There's more right with you than wrong - the mindful approach.
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Gavin Weir-Jones MA (Psy), PG Dip Mindfulness, NCS (Accred)
11th October, 20170 Comments
'There is more right with us than wrong'. Discuss.
For me, this speaks of many things and within the context of mindfulness, this is about awareness, noticing and gratitude.
We all have two key neurological mechanisms that are hard wired within us, primarily to keep us safe. However, these are evolutionary aspects that were originally evolved to stop us being eaten, attacked or physically hurt in some way.
The first is the 'negativity bias'. This is the brains' natural tendency to check all the negative aspects of a situation or experience, so we would stay safe. With the absence of wild beasts outside our caves, the brain now scans for new emotional or psychological threats that would cause us 'modern day' harm, such as shame or embarrassment - fundamentally any perceived threat to the ego.
Of course this is not to be dismissed outright, it has served us well. However, when we are feeling vulnerable or low mood hits us, our negativity bias can be overwhelming and quite distorted.
The second mechanism is our 'discrepenacy monitor'. Here is what mindfulness teacher Zindel Segal has to say:
'The basic strategy (used) to achieve certain goals in our lives involves something we call the “discrepancy monitor”: a process that continually monitors and evaluates our current situation against a model or standard — an idea of what is desired, required, expected, or feared. Once this discrepancy monitor is switched on, it will find mismatches between how things are and how we think they should be. That is its job. Registering these mismatches motivates further attempts to reduce these discrepancies. But, crucially, dwelling on how things are not as we want them to be can, naturally enough, create further negative mood. In this way, our attempts to solve a “problem” by endlessly thinking about it can keep us locked into the state of mind from which we are doing our best to escape.'
You may now see that when these two get together, we can find ourselves stuck in our heads, going around and around.
This is where our practice helps. By bringing awareness to our busy minds and taking a pause, we can begin to notice exactly what we are grateful for... how about, 'I am alive today and most bits of me work' and take it from there.
We live in a society where pressure is increasingly applied to be something or someone that we are currently not and in these moments we lose contact with what we already have and are.
Mindfulness brings us back to ourselves, in this moment, fully present, feet planted, calm and fully awake.
May you be well.
About the author
Gavin is a qualified and experienced Mindfulness Teacher, Therapist and Coach. He has over 25 years experience working in this field and works with individuals and groups.
He runs a weekly Mindfulness drop in class and is happy to share how Buddhist psychology can help heal western suffering.
His practice is 5 minutes from Exeter in Devon
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