Mind Management: Harnessing the power of your thoughts and emotions

4 min read

Education & Career Trends: April 5, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Mind management is a skill we can all develop to move past mental obstacles that keep us from reaching peak levels of accomplishment. (Image Credit: Canva)

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While you struggle to get out of bed in the morning to do your workout, you are losing a  battle with your mind, writes Prof Debashis Chatterjee. He further says The only thing you can control in this vast universe is your mind. Even your body is beyond your control as it is hurtled through space by a spinning earth. The world outside your mind, your circumstances, your situations, your people – all of them function independently. You have no control over them either.

The mind is a multipurpose vehicle that you can learn to ride and control. A vehicle has four functions: start, stop, brake and accelerate.

The mind too has four dimensions: rationality, emotional response, willpower and ingenuity.

All you can do is to regulate the mind to fall in line with your intention.

  • The drives of the mind accelerate your will.
  • The rational mind acts as a brake.
  • Emotions fuel your action outward.
  • Ingenuity guides your actions through unexplored paths.

However, why is it that some people have a strong command over their minds, while others struggle to function effectively in this respect?

The answer may be found in what Ms Farrah Smith has to say.

Do you ever wonder how some people appear to have an easier time navigating difficult conversations with peers, making group presentations, or networking in a room full of strangers, she asks and goes on to say It’s not that they were born with a gene for courage.

Instead, they learned how to manage their minds and the body’s natural reaction to fear and uncertainty. It’s a skill we can all develop if we want to move past mental obstacles that keep us from reaching peak levels of accomplishment.

Here are the ways in which you can rewire your thoughts to overcome obstacles:

1. Understand the functioning of your nervous system

  • The fight-flight-freeze response is a survival instinct that our ancient ancestors developed eons ago.
  • When threatened, our amygdala, (the brain’s “panic button”) activates the sympathetic nervous system, releasing stress hormones that prepare our bodies to fight, run away or hide.
  • The problem is that same response can be triggered by psychological threats such as preparing for an important interview.
  • As a result, your heart starts to pound fast, your breathing increases and your muscles get tense.
  • The key is to recognise when your thoughts have triggered this response so you can take action to tell yourself you are safe.
  • This can be done by activating the parasympathetic nervous system and returning your body to a regulated state.
  • From here, your prefrontal cortex will come back online and you can proceed with confident action. 

2. Get off autopilot     

  • One of the best ways to keep the amygdala from taking over your emotions is to be more mindful as you move throughout your day.
  • When you practise mindfulness, your prefrontal cortex stays in charge and you are less likely to make impulsive decisions.

Here are a few relaxation techniques you can use to trigger your parasympathetic nervous system and self-aware:

  • Take a few deep abdominal breaths
  • Focus on a calming word
  • Visualise a peaceful image

Science shows our body can go from stressed to calm within 60 seconds. 

3. Practise compassion

  • We might believe berating ourselves is a helpful tool for motivation, but science has proven otherwise.
  • When you practise self-compassion, you shift your body chemistry, changing your emotional experience.
  • Research shows that compassion is a powerful prompt for the release of oxytocin.
  • High levels of oxytocin increase feelings of safety, lowering cortisol levels, making us feel better and allowing the body to operate at a more optimum level. 

Understanding the inner workings of the brain and the physiology behind how thoughts directly impact emotions and behaviour is knowledge that every professional should have. 

It is impossible to eliminate stress from your life altogether, but if you understand how to work around your brain’s tendencies, you can transform your mind from an obstacle into the greatest tool for reaching your fullest potential.

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

The Great Recalibration: Attracting & Retaining Talent during the ‘Great Resignation’

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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