Anyone can become Angry – that is very EASY but to be angry with the Right Person, to the Right Degree, at the Right Time, For the Right Purpose, and in the Right Way – THAT IS NOT EASY.
– Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics.
If I ask you who has been your constant companion in life so far or who will be your constant companion until your last breath? Your parents, spouse, friends, kids? No! Only our mind and our body are our constant companions. How often do we put in efforts to take care of them? Since we were kids we were taught to take care of our body in form of grooming or exercising etc. but what about our mind and brain? Mind is a powerful system whose location in the brain is still a debate but its existence and its power to influence one’s life are beyond question. The question is how do we take care of our minds? Wouldn’t we want a healthy relationship with someone with whom we spend our life? Just like acceptance, respect and listening make a strong base of any healthy relationship so it does for our mind as well.
In order to get the best of our mind, we need to understand how it works. Our mind is primarily driven by emotions. Thus we need to understand and increase our acceptance of whatever emotions we feel. There are no good and bad emotions. Just like each body part has its functional value for survival so does emotions. Each emotion helps us to be productive and progressive in life, for instance, imagine what if as apes we did not have an element of fear? Or even today without fear we would be reckless not only for our lives but also for the life of others. If we did not have that little anxiety for our exams, results, or presentation, we would not put in our best efforts. It’s because of fear of failure that we work hard for our exams, if one is not scared of losing a job or promotion one would not give their best. The important thing to remember is that essence lies in feeling this emotion in the right amount.
Now, what’s the right amount of emotions? It’s simple, as long as they help you to be positively productive it’s the right amount. When your emotions stop you from being productive one need to take the right action. Our body and mind constantly talks to us. We have to learn to listen to those signs like when in pain our body is telling us that something inside is not right and it needs our attention. Our body and mind are connected and most of our physical illnesses are psychosomatic in nature. These signs could be – worrying to the extent that it doesn’t allow the person to concentrate and to reach any productive solution, preoccupied and reoccurring thoughts, frustration, stress, etc. Physiologically when the emotions are overwhelming it shows up in form of our physical illness like headaches, fever, cough, and cold (we have often experienced these as students where we often complain about headaches, fever or cough and cold before exams or presentation). Basically, our weak organ is affected first.
Once we learn to listen it helps us to understand and accept things in healthy ways. Recognition of our emotions helps us to respond to the situation than reacting to any situation.
Like poison kills poison, counter questioning our thoughts will help us to fight and calm down our negative and self-defeating thoughts.
To counter-question our thoughts we need to learn ABCD of thinking.
A – Active event
B – Belief/ thoughts
C – Consequence ( emotional/ behavioural)
D – Dispute with evidence
Our thoughts and beliefs about a particular event decide how we will survive that situation emotionally and behaviourally both. If you think the consequences are not desirable use the
D – Dispute them with evidence
Let us understand that with an example where Covid19 infection is spreading.
If I have the belief system that it is spreading at such a great speed and there is no vaccine, people are dying all around the world, I too will be affected.
Now here the consequences might be that a person will always keep on worrying, and will be scared and won’t be able to concentrate on daily chores which would lead to frustration, stress, and ultimately disturb the entire family as well.
Now using the D – dispute with evidence
Ask yourself –
- Am I overthinking and exaggerating this?
- As an outside viewer how would I handle this situation or if my friend was in this situation what would I advise them?
- Is thinking like this helping me?
- What can I do in this situation to overcome these things healthily?
- Pen down your answers and reflect.
This was how you can control your negative thoughts. Now how to maintain your positive moods?
Keep a happiness jar – Whenever something makes you happy write it down on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Every quarterly, open the jar and read what you wrote ( as humans we tend to remember negative thoughts more than positive so this will help you to strike a balance and stay positive).
Listen to music – Researches prove good music helps us to calm our anxiety and feel relaxed and soothe us. It also helps us to strengthen our immune system.
Keep a mood journal – This will help you to track your moods and you can take timely action before it’s too late.
Count on your blessings and practice gratitude- Mention at least three things before going to bed in a book about which you are grateful
Exercise – Researchers have proved that even 30 min of cardio helps us to increase happy hormones like endorphins dopamine norepinephrine etc. This helps us to be happy, positive, and hopeful also it helps in enhancing thinking processes.
At least 7 hours of night sleep is the need of our body. It’s the time needed by our body to reboot itself and to work in its best capacity and maintain positive moods.
Have 30 min a day for yourself and persuade your hobbies and take charge of your happiness.
Once a week play different games with family members as it will help to maintain the excitement. Have at least one meal with family without watching television.
Written by: Shraddha Sata