Our mind is like a double-edged sword. When cultivated properly, it becomes a source of great power. Also, it is programmed to keep us away from danger—to intuitively avoid a speeding car, to make quick decisions when under pressure. But when we choose to become unmindful of what we feed our mind, it may lead us to our destruction – addiction to drugs, harmful habits, or inaction due to anxiety.
Our mind is incredibly bossy.
According to lifehack, before you can become the master of your mind, it is necessary to know what goes on up there. Recognizing that you are currently at the mercy of four unwanted and controlling “obstacles” living in your mind, gives you the upper hand. If you want to conquer these “obstacles”, you must know what they are and what they can lead to, then you can take charge and choose your thoughts.
“You are free to choose your own thoughts.“
– Albert Hobohm
What thoughts control us?
- Inner Criticism
This is your constant abuser within that is influenced by pain, low self-esteem, and rejection. It is often worsened by involving other people’s perspectives and expectations, self-comparison, and self-doubt.
- Impulsive Reactions
Anger, frustration, and pain are a few of these very hard to control reactions. These stem from discomfort, loneliness, expectations, or to some extreme extent any experience, sounds, or smells that are closely related to a past wound.
This factor is influenced by the countless “what ifs” and is constantly restrained by life’s uncertainty. The act of constant worrying is usually motivated by fear and undying anxiety, which often happens to be irrational and has no basis.
Social Media – A modern day distraction
About 210 million people are suffering from internet or social media addiction worldwide. And as the number of sleep-deprived people caused by mobile use before bed continues to rise, teens and young adults are increasingly reporting that social media can also be a source of stress.
Unconsciously, we, especially teenagers, tend to compare ourselves to what we see online —the perfect face, the best night out, the fancy dresses— and yet still find ourselves scrolling more and more.
Similarly, the fear of missing out seems to be a problem for any of us. So we use social media to catch up, hang out, and stay connected. But the problem is there’s always something new and we still feel left out even with all these exposures to social media applications. So now we use it even more! Then the cycle goes on and on.
But how does this seemingly external activity control us and affect our mindfulness? Just like our internal thoughts, social media distracts us in countless ways. Even a passive scroll through different social media apps takes a lot more time than we imagine therefore controlling our time. Comparing ourselves to others triggers jealousy and therefore inner criticism. And worry may be a product of the fear of missing out in a similar way that pain may be a result of unmet expectations.
Basically, social media is a potent cause of the unwanted controlling thoughts, emotions and distractions towards mindfulness.
How do we deal with these obstacles?
Our mind tends to be strongly controlling and is so habitual that we often fail to realize when it tries to push our wisdom and natural sense of ease within.
Unfortunately, there is no book nor course that could serve as a guide to changing the nature of our mind.
Social media is a potent cause of unwanted controlling thoughts, emotions, and distractions towards mindfulness.
As defined by Oxford Languages, mindfulness is the practice of paying attention in the present moment and doing it intentionally and with non-judgment. Meditation practices involving mindfulness, on the other hand, refer to the deliberate acts of regulating attention through the observation of thoughts, emotions, and body states. Typical mindfulness activities include:
- Breathing exercises
- Restraining Mental intake
What can mindfulness do for you?
Activities that greatly involve mindfulness can improve one’s ability in managing stress, increase focus and concentration, emotional intelligence, empathy and understanding of others, and one’s resilience. Most importantly, having oneself involved in mindfulness activities can lead to a positive impact on the development of the overall well-being of a person.
A key takeaway for you
When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind
Today, take some time out and ponder on how often you choose to be the type of person who actively and mindfully thinks about what you mentally consume. Are you someone who can control your thoughts? Are you the master of your mind yet?
“Thoughts become perception, perception becomes reality. Alter your thoughts, alter your reality“
– Albert Hobohm
Managing Social Media Stress With Mindfulness by Rachel Ehmke
You might also want to watch this insightful Ted talk about how to stop thoughts from controlling you: