Our minds are complex things. They think, feel, and give us all kinds of subtle hints when things don’t feel quite right.
Although most are aware of our brain’s complexities, many of us struggle to identify when we’re not getting the most out of them.
Dr Jo Mitchell, Clinical Psychologist at The Mind Room, explained that our mind is “this amazing machine, kind of like a Ferrari, but we drive it around like it’s a bombed out old ute.”
There are some tell-tale signs that you need to give your mind a service, and luckily they’re pretty easy to spot.
1. You’re easily stressed or overwhelmed
Stress can often sneak up on us. It may present itself in a snappy remark to a loved one or your mind constantly running through the never-ending list of things to do.
It not only makes life seem more difficult, but it’s also a sign that you may not be getting the most out of your mind.
2. You don’t feel satisfied
Not feeling satisfied with where you’re at with your life can be another good indication that you’re not using your mind to its full potential.
For some of us, this may be obvious, like feeling dissatisfied with your role at work. For others, it can be subtler, or a feeling of “quiet dissatisfaction” says Jo.
3. Having issues in important life domains
This may be seen in your relationships, work, parenting or more generally your performance in life. Wherever it pops up though, having expected or unexpected issues in your day-to-day life can be incredibly distressing, and may be as a result of a cluttered mind.
So once you’ve identified the signs, what comes next?
In keeping with our earlier Ferrari metaphor, Jo’s advice for getting the most out of our mind is simple, “It’s about learning how to drive it properly.”
1. Take notice
According to Jo, “most of us go through on autopilot and don’t recognise what our mind and body are actually telling us.”
As a result, the simplest thing we can do is to take notice of how you’re reacting to what’s happening in your life, and the thoughts that may be running through your head. Learn to recognise your habits of mind.
2. Be your own scientist
After taking notice of your thoughts, Jo explained it’s important to “be curious about your experience.” This means taking an interest in the thoughts you’re having without attaching positive or negative emotion to them. Notice how they are just thoughts, or suggestions rather than instructions for how to live your life. You decide which ones you listen to.
3. Think about how you want to live your life
Finally, identifying where we want to be in our life can be crucial to achieving a super mind. This involves identifying your values and working towards living a life that supports them.
Jo suggests , ““doing a values clarification exercise, like the Values Ink app, can help you get started.”
Importantly, intentionally making time to take care of your mind is key to getting the most out of it. Instead of getting swept up in the mental chatter, learn how to manage your mind so you can lead a purposeful and connected life.