by Linda Franklin
We spend so much time bogged down by anxieties, worries — and our drive to accumulate ‘more’, even though, ‘more’ really don’t guarantee that we will feel content.
In his book, Back To Sanity — Healing The Madness Of Our Minds, Steve Taylor argues that we are all slightly mad — but that it’s so intrinsic we’re not aware of it. This madness is the reason we focus our attention outside ourselves, and fill our lives with constant activity and distraction, like addicts who need a constant supply of a drug. It causes discord in relationships and impels us to search for well being and fulfilment outside ourselves, which of course, is impossible.
Studies show that the average person now watches 28 hours of television a week — its primary function is to put us into a mental slumber, to blot out reality; to take us out of ourselves and out of the present — so we don’t have to face our own thoughts and our own lives. But the more we run away from our thoughts and our reality, the more unsettled and anxious we feel.
So what are the thoughts we are running away from? Try this. Stop reading this posting and close your eyes.
After a few seconds you’ll probably become aware of the thoughts buzzing away inside your mind. Let them stream through your mind for about two minutes, then think back to the first thought that you were aware of, and retrace the steps from there to your final thought.
You’ll probably be amazed at the number of different thoughts you’ve had. This constant stream of thoughts can sometimes be pleasant but before too long your thoughts become negative. Worries, memories and fantasies about future scenarios whiz around our heads making us feel unsettled and uneasy.
We feel anxious even when there’s nothing tangible to feel anxious about. Sometimes this thought chatter is so habitual and firmly fixed it forms a script that goes constantly through our minds.
We spend most of our lives in a state of absence, either because we are thinking about the past or the future, or because we seek out distractions. With gadgets like BlackBerrys, eBook readers, iPads, smart phones and iPods, there is instant, easy access to external ‘elsewhere-ness’ in every situation.
Many people’s whole lives are based on pushing forward into the future, rushing around, trying to achieve ambitions and goals.
They wish away their lives by switching their attention from one future event to the next. Almost as soon as they are back from one holiday, they book another and start telling friends they can’t wait . . . or they spend their weekdays looking forward to the weekend.
One problem with the future is that at some point it becomes the present and it usually doesn’t live up to expectations, because you carry exactly the same background anxiety in your mind that you always do.
GETTING BACK TO SANITY
The good news is that despite its devastating effects, this kind of ego madness is neither deep-rooted nor permanent. We can all take steps to restore a sense of ease, wellbeing and harmony — moments when we are totally happy within ourselves and in the present moment.
But how can we do it?
Spend Time With Yourself
We need to make a conscious effort to spend time with ourselves, in our own mental space, even if at first it feels uncomfortable.
This means weaning ourselves off distractions, trying to reduce the time we spend watching TV, surfing the internet or shopping.
It may mean not having the radio on in the kitchen, or not sending texts on the train. Do it gradually.
Go For A Run
One of the most important things we need to do is to quieten our minds a little, slow down the thought-chatter. There are a lot of activities we can use for this: sports like swimming and running have a mind-quietening effect, as does walking in nature.
Listening to music, dancing, doing yoga or having sex can also bring about a feeling of harmony.
In these moments, everything just feels right.
The other main cause of ego madness is our sense of separateness — the way we feel we’re ‘in here’, inside our own mental space, with the rest of the world — including all other people — ‘out there’, on the other side. This sense of separateness creates a sense of incompleteness.
One way to overcome this is through connection — both with others and with nature.
Try doing something to help others. Research has shown that as well as making us happier, altruism makes us feel connected to something bigger.
The Real Cougar Woman is a 5-carat diamond who knows the importance of taking care of her health, beauty, relationships, finances and spirituality. Linda Franklin says,”there is no stopping a woman who has a strong belief system, passion and a dream. All things are possible”. Linda’s book, Don’t Ever Call Me Ma’am helps women of all ages tap into their power and live life to the fullest.