Scientist say that a human mind at an average has 20,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. There are also data which says that 80% of all our thoughts are negative. In fact we train our own brain to think negative.
Sounds alarming!!! Well its not. Our mind was never designed to be happy or sad. It was wired for our survival. Simply put from the time of our evolution, it was always trying to sense and avoid danger, fight hunger and thirst and things more crucial for our survival. Decision making is more important to the brain than being creative and productive. But then over this long evolution, the functioning of the brain has also changed a lot.
Most of us pay a lot of attention to our physical health by doing regular exercise, eating properly and other ways to be fit. But often we fail to realize that mental health is as important to us as physical health is. But unfortunately, we hardly put any efforts to maintain our mental health. In our present lifestyle, with so much work pressure, stress and anxiety all around, it has become more than important to make a conscious effort to upkeep our mental health. Post-Covid 19, with social distancing becoming the norm, we shall be socializing lesser, eat out fewer times, go out for movies or arts even lesser. Life shall turn more solitary. That shall have a tremendous negative effect on our mental health.
The question therefore is how to keep the mind happy! We can control our mind in various ways, we can train it to be positive and thus affecting our overall feeling and wellbeing. In India we have seen our elders, grandparents and ancestors meditating. We have heard stories about how great yogis have the power to control any thing with their minds. We also have heard about people who are in a perpetual happy state of mind. So how is all this possible? Can all of us also do it?
To train your mind to be positive, you do not have to be a practicing yogi. Its simple and all of us can do it. The first thing to do is by observing your thoughts – even if it’s just for couple of minutes. When we start practicing this, at the very beginning similar negative thoughts shall come back creeping up in your mind. Anxiety about an upcoming trip? Stressed out work? A old fight you had with your spouse, friend or colleague? Once you know which is the issue which is bothering you the most, try to address the issue. If it’s a fight, reach out and talk about it. Put the thing at rest.
Next thing to do is to think about something positive, which happened during the day. If it is more than one thing, think about both. If nothing has happened today, think about some happy memory. Do this for at least 2 to 3 minutes every day before going to bed. Once you can do this easily, try doing it more frequently. Research shows this releases dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin in our brain, chemicals which makes us feel happy.
It is very important to understand what is really important in life. It is not the clothes in your closet or the number of properties you own. It is you who is important, your family and friends and society around you. These things make you happy and make you feel happier. So its important to take time out for yourself and do what you like, cook, paint, read a book, listen to music, anything which make you happy, talk to family and friends. The lockdown has made us realize this better that it is not the eating outs, trips and parties which bring joy to our lives. It is things which are much simpler than that. Sharing with the community is another thing which gives immense joy. It is not necessary to donate money. You can also donate time. Help people around you. All these help you to feel better and of course stay positive.
Keep away from too much news. Media today has reached amazing heights. It has its own benefits. We are far more aware about everything and that too in matter of minutes. Internet and smart devices have helped this even further. People are always getting news feeds, forwards which are often fake news, and overload of information. It is not always possible to filter the right from the wrong. So, it is best to ignore and disconnect yourself from all of this. Select some trusted sources for information and ensure that you follow only that. This misinformation definitely triggers unnecessary negative thoughts in your mind. Especially, when we have this pandemic in the world, news tend to be even more disturbing. These news disturb your mind and makes it less productive and creative.
Another important thing is to Take short breaks. The world as we know it shall change in going forward. We are moving towards a more virtual life. Classes shall be online, work from home shall be a norm. And this trend shall be growing more than not. While doing this we often get stuck to our computers or smart devices for very long stretches. This is extremely stressful though it does not seem like it. Your brain is getting overworked and the rest of your body is doing no physical activity. It is thus very important to take breaks. After every 30 mins to 45 mins take a short break of 3 to 5 mins. Walk around. Look out of the window. Make it a point to take a stroll for at least 30 mins a day. These things keep your mind calm.
The last thing is to take proper rest. Try to sleep for at least 7-8 hrs. a day. Have light meals in the night and minimize screen time just before going to bed. This shall ensure that you have a sound sleep. This deep sleep is required for your brain to cool down, remove all the harmful toxins and chemicals, and rejuvenate itself. Sleeping late night, watching something violent before bed, consuming alcohol before bed or even late dinners are all reasons to have a disturbed night sleep.
Life has changed and so we need to adapt these changes more than ever. Our lifestyle has to change also. Many things which were general good habits now must be made the norm. The faster we do it, the happier we shall be by being Positive.
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