Friday, December 31, 2010

Calming the Mind (MIND)

Angry man

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In the last post we talked about Contentment, Acceptance, Loving, and Mindfulness as a way to calm the mind. This is a way to deal with angry and worried thoughts. In this post I want to take this idea further and address Meditation, "I AM Worth it", Nurture, and Diversion as a way to deal with this type of thinking.

Meditation

I have previously posted on the subject of meditation here. Meditation is a contemplative awareness of your own thoughts, others, around you, and most importantly God. It is a deeper way of knowing what is going on. It is a discipline that requires much practice to become good at. Do not expect to meditate once and have calmness as a result. In fact meditation may take as long as three weeks practicing every day before a person starts to see the benefit.

I AM Worth it

OK I cheated on this one. I borrowed "I AM Worth it" from Dr. Redford Williams1. I AM Worth it is an acronym that helps you to remember four important questions.

Important: Is this important?

Appropriate: Is my anger appropriate for the given situation
Modify: Can I change my situation?

Worth it: Is change worth the effort?

Answering "Yes" to all of these would show that you have a problem to solve. Armed with this insight you can focus your energy toward an effective and productive solution. On the other hand answering "No" to any of these would show that you have a problem to cope with. This would mean that you need to find a way to get through and resolve your angry feelings.

Nurture

It is much easier to grow when there is someone to give you instruction, support, and encouragement. His/her nurturance is a powerful influence for growth. What can you do though when you are not with someone who can cheer you through the difficult moment. One thing to do is to develop some short phrases that you can say to yourself that will help you to self-nurture to a better outcome. Some suggestions for self-nurture comments would be:

"I can do this."
"I have faced situations more difficult than this before."
"When I figure this out I will be a better person."
"If I watch my reaction then I am effective in the way I respond"
"Cool Down."
"Take it easy."
"I am almost through this."
"I can to all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Maybe you can think of some of your own. The key to self-nurture statements is repetition. In the heat of the moment you do not want to search for the words. You want the words to come naturally. So identifying the phrases for yourself and practicing them is a good way to remember them.

Diversion

Diversion is a quick way to get the mind off of an angry moment. The way that it works is to find an activity that can get your mind off of things. Some might read a book, listen to music, do housework. For me doing yard-work is a good place to get my mind off of frustrations. A word of caution though; it does not work to divert your action, but leave your mind dwelling on the situation. The goal of the diversion is to get your mind off of the situations so that you calm down. One problem with using diversion all the time is that it becomes the bad habit of avoidance. If you have a problem that you are avoiding you will never solve the problem. Sometimes diversion for the moment, but then return to the problem at hand and addressing it is the best course of action compared to having an angry outburst.

What would it take for you to have a "CALM MIND?" Contentment, Acceptance, Loving, Mindfulness, Meditation, "I AM Worth it," Nurturance, and Diversion only work as you practice them. Having the idea of doing something is not the same as doing it. Trying it once is not the same as doing it well. If you want the have a CALM MIND it will take practice, repetition, and consistency. If make this commitment then you will find that you are able change your angry thoughts to more helpful and productive thinking. In the end you will cope and problem solve more effectively, which is something that I believe we can all work on.

God Bless You

 


1Duke Health Medicine Health Line (Nov. 26, 2007). Why Anger Kills. DukeHealth.org. Retrieved December 31, 2010, from http://www.dukehealth.org/health_library/health_articles/whyangerkills

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