What is on your mind?

When Rose opened her eyes and checked on Jack, who was freezing to death in the Atlantic ocean’s waters, she shook him, trying desperately to wake him up, not accepting that he was dead. She fell apart in tears when she saw his body sinking into the deep ocean. That famous scene in the movie “Titanic” was a sorrowful moment, and everyone who was at the movie theater back in 1996 was tearing with Rose and feeling her pain as if it was theirs. I recall seeing that movie four times at the cinemas back then, but it was a chick flick movie, and I was in college in the US, but that is another story for another post.

Everyone at the movie theater back then knew it was only a movie but got emotionally charged with the scene nonetheless and felt the sadness of the scene as if it was real. Once people got out of the movie theater, they reminded themselves that it was just a movie and not real, and that thought again impacted their feelings, and thus their negative emotions related to the film went away. Why did that happen, you ask? Our thoughts become focused on the information we are getting from the scene we are watching or reading, and we get engaged in it. It creates a narrative in our minds derived from the information we receive and how it should make us feel. Our neurological system translates this narrative into emotions and feelings, and our mood and how we feel start reflecting our sad or negative thoughts.

The same thing is true in real life, where our thoughts project themselves on how we feel. When we fall into a trail of anxious thoughts created in our heads, we find ourselves building a whole scenario in our minds of what we assume happened; why she did not call back or what did he mean by those words he said, and we start to feel those fabricated thoughts as if they were real. Our state of mind, our emotions begin reflecting those thoughts. Not knowing the reasons make our anxious minds consider the made-up worst-case scenario, which is always negative.

There is nothing worse than getting caught up in a negative trail of thoughts. It wastes time and energy and ruins your whole day. Not to mention the unneeded stress it causes the close circle of people around you. Here are some suggestions on how to deal with it.

  • Live in the here and now. Learn to focus on the present moment and live it. Always be aware of your thoughts as they will control your mood all the time, so make sure your thoughts are always in your favor, and if you slip, stop, reassess, and change your thoughts right away. Quoting Jim Rohn, “Wherever you are, be there.” If you are with your family, be there, enjoy the moment, and don’t be with them while your mind is at the office, on social media, or anything else not related to the present moment. Vice versa, if you are at the office, be there and don’t have your mindset distracted elsewhere.
  • Have strong standards in your life. Having standards means that your motivation and what gets you going comes from within, and external factors do not drive it. It means you know your boundaries and will not allow any external factors to cross them, be it people or thoughts. They will make you always focus on what matters to you, and no one can take that from you if you are true to your standards.
  • Remember your blessings. No matter what we are going through, our blessings in life will outweigh our sorrows. Remind yourself of your blessings every day and before you go to bed every night. Those reminders will give you peace and serenity in the most challenging moments. Be grateful for all the little things in your life, and you will be surprised how that will change your mood for the better and increase the dopamine hormone (aka happiness hormone) in your blood. You can read more about this in one of my previous posts titled “Be Grateful.”
  • Breath Anxiety out. I am no expert in breathing, but lately, I have been reading about how it helps regulate your thoughts and gives you comfort. I am reading a fascinating book called “Innercise” by John Assaraf. One of the exercises in the book teaches the reader how to take six deep, long breaths from the nose and then slowly exhale from the mouth, with a focused mindset on what you want. Do it six times in a row, inhaling positive thoughts and exhaling negative thoughts. For example, while inhaling, say something like “I inhale peace or positivity,” While exhaling, say something like “I let go of stress and pain.”

2021 is almost over. Go through all that happened this year, the good and bad moments. Be grateful for the goods, write them down, appreciate them, acknowledge them, and pat yourself on the back. Then write down the lessons you got from bad moments to avoid them in the future. Most importantly, track your growth, your learnings, and be sure you got better vs. a year ago in all aspects of your life, personally, career-wise, and financially, and that you got wiser and better at managing your life. While you are at it, set your 2022 goals and keep track of your progress for your review next year.

Then say to yourself, “2022 bring it on; I am ready.”

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tony Berkley says:

    Great wisdom and insight as always, Rakan. “2022 I am ready, bring it on.” i love the mantra.

  2. Hatoon says:

    Well, the post made me think. I think being trapped in trails of negative thoughts is inevitable for us as human beings. Understanding and regulating those thoughts and letting them pass is healthy. We also need to remind ourselves that they are only thoughts like you said, they are not necessarily true, and they don’t represent me as a person unless I act upon them. On the other hand, some people tend to have this behavioural pattern of having negative thoughts, and they deal with people based on them, and this is a representation of سوء الظن. I admit that sometimes the blurred line between being سئ ظن and naive become invisible to me, and usually, I decide to be electively naive :). Thanks for the post and happy new year

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