In life, our brain can function in very different ways, depending on what we are doing. The American psychologist, Kirk Strosahl, describes this as the “restless mind”, which is created by our brain responding to stress, and “quiet mind”, which is what we experience in moments of calm and contemplation.
When we respond to stressful situations, our bodies prepare us for action, (running or fighting) and our brains also become hyper-alert and on the look-out for danger. In this mind-set we feel edgy, slightly anxious and hyperactive. The restless mind chatters away relentlessly - forever predicting dangers lurking around the corner or providing a negative commentary.
The restless mind is also a blinkered mind. It isn’t designed to look at the big picture – its main concern is keeping us safe from danger. Under the influence of the restless mind we tend to focus on what is in front of us, often in a habitual way. In this state of mind we don’t focus on the important things in life or how we can keep ourselves healthy. Instead, the ‘restless mind’ is just concerned with what to do next.
The quiet mind is the polar opposite and is what happens to our brain when we move out of the firing line of life’s daily hassles. In this place we can feel a deep sense of calm, clarity and well-being. We also experience compassion and a sense of a deeper connection with others.
Fortunately, we all have the capacity to experience the quiet mind. The challenge lies in disentangling from the restless mind’s chatter, and consciously deciding to do things that will create this mind-state. It isn’t rocket science. It’s just something we often forget in our busy modern lives.
For NHS funded therapy for anger, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or register online [HERE]