As a student and teacher of psychology the idea of mind has been at the forefront of my thinking for much of my adult life. Only recently however, have I recognised and realised its true nature.
For many years I would advocate for cognitive psychology and cognitive therapies. I understood through my work that it was my thinking about an event or situation that caused me to have anxiety about it. I was aware that objects in the world; planes, buses, animals, parties could not by themselves instil fear in a person, and that it was their perception of these entities which generated an emotional response. Like many I felt that if we could change our thinking, think more positively, challenge irrational thoughts that would make it easier to face our fears and progress towards our goals. It made perfect sense! So why wasn’t it working?
I had been through various different therapies, had tried a number anti depressant/ anti anxiety medications, I had changed career, believing that being a teacher was adding to my anxiety and making me even more ill. Yet, nothing had made me feel better, I still felt the same sense of persistent unease, worry, fear about the future, sadness about the past, not knowing what do do, or where to turn, never feeling at home.
One day while scrolling through social media I was drawn to a page that my cousin (who I had only seen once in the past 30 years) had followed and recommended. The site was ‘A Little Piece of Mind’ by life coach Nicola Bird www.alittlepeaceofmind.co.uk. Nicola’s podcast confirmed that I was right, it was indeed my thinking that was at the root of my anxiety and depression. Then, to my complete surprise, seemed to suggest that I didn’t need to try to change my thinking. In fact by thinking about the content of my thinking in order to try to change it, I was just adding to my anxiety. Instead if I could recognise that my anxiety was my thinking, nothing else, just thought, and that as if by magic, if I did nothing that thinking would flow right by and new positive thoughts would take its place.
Okay, now i’m really listening.