The mind is constantly thinking all the time. Even when we are sleeping, the mind is at work. Even if we do not remember what is happening during sleep, the mind is thinking. Thoughts or mental activity also includes dreams, day dreaming and fantasizing. Therefore, just like the heart, the mind also keeps its activities going till we die. The primary role of the mind is to make itself and the body constantly aware that it is ‘alive’. It cannot do this alone and requires organs of action like the eyes, ears, hands, legs, skin and nose.
This constant thinking leads to stress. Since we think so much all the time, there are bound to be some thoughts which cause stress. Even thoughts in your sleep or dreams can cause stress. We think that since this a natural process, thoughts are bound to come and we cannot control the kind of thoughts we get. This is not true. We can control our thought process. To know how to do that, we must understand how the mind functions.
The mind broadly has a three stage process which explains the entire thought process cycle.
- Receiving inputs – the mind receives inputs from the organs, external and internal. The external organs bring in external stimuli like sound, sight, smell, touch, grasping, force, pressure, taste, etc. The internal organs send inputs like internal disturbances. These could be aches, pain, internal discomfort, disease, indigestion and so on.
- Analyze and compartmentalize –All the inputs received are ‘perceived’ and analyzed by the brain. The inputs are categorized in two; like and dislike. Everything you like or are neutral about falls under the ‘Like’ category. Everything else is dislike.
- Action – Based on the above, the brain directs the organs to take action. The action in turn will generate more inputs and the cycle continues till you die. The more we categorize things and situations as ‘dislike’, the greater is the tendency to act in a way which causes more dislike inputs.
This thought process of being aware and acting as human causes all the problems. There is nothing you can do about the third stage, i.e. action. Changes can only be made at the first two stages.
- The input stage can be partially managed by consciously seeking the right kind of inputs. That is why it has always been said that stay with the right kind of company, do the right kind of work, listen to the right kind of music. We can create a very conducive environment for ourselves and our families. The mind will thus start getting trained. It is therefore, also important not to expose children to certain things and train them not to dislike anything or anyone. However, there are instances when inputs come in by default. You will smell, see things and hear things all the time. It is unavoidable. This can be managed in the second stage.
- The second stage is where a lot of changes can be made. The way you analyze and compartmentalize can be gradually changed. If most of the external inputs start getting slotted as ‘Like’, or ‘neutral’, the mind will send the right kind of directions to the body. This will trigger a positive cycle where most things are liked resulting in positive actions. This in turn will constantly keep the mind calm. You will find most of your problems will disappear if this positive cycle starts.
Start becoming neutral and liking more in life. Reprogramming your mind is not as difficult as we think. One of the best ways to do so is to opt for one of our relevant stress management programs.