Do you ever wonder if you are the only person on the planet with the continual worries and ruminations you face? Do you fret throughout the day, first thing in the morning, last thing at night, and sometimes experience anxiety to boot? When your mind wanders, do you worry about the past or the future?
If you do any of these things, don’t worry: because everyone tends to worry when their mind wanders. In the book Stress-Free Living by the world-renowned Mayo clinic, Amit Sood tells us that when our minds aren’t focused on something external, they are instead focused on past ruminations and future worries. As humans in a fallen world, as the Christian bible refers to this realm, we all harbor guilt, pain, fear, and worry. Worse than that, our minds belabor these worries and ruminations at any time when our thoughts aren’t preoccupied with an external focus. It generally doesn’t feel great to be a mind-wandering human, unless, that is, we learn how to control our minds.
In this multipart write-up, I hope to encapsulate some of the gems in the Mayo Clinic book to help you cope with both everyday living and the periodic excruciating exams of online university.
Hum While Showering
I wondered why I get so stressed when I bathe. I now realize that leisurely bathing leads to mind wandering. When my mind wanders, I often think of worries and stressors that trigger alarm bells.
I used to spend hours reading multiple books while in the tub, but then I would start worrying about getting the book wet or losing my page. As a result, I formed into a worrywart while sitting in the tub. Believe it or not, I would get so stressed that I would forget whether or not I had just shampooed or cream rinsed my hair. In other words, I would start to panic.
As a poorly thought avoidance strategy, I started to shower instead. A brief shower allowed me to keep my thoughts from wandering, and so, temporarily, my avoidance behavior was rewarded. But what that means is that I’m still fearful of bathing.
But, Amit Sood says to stay in the moment when you shower: hum when you shower and notice the feel of the water. Notice the smell of the soap. By being in the moment, you train your thoughts to avoid the automatic worries and ruminations. don’t try planning your day’s activities while showering, as planning often leads to mind wandering, which leads to counterproductive worries. Instead, focus your thoughts on being in the present.
Greet Your Loved Ones with Joy
Every day when I get together with my loved one, I feel a burst of joy. Just seeing his sweet face and gorgeous smile as he comes to rescue me from the vagaries of the world fills me with utter happiness. I hardly contain my excitement at seeing him. I gush with love, with kind words, with the desire to hug him and never let go, every time I open the door to greet him. I grieve each time we part, and begin countdown to when I get to see him again. The times I have had with him have been the happiest times of my life. No one has treated me with the kindness he treats me with on a daily basis.
I have no qualms with gushing love at every sighting of my true love, but some of us might need help with greeting loved ones with joy. Amit Sood calls on you (on page 71) to greet your loved one as if it is the first time in a long time since your last meeting. Savor the moment you meet and the time together as if your loved one has returned from a long separation, say to a foreign country. During that greeting and time spent together, be sure to shower your loved one with compassion, respect, acceptance, appreciation, validation, and empowerment.
I never knew the value of not judging others until I started practicing it. And?wow! Not judging others gives me more happiness and inner peace than ever before. I feel so liberated by the act of not judging others that I wonder how this treasure trove action hasn’t become a mainstay in everyone’s life. By not judging, I feel so elated, so connected with myself and with others, true to my most inward nature. I feel like I’m the major benefactor of my positive behavior, although I know that others benefit, too. How could anyone live a life of judgment when it feels heavenly to abandon all criticisms of others? Try being patient and easy on others, nonjudgmental, for a day, and you’ll notice a lightheaded, blissful feeling.
Amit Sood says to never look toward other people’s shortcomings. When we judge others, they shy away from us and become defensive. In judging others, we don’t connect with them on a healthy level. don’t try to change people or instruct them to improve. If we accept others, they will feel more compelled to make improvements. Besides, when we don’t judge others, we tend to feel judged less ourselves.
I like to give a lot more attention and affection to others than they tend to like to receive. At work, I used to say hello and broadly smile at anyone and everyone who passed by my desk. Often, people would start to ignore me by the fifth hello. One of my stepparents ignores me after the first hello. One hello is more than she can handle in a day. But, I genuinely love giving people attention and affection.
Amit Sood talks about the four A’s of kindness, which we should all develop and nurture: attention, appreciation, admiration, and affection. When you respond to people with these emphases, you let them know that they are special. In letting them know they are special, you bolster self-esteem and confidence. In doing so, they will more likely see what is special in you. Everyone wins when we give positive affirmations to others.