“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
— Mark Twain
Last night I had a dream that ants were crawling onto my bed and were attacking me. My conscious self would’ve freaked out, but instead, my subconscious mind had me move to the other side of the bed as if this could easily solve the problem. Then my dream transformed, and my unconscious mind seemed to convince myself that the ants were no longer there so I moved back to my original spot on the bed.
Recently I’ve been having dreams similar to this one, but it came to the point where I would wake up from the dream and have trouble going back to sleep for a while because the anxiety of my subconscious escaped into my reality.
Since then, it’s amazed me how much impact our mind has on our quality of life. It doesn’t matter if we’re eating nothing but healthy food, exercising daily, or have our skincare routine on point. If we have a negative attitude, or if we’re being fed negativity through social media or by the people we surround ourselves with, all the effort we’ve put into taking care of ourselves goes down the drain. Of course, all these other things like eating healthy, exercising, and taking care of our appearance are important and build a better environment for our mind, but our mind is the source of what we think, what we decide, how we act. If we’re feeding it all the wrong things, the result will be anxiety, no sleep, bad eating choices, bad skin, and the list goes on.
Healthy mind, healthy stomach
Stress and anxiety really do me in. It wasn’t until I reached high levels of stress that I began to develop stomach issues. And ever since, my stomach is highly affected by what my mind perceives as a “fight or flight” situation. It’s the reason why I have stomach issues after being exposed to high levels of negativity. My mind goes into defense mode and tries to find solutions to problems that aren’t even my own to begin with.
Most of the people I know with gluten intolerance have the same issues. It’s why the stomach is sometimes called the second mind — the stomach and the mind are directly related. It’s no wonder my stomach goes haywire when I’m about to do something I really don’t want to do. My anxiety levels increase at hyper-speed, which makes my stomach hurt, which makes it look like I’m creating an excuse not to do the thing I don’t want to do, which increases my anxiety levels and my stomach pain even more because I’m worried about what other people might be thinking about the fact that I’ve conveniently cut myself out of an undesirable activity because of a “stomach pain.” If there’s anything I’ve learned through this experience it’s not to judge someone’s decisions, actions, or absence, physically or mentally.
We all fall down
I go through periods of time where I’m exposed to too much negative talk, like when the people around me are speaking badly about others, are in constant debate, or are questioning my beliefs and values. It drains me. The other night, I basically cried myself to sleep because I was so drained by the negativity that existed in my social interactions that day. That same night I had another dream that woke me up with a feeling of anxiety and helplessness. So I spent the next day with an upset stomach at home and doing nothing that would take too much effort or thinking. The result? I had a much better sleep that night. And the next day I was up and ready to socialize again.
I admit that a lot of the negativity I expose myself to is my own thoughts. Thinking about all the things that could go wrong but that more than likely won’t go wrong, underestimating all the good that could happen out of a situation, allowing negative people to affect me so much that their words and thoughts linger in my mind for days on end in an attempt to grasp their perception of the world. Sometimes I just can’t understand why I allow myself to ponder over something I’ll never get a real answer to. Your mind will run in circles if you allow it to.
The conscious vs. the sub-conscious
In the dream I described earlier, my subconscious mind managed to take steps to find a solution to a problem that didn’t exist. How does one train the conscious mind to do the same?
I read an interesting blog post that talks more about the power of the subconscious mind and how it affects our conscious mind. I’ll link the post here if you would like to read more on it. Pretty much the conscious mind will tell the subconscious mind what to do. So it makes sense that while my conscious mind was sleeping, it allowed my subconscious mind to be in full control and not be drowned by the negative thoughts produced in my conscious mind. How many times can I write conscious and subconscious?
So the key is to create a space of positivity in your conscious mind so that your subconscious mind can thrive.
Write it down, get it out of your mind
Have you ever felt a heavy weight come off your shoulders when you tell a close relative or friend about your problems in life or issues you have with people? More often than not, we feel better after getting our thoughts out there, and sometimes we even come up with a solution ourselves.
But what if we took a different approach every once in a while and wrote all of our negative thoughts down instead of spreading them to other people who more than likely have problems of their own? What if whatever we felt about a certain person went on a piece of paper rather than create a negative environment in another person’s mind? What if we just helped each other by helping ourselves first?
Sometimes we just need to take a break, bake some brownies (my blueberry brownies are to die for), and do what you love. Instead of spending a little too much time on social media, which may leave you feeling self-conscious, maybe read a book, go for a walk, do that DIY you pinned on Pinterest that you promised yourself you’d do last year but never did. Whatever it is, feed your mind the creativity it thrives on. Feeling at ease and at peace is what the body and mind need.