Q: All I do is worry. Career. Friends. Boyfriend. Looks. etc. I know if I take a step back and assess my life logically, things aren’t so bad, and I know worrying won’t solve any problems. But worry infects my mind, and it consumes so much of life. How can I train or discipline my mind to stop worrying so much?
A: The mind is a powerful thing! Therefore, the first thing you have to do is learn about your mind. The practice of mindful meditation really helps us understand what is going on in our minds when we aren’t directing our attention towards it. The American Heart Association defines meditation as the “family of mental practices that are designed to improve concentration, increase awareness of the present moment, and to familiarize a person with the nature of their own mind.” The AHA also suggests that practicing meditation regularly shows increased electrical activation in the brain and significantly increased gray-matter density in the part of the brain responsible for the autonomic nervous system and cardio respiratory regulation. These changes lead to improvements in emotion regulation and self motivation! Emotion regulation allows us to be more in tune with and more in control of the emotions within our minds and bodies. Everyone has an internal dialogue going on in their minds. I refer to this as a CD set on repeat playing in the back of your head.
We can have control of this, or we can let it control us. Many times that internal dialogue gets set on a negative playlist. When this happens, anxiety and depression can run rampant. Check out some “mindfulness meditation“ videos online. Begin the practice of starting every day with a 10 minute mindfulness meditation to set that internal dialogue for the day on a positive playlist!
Q: Our world seems to have become so sensitive. Everyone is offended, or scared of offending someone. People seem to be walking on eggshells as the ‘thought police’ look to turn everyone into an offender or offended. Where is our world headed when such deep divisions are being created out of the littlest things?
A: Our world is definitely full of divisions! Divisions in religion. Divisions in politics. Divisions in parenting. Divisions in food choices. Divisions in language. I could go on and on! It is really easy for us to focus on how different everyone is and how different everyone’s views are. The truth though is that we are a country full of similarities! We are also a country full of individuals who strive to understand and appreciate differences. I believe the focus of the media is put on the divisions and the differences. They love to see chaos and disorder!
Over the years they have trained us to desire that chaos and disorder! We have the power to focus on the good! We are the people who get to choose how things go in our future and the future of those who follow. One person turns into two turns into 10,000 turns into an infinite number of people who are accepting and understanding of the beautiful differences existing among us. This country was designed to be the land of the free. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom of thought! If we can all remember this, maybe we can all learn to accept one another’s differences and appreciate how colorful and unique they make this beautiful world!
Writer, Speaker, Radio & Television Contributor, Dr. Misty Smith is the Founder and Managing Director of the Birmingham, Alabama based Mind, Body & Heart Wellness Clinic. She is an ASSECT Nationally recognized Certified Sex Therapist (CST), as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) of more than 15 years, who focuses on assisting individuals and couples to achieve their optimal emotional, relational, and sexual health through a results-oriented counseling process tailored to the needs of the individual or couple. In addition to being ASSECT Certified, Dr. Misty has a PhD in Counselor Education from Mississippi State University and her EdS in Counseling from the University of Alabama. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or mbhwellnessclinic.com.