requires attention now. Know the difference and let go of the hypothetical worries.

Understand that most thoughts are nonsense. We have over 80 000 thoughts every day and most are a waste of your attention. Learn to let go.

Thoughts affect feelings. Feelings affect behaviour. Monitor thoughts for a better quality of life. Focus on the ones that work for you – the positive ones. Let the negative ones go. Watch for errors in thinking such as: overgeneralising, personalising, black and white thinking, catastrophising, mind reading etc – all a waste of energy and attention.

How the brain misinterprets stimuli (old brain – primitive). Sometimes the brain sends us false alarms – know the difference. At times we feel stressed out – we blush, sweat, feel tense, get heart palpitations but often, it is just modern day stress being interpreted by the old brain (the amygdala and hypothalamus) as real danger. Unless there is a real threat such as a lion or a bomb etc..learn to recognise it as a false alarm. The unconscious does not know the difference. It interprets stress as one thing – danger.

Mindfulness – be present in the moment. Learn to engage your senses in what you are doing right now instead of constantly living in the past or the future.

Follow the above and you will be one of the few who practices mental wealth techniques!

Mandy X

 

3 thoughts on “What is mental wealth?

  1. Kyle

    Hi mandy! I have to say this is one of your better pieces. I feel the advice is pretty actionable. That being said, I was wondering how you approach attention training? I only ask because theories of attention have been a long favorite of mine and the idea of training my attention sounds like a cool exercise. Please let me know if you would want to converse about this topic a little more. Definitely gripped my interests.

    As always, keep up the great work.

    Kyle

    1. Mandy Kloppers Post author

      Hi Kyle,
      Attention training should be practised in short spurts throughout the day till it feels more natural. Say, 5 minutes, three times a day. There are various ways to do it:
      One is to put a song on (I do this in the car a lot) and make an effort to focus on the lyrics. Invariably, my attention gets distracted and I then put the song back to the beginning. You can also choose to focus on one instrument in a song, say the drums for example and then make a switch to the guitars.
      Another way to do this is to focus on bird song and then traffic sounds. It is all about making the conscious switch from one stimuli to another.
      You can also try internal focus and then external focus – this works well for people with social anxiety. Teaching external focus (looking at others and what they are doing/saying or an external object) helps ease social anxiety. Social anxiety is fuelled by the anxious self focus in social situations.
      Hope this sheds more light for you. Mandy X

      1. Kyle

        Mandy,
        Indeed it does. Thanks to your suggestion I am trying to focus and be with different types of music to see what resonates best with me. I appreciate the time you took to detail some action steps for me.

        All The Best,

        Kyle

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