Category: Letting Go

Mental Habits, Nutriment and Happiness

Mental Habits, Nutriment and Happiness

The Pattern that leads to Depression 

As I see more and more patients, especially the elderly, and especially during this Covid-19 pandemic, I see a pattern.   

This is the pattern – our mental states, whether happy or otherwise, is very dependent on our mental habits that we have cultivated and strengthened over time.  

This is especially so in the elderly because as we grow older, our mental states tend to be dependent on our dominant mental habits. As we start to lose control over some of our physical functions, we seem to also gradually lose control over our ability to direct our mind. Thus, our mental habits become the dominant determinant of our mental states. 

This loss of control over our life is a source of fear for us, and especially so for the elderly. This fear, coupled with the dominant mental habits, become the trigger for anxiety and depression. 

Thus, if we have the mental habit of wanting to control people, circumstances or outcomes, we become fearful in old age as we gradually lose control. If we have the mental habits of focusing on the negative, we become more worrisome over time, and again, this leads to more anxiety and depression. 

Training the Mind 

Another pattern that I notice is this – it becomes increasingly difficult to train the mind as we grow older. This is understandable as we become more and more set in our mental habits, in our ways.  

Therefore, the wise advice of the ancient sages – that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second-best time to do so is now. The best time to cultivate and train our mind is 20 years ago, but if we have not started, now is the second-best time to do so. 

What kind of mental habits should we cultivate, and how do we do that? 

Well, one of the best mental habits that we can cultivate, that will continue to be beneficial for us now and into the future, is the habit of focusing on the positive. Learn to see the positive in any situation. In fact, if you can see the positive in even the most negative situation, then you have won a prize hard to gain even though you may have lost something else. Therefore, train your mind to see the positive in any situation. 

One effective way of seeing the positive in any situation is to learn gratitude. Gratitude trains our mind to see the good in everything. Open your eyes in the morning and you can be grateful for being alive. Walk into the bathroom and you can be grateful that you are still mobile and strong. Eat your breakfast and be grateful that you have food on the table. Walk outside your house or go to work, and be grateful of the freedom that you still have. Return home at night and be grateful that you have lived another day. There is just so many things you can train your mind to be grateful for.  

Secondly, unlearn the habit of wanting to control people, situations or outcomes. Learn to accept things as they come to you. Be OK with whatever comes along. Just make the best of the situation. Look for your best possible response to the situation that is beneficial to both you and those involved. Let go of your fear or feeling of discomfort at not being able to control the outcome. If the fear or unpleasant feeling persists, be OK with that too. Just learn to watch your fear or discomfort non-judgmentally, and see that they will dissipate with time. They will go away when you don’t feed them with your judgment. On the other hand, if you do feed them with your attention and judgment, they grow stronger and more persistent. This is the wisdom of non-judgmental awareness, and the insight or realization that you will gain. This is also the concept of nutriment is action.  

Too Old to Train the Mind? Try Chanting 

It is often said that “you can’t train an old dog new tricks”. Although not an absolute rule, this observation is generally accurate. It is difficult to train your mind when you are old because you already have a strong set of mental habits. So, start training your mind when you are young. Start now. 

For those who find it difficult to train your mind now, you can try chanting. Chanting, done regularly and diligently, is also a form of mind training. When you chant, you are focusing your mind on something positive or neutral, and therefore not focusing on the negative. The longer you can chant, the better the benefits. So, learn chanting.  

Another method is to keep your mind busy with some kind of work or activity, such as gardening, exercise, walking in the park, playing mahjong with friends. If you have a hobby, then focus on the hobby. Spend more time at your hobby. Any kind of activities that can take your mind away from thinking negatively is a good activity for this purpose. 

Be of Service to Others 

Finally, look for and join societies or clubs that give meaningful services to others. Become a volunteer. Do some charity work. Be of service to others. 

Let Go of these 5 common Mental Habits and Transform Your Life

Let Go of these 5 common Mental Habits and Transform Your Life

We all have both good and bad mental habits. Mental habits are those habits that run almost imperceptibly in our mental background. They are our tendencies to think and do things in a certain way. When we have good mental habits, they help us to get what we want in life. On the other hand, when we have bad mental habits, they hinder us from getting what we want out of life.

Mental habits are not set in stones. They can be changed. By letting go or changing our bad mental habits, we can change our lives for the better. Sometimes, simply letting go of one bad mental habit can completely transform our lives.

Here are five negative mental habits we should let go to improve ourselves.

1. Seeking Approval

The root reason why we seek approval from others is because we seek acceptance. And why do we seek acceptance from others? Because we have very little self esteem. We do not regard ourselves as good enough. We think our thoughts, values and ideas are inferior to others.

