“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” –Albert Einstein
It was estimated by experts that our mind thinks between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. We may not be aware of what these thoughts are, but it’s always in our subconscious. That is why we, humans, are considered as the highest form of animal. We can think and process what those thoughts are.
The stream of thoughts continues to run in our minds whatever we do. Even when we are talking to someone, our mind doesn’t just focus on that person alone. We can never shut down our brains just because we want to. However, time will come when those thoughts would cause disarray. And, we all know mental exhaustion is more difficult to overcome than physical exhaustion, and the former causes more damage than the latter.
Even though physical fatigue has little to no impact on mental alertness, the reverse is true—the psychological realm has a great deal of impact on the physical. This is how a competitive decline takes root under conditions of sleep loss.
Sometimes, it took us a while to notice our brain is carrying too much baggage. When we do, we find ourselves on the verge of losing it. That’s why decluttering our minds is extremely important to prevent wasting time and mental energy. Here are some tips that can help free ourselves from thoughts that are dragging us down.
1. Overcome self-pity
In our journey through life, we will all have to face suffering, losses, and defeat. No one is exempted, no matter what status you hold in society. It is normal to feel sad and disappointed, we should not deny ourselves those emotions. It’s healthy. What we shouldn’t do is self- pity.
Instead of getting over your misfortune and trying again, self-pity will just push you deeper into the brink of helplessness and defeat. You will lose sight of your goal, what you’ll see is how the failures of the past mirrored in your future, bringing only unnecessary negativity in your life.
Instead of feeling self-pity, learn how to develop self- compassion. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself like a dear friend. Acknowledge what happens and let yourself be sad, but don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back. Change your words from a pessimistic standpoint to full of optimism. Instead of saying “I’m stuck in this kind of life. I will never succeed. I am such a loser,” say “Life is hard now but I won’t surrender, I will work even harder and I know I will get through this.”
We may be ourselves greatest critic, but let us not forget to give ourselves a break. Let’s learn the art of pep-talking instead, it will boost our confidence and is a big help in our mental health.
Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure, and separates the victim from reality. – John W. Gardner
2. Defy Self-doubt
Whoever feels 100% confident in doing something, never questioning if you can do it or doubting if what you did was good enough? I guess no one is. At one point in our lives, we all feel uncertain of ourselves. It’s normal, self-doubt is what pushes us to improve and be better. However, it can also have a negative impact on our behavior.
Self-doubt is one of the reasons we question our value. When we start to question our value, that’s also the start we feel self-pity. It’s a chain reaction. Take for example people who got cheated on by their partner. The fact that they were left behind by their loved ones will ultimately give them ideas like they are not good enough, or they are not worthy of love.
Another thing is, when we doubt our competence, it might bring the cowardice in us. Our brain will be full of negativity, and instead of trying, we let an opportunity go just because we are afraid we cannot do it.
We will never know what the result is unless we try. Challenging ourselves is the only way we can reach our full potential. Instead of saying “I can’t do it,” say “I will do it, and I will give my best.” Change your mindset and success will be on your reach.
When attempting to overcome self-doubt, some may find it beneficial to focus on the present moment rather than past failures.
3. Unload emotions
Keeping all your emotions to yourself can cause more harm than good. It’s like a ticking bomb waiting to explode. When it does, you are not the only one affected, your relationship to the people around you will also be put into test.
Families and friends are not put in your life for no reason. Talk to someone you are most comfortable with, and whom you put your complete trust on, then let your emotions go. Pour your heart out, cry if you must. Those pent up emotions are spreading toxicity in your life.
And, if you are like me who finds it hard to express what I truly feel, get your pen and paper and write it all out. Write everything, every emotion you cannot express, and all the things you keep in your mind and your heart. Let yourself free from its hold.
Being mentally strong isn’t about stifling your emotions and ignoring your pain. After all, it takes strength to allow yourself to feel sad, anxious, and scared.- Amy Morin
4. Spend time with yourself
One of the things that help me get through an emotional turmoil is by going somewhere alone. Whether I check in a hotel, not living until I check out, or going somewhere close to nature. It doesn’t mean I’m running away from my problems; it is actually my first step in taking action in solving my problems. It allows me to evaluate what I did wrong and gives me the time and space to think of solutions free from biases. Also, it gives me time to rest; physically, emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually.
Interested to start practicing meditation? Find out the different types of meditation and see what suits best for you.