When you read those words… mind control, you might think about the media and its efforts to twist and sensationalize stories, advertising campaigns designed to shift your thinking, or some kind of possessed cult leader. Well, the mind control that I’m talking about is the control YOU have over your own mind.
With the pandemic dragging on, political unrest, racial divide, and the social isolation, many are allowing what is happening around them to dictate how they think, feel, and act. I am not suggesting you should bury your head in the sand and ignore everything around you. Nor am I suggesting you should sit back, close your eyes, and chant unrealistic positive thinking quotes.
What I am suggesting is that you take a look at how emotionally vested you are in the current events, then look at how that emotional investment is affecting those events. I’ll take a guess. It isn’t! The thoughts, feelings, and emotions you are expending in regards to outside events aren’t affecting the outcomes of those events in any way. Therefore, I want to encourage you to be careful with how much emotional energy you are expending on these things.
I have had several patients these past couple of months physically break down while in my office, overcome with fear, grief, disappointment, anger, and sadness about the state of different current national events. I know most of them spend a great deal of time in front of the television, or reading stories online, that fuel their negative emotions. Despite pouring this emotional energy into whatever it is that’s bothering them, it has NO effect on that thing.
I have two patients, brothers, that have been heavily interested in the political situation for the past four years. They complain about everything that is being done, or not done. They wear shirts with political statements on them, they share negative stories with me, and huff and puff while reading headlines on their phones while sitting in my office. They get angry, they get agitated, they get annoyed, and they get frustrated. I love these guys, as they are long-time friends of mine and really good guys, but finally, I asked them a simple question… What impact are you having on that situation? They didn’t understand the question. So, I said… You guys spend so much time and energy, and allow your emotions to run wild day after day, but I don’t see how what you are doing is changing any of the things that are getting you upset.
There are things that happen to us in life. And we react to those things. Reactions vary from person to person. Two people can experience the exact same event, yet have two dramatically different responses. A driver gets cut off on the highway. One person might get angry. Another person might feel relief. And another might feel nothing at all. It is critical to understand that between a stimulus and a response is a gap. And in that gap, humans have the ability to choose. Yep… you get to choose your response to what happens around you.
My point is this… you must be careful, right now more than ever, to not allow what’s happening around you to drive you into emotional states like rage, depression, anxiety, or hopelessness. Imagine one of the events or circumstances in your life that is very emotional to you. You let it dictate your mood, commit a lot of energy to it, and it is ruining your day. If those thoughts and feelings you are having are not affecting the outcome of those events or circumstances, then why give away such emotion? All it’s doing is dragging you down, negatively affecting your life, and absolutely having a negative impact on your overall health and wellbeing. Honor the negative emotions, just don’t get stuck in them. Your emotions play an incredible role in your life and health, and the coolest thing is that you can have incredible control of those emotions. When it comes to mind control, it’s your mind, so try to control it.