This tends to happen when we compare ourselves with others, and find ourselves lacking in certain things or areas which we regard as important.

It is important to realize that underneath all the external facade, we are all of the same essence. We are no lesser than anyone else. If you think that you are lesser, it is only because you have the habit of thinking so. You have convinced yourself, through your own negative self talks, that you are lesser than others. The reality is that you are not.

You need to recognize this truth so that you can work ourselves out of the negative mental habit of belittling your own worth.

2. Belittling or Criticizing Others

If you have the tendency to belittle or criticize others, you should realize that this is a symptom of your own inner insecurity. People with good self esteem do not often find it necessary to belittle or criticize others. Only those with poor self esteem do that as a way to boost their own ego, whether they consciously know it or not.

This is not the same as pointing out someone’s bad habits or behaviors in a critical but impersonal way where the focus is on the negative acts (bad habits or behaviors) and not on the person doing them.

3. Denials

If you have the habit of denying your own faults, then it is a reflection of your fear. What exactly are you afraid of? Each time you deny, you should make it a habit to find the answer to that question. Most of the time, you will be pleasantly surprise to find out that your fears are unfounded.

Often, we deny our faults thinking that others will not accept us when they know that we are imperfect. Just as often, we will find out that this belief is not true when we truly challenge it.

One big side effect of denial is that we refuse to take full responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions. When we do that, we often end up apportioning the blame to others.

4. Comparing Self with Others

Having a habit of frequently comparing ourselves with others is another symptom of a low self esteem and the need to seek acceptance.

We need to realize that we are not meant to live our lives like a carbon copy of others. We are each unique individuals who have different dreams and goals, and therefore there is no need to compare.

However, you can use other people’s success as a guide and motivation for your own goals in life.

5. Negative Self Talks

All of us have negative self talks. That is to say that all of us have doubts about our own self worth at times. This is normal as we are not perfect beings. The important thing is to realize that we have these negative self talks, and we should make the effort to cut down the frequency of these negative self talks. To do that, we need to bring these negative self talks to our conscious awareness. We need to learn to be mindful of their arising.

When we are able to cut down on our negative self talks, we will begin to feel more self worth and better self esteem.

When we are able to let go of these negative mental habits, we will begin to become a happier and more successful person.

15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy

15 Things You Should Give Up to be Happy

Here is a list of 15 things, which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and you’ll feel much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go and allowing ourselves to be stress-free and happy, we cling on to them.

Well, not anymore. Starting today, we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go!

1. Give up your need to always be right.

There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the “urgent” need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question from Dr. Wayne Dyer: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?

2. Give up your need for control.

Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, co-workers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.

“By letting it go, it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu

3. Give up on blame.

Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk.

Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.

“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” — Eckhart Tolle

5. Give up your limiting beliefs

about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!

“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind.” Elly Roselle

6. Give up complaining.

Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, maaany things – people, situations and events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

7. Give up the luxury of criticism.

Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.

8. Give up your need to impress others.

Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.

9. Give up your resistance to change.

Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it.

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” — Joseph Campbell

10. Give up labels.

Stop labeling the things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open.

“The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” — Dr. Wayne Dyer

11. Give up on your fears.

Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

12. Give up your excuses.

Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck and lie to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time, are not even real.

13. Give up the past.

I know, I know. This one’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening. But, you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all, life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in thenow.

14. Give up attachment.

This is a concept that, for most of us, is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too (it still is), but it’s not impossible. You get better and better at it with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another. Attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and selfless; where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot co-exist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.

15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations.

Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them; they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them; to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need… and eventually, they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

Author: Luminita Saviuc

My Fight for the Joy of being Defenseless

My Fight for the Joy of being Defenseless

We’ve all heard of stories of Mahatma Ghandi and non-violence, and Jesus advising us to turn the other cheek when struck, but how does that relate to us every day?

I’ve struggled with that very question, especially having been an advocate for “eye for an eye” for many years. It made sense to me that if somebody set a home ablaze, that their home would in turn be torched, and I didn’t understand what was meant by “an eye for an eye makes the world blind.” That just seemed like spiritual nonsense to me.

So often in my life I’ve thought about the “fight.” Not so much in a literal sense with my fists, but rather, on a mental level. The experiences of my youth led me to want to right the wrongs, particularly those wrongs against me, and as mentioned before I saw “eye for an eye” as a means for equal and fair justice. I would “fight” when I’d flip off or honk at another driver who cut me off, when a friend or family member “wronged” me and I felt the need to set them straight or just to be “right” about something. And I definitely “fought” (politely, mind you) when somebody cut in front of me in line.

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