Here is a solution to make one’s mind healthy!
Mind doesn’t stay in the same state all the time; that is, it’s nature. Mind keeps fluctuating to different states effortlessly. In fact, keeping the mind in single state needs enormous effort. Buddha said, “If you can stay with the breath for 7 minutes without disruption, you get enlightened”.
Mind can stay attracted and get distracted. A common man may easily get lost into distractions with no awareness. Staying attentive on one thing for long is a big challenge for many of us. But in all the fields, extraordinary things have happened to extraordinary people when they were in a state of attraction (attention), but not really in the state of distraction. Obviously, the healthy mind can stay attentive longer than an unhealthy mind.
What is a healthy mind?
A mind which is aware and observant of its own negative thoughts and feelings, a mind which relives and rejoices positive thoughts and feelings again and again, a mind which can focus on positive object and sustain it for a longer time, a mind which gets lost completely in the positive object of focus… can be considered as a healthy mind.
Mind is a very powerful tool which can create a positive feeling, or a negative feeling based on an experience. Generally, if the mind is healthy, it creates a positive feeling irrespective of the nature of the experience. When the mind is healthy, we will experience the following mind states: being completely focused on the action that we are doing, internally motivated, a sense of ecstasy, inner clarity, knowing with enormous confidence that ‘I can’ and a sense of serenity prevailing all the time.
In the above-mentioned mind states, we know we are in a zone; we operate out of higher instincts, we learn new things quickly and we complete the tasks effortlessly. This state is considered as highest positive state. This state is referred by the psychologists as “State of flow”. People who experienced the state of flow have commonly reported the above-mentioned experiences.
We may raise a question saying “I do lose myself completely while watching TV or playing video games. So, in those moments am I in the state of flow?” No, not at all. Psychologists refer this as negative state. They call this state as state of hyper focus which has some similar qualities of state of flow.
In the flow state, the performance of the individual is generally very high whether it is a common man or sporting population or musicians or martial artists. Athletes refer to this state as ‘being in the zone or get in the zone’. Drummers refer to this state as ‘getting into the groove or entrainment’. Martial artists refer this state as ‘Budo’. In many religious and spiritual practices, there are references mentioned about this flow state. Montessori system of education in a way is designed to achieve the flow state to enhance fast learning.
In the flow state, one loses himself completely to the task or situation or object, without making conscious decision to do so, lose awareness of all other things: time, people, distractions and even basic bodily needs. And this state can be achieved actively by keeping the internal and external distractions away.
Since flow state is associated with happiness, positive feelings, growth, performance, learning and satisfaction, few things can be done to enhance this state. Anything done out of passion instead of compulsion, keeping the external distractions away can enhance the flow state. A ‘EEE’ mantra is effective in reducing internal distractions which will affect the flow state.
Exercise: Choose the form of exercises which you like the most. Cherish it, enjoy it and get lost in it. It is easy to forget yourself and feel a sense of ecstasy while exercising since happy hormones gets secreted during exercise. People who run a marathon and those who do long distance cycling events report that they lose themselves completely while performing those activities. And physical exercises have an impact on the mind, and there is significant difference in the quality of life of the one who does regular exercises in comparison to inactive ones.
Erase: Negative thoughts and feelings makes the mind either agitated or dull. In those moments mind becomes like a mirror that is covered with layers of dust. To get clarity we just need to do a little bit of dusting. To keep the internal distractions away, we simply need to clean the mind. Writing down your negative feelings and thoughts morning and evening or at least during end of the day will erase the negative thoughts and feelings accumulated in the mind which are the main source of internal distractions. A mind which doesn’t have much of internal distractions can achieve the flow state easily.
Engross: Engross yourself by meditating on a positive object. This focus trains the mind to get into zone or flow state. Meditation elevates the mind state towards heightened awareness. Complete focus, sense of ecstasy, inner clarity, sense of serenity, internal motivation… almost all the qualities during a flow state can be achieved through meditation. Simply put, engrossing yourself in the positive object of focus through meditation can polish and convert the gross mind into glittering diamond which has great sense of clarity.
Life lived with a series of flow states paves the path to a holistic life.