The main reason I started yoga was to feel better. Physically and mentally.
Like you, I have a busy mind. I have a constant narrative or chatter going on in my head:
- sometimes I’m narrating what I’m doing.
- sometimes I repeat past conversations (especially the things I wished I’d said).
- often I have silly songs stuck in my head.
- I tell myself what could go wrong, and
- I’m often criticising myself – even for things that haven’t happened yet.
I understand what it’s like to have a noisy, busy mind.
When I started meditation, I had this belief that my thoughts would magically disappear, and I would become enlightened. That didn’t happen.
But I did learn something really powerful. Something I practice every day. I don’t even need to meditate to do this. I can just think about it, and it changes how I think, feel and act.
It’s something so fundamental to yoga, but not many people talk about it. Or maybe I didn’t listen until I needed to learn the lesson myself?
The game-changer for me and my number one tip for a happier mind is this…
We are not our thoughts.
I’d never heard this before I started yoga. Like most people, I derived my sense of identity from my thoughts. My thoughts and way of thinking were what made me “me”.
I used to be lost in thought. I was overwhelmed by thoughts. I was victimised by my negative thoughts.
When I first heard the statement that I’m not my thoughts, it had me immediately spiralling into the questions of who am I if I’m not my thoughts?
Lucky yoga has the answer to that. We are the witness or observers of our thoughts. Hearing this is one thing; experiencing it was a game-changer for me.
Once I learned how to step back from my thoughts and recognise that I’m not my thoughts and that my thoughts are just objects in my field of awareness, I felt an immediate sense of peace.
We are not our thoughts is more powerful than a reframe. It unlocks the door to one of life’s greatest mysteries, and I’m so lucky to have found that key to understanding the mystery of the mind.
Becoming the witness or observer of our thoughts doesn’t just help us feel better. It’s a powerful perspective to maintain in everyday life too. When I’m operating out of witness consciousness, I make much better decisions, I’m in greater control over my thoughts and feelings, I’m more observant, less reactive and much more effective in all aspects of my life.
Meditation is the tool I use to maintain this perspective. We need to experience and embody this perspective to change the way we think. And Meditation generates awareness so that we can choose to step back from our thoughts rather than being lost in thought.
The second secret to a happier mind is this:
Our thoughts aren’t always true.
Sometimes our thoughts are true.
Sometimes our thoughts are a partial truth.
But far too often, our thoughts are just plain wrong.
The problem is that we tend to believe what we think. And we try to understand ourselves and the world around us through the lens of our mind and our thoughts. And so we begin to believe all the shitty things we say to ourselves. We feel terrible when we believe all those negative things we say to ourselves.
Our mind isn’t designed for our happiness. In fact, it has a negativity bias which means we often perceive positive or neutral situations through a negative lens.
No one knows how many thoughts we have in a day, but some estimate it to be around 80000. And if most of those thoughts are negative and untrue, it’s no wonder we feel bad.
“Our thoughts aren’t true” can give us a whole new perspective on our inner workings. And a change in perspective can be a real turning point for breaking the habit of negative thinking.
The difference between knowledge and wisdom
Knowledge is learning information, facts and truths, while wisdom is the practical ability to make consistently good decisions in life.
The best way to apply these two axioms and develop the wisdom of a happier mind is through meditation. But most people avoid meditation because:
- They don’t know how to do it
- They have no support to overcome their initial resistance.
Learning to meditate isn’t just about relaxation or calming the mind. Meditation generates awareness, and we need awareness to catch ourselves in a negative thought spiral, challenge our negative thoughts and consciously choose to think different thoughts.
Learn how to meditate
We can learn meditation from books. We can watch videos and YouTubes. Or we can learn from a teacher who is in the meditation trenches with us, who understands what it’s like to have a busy mind and one who can support you to overcome your mental hurdles.
A calm mind makes life easier. We think better, are more creative, and we make better decisions with a clear head.
Learning how to keep calm during uncertain times is the ultimate life hack that will give us the mental edge at work, create more connections in our relationships ad helps us to feel better about ourselves.
We can teach you how to meditate. We can teach you how your mind works, how to calm it down, overcome resistance, and create habits that stick.
If you want less stress, if you want to stop overthinking, if you want to learn how to calm your mind, then you’re invited to join us on 42 days of meditation to create The Meditation Habit.