focus your mind

“Your own mind is a sacred enclosure into which nothing harmful can enter without your permission.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Are there days when you feel a little out of control? Maybe even a little crazy? I am sure. Sometimes things get out of my control (surprise surprise!), my emotional center is out of balance and it feels like someone is turning the world upside down.

I think this is pretty common for most of us. Not everyone has the internal tools to quickly bring themselves back to center.

You see, the mind is tricky. Like an infant, capable of discovering every opportunity to sow the seeds of chaos, our minds are calibrated, both by habit and evolution, to trigger strong emotional responses.

I recently saw this illustrated in a powerful way. By Ruby Wax Healthy New Worlddescribed the evolution of stress and how it relates to today’s reality.

Controlling our primal mind

For millions of years, our bodies and minds have been conditioned to trigger the release of adrenaline and cortisol (the stress hormone) when we sense a deadly threat, such as a deadly Tyrannosaurus Rex. In those moments, the famous fight or flight response took hold of us. It was an evolutionary response to a threat.

But these days, according to Ruby Wax, we’re still driven by that primal conditioning. The mind still triggers the release of powerful hormones into our bodies, but now the threats are more subtle. Your boss says something disturbing, you see something terrible on the 24-hour cable news, or someone cuts you off on the road.

focus your mindThe next thing you know, you’re in the grip of a hormone-induced reaction. Your rational faculties completely disappear and you are filled with adrenaline. Suddenly you’re ready to go head-to-head with a dinosaur or run for your life, and you’re not even sure how you got into that situation.

It is the power of our biology to subvert our rationality and disrupt our balance. And what’s worse is that it often happens when we’re not even aware of it. So we go into a spiral with negative thoughts, worries, and we’ve really jumped down the rabbit hole.

4 Tips on How to Center Your Mind and Self

But how do you restore your mind and senses? How do you get back into balance? And most importantly, how do you begin to train yourself to break some of these unconscious, reactive, and deeply ingrained habits that keep you sidetracked?

Because these things have a dramatic impact on your quality of life. And it is not possible to change only the pattern. I think this is very important if you want to thrive and live a life of conscious presence, balance and growth.

And I’ve found that meditation and mindfulness are incredibly powerful tools for bringing you back to center. That’s what I mean.

Mindfulness practice has shown me that I create emotional drama for myself. It also helped me learn to anticipate stress before it got out of hand. And taught me the power of relaxation. But perhaps one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how to keep from losing my center.

So let’s break it down and look at these four areas where meditation and mindfulness can help center your mind and self when it matters most.

  1. Expect stress
  2. Diffuse Domestic Drama
  3. Relax, relax, relax
  4. Stay Grounded and Centered


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1. Anticipation of stress

focus your mindStress is a killer. It can infect you. Of course, the media and our doctors told us this. But do you take it seriously? For me, I notice it as a pit in my stomach or an increased heart rate. Also, the feeling of just being amplified, disorganized, unbalanced and not centered in myself.

Another thing about stress. It’s addictive. Stress has a certain energy that can make you feel important and useful. It can make you feel stronger, but it often comes with a physical, emotional and psychological price tag.

Meditation gave me a reference point to feel the stress. Meditation is the antidote to stress. It is pure peace and surrender. For me, stress has something to do with resistance. Each of us resists situations, events, feelings and things we don’t like. Sometimes it is very subtle. But it creates a lot of stress.

In contrast, meditation is acceptance. It’s about learning how to deal with things as they are.

So meditation helped me to notice when I was stressed and helped me identify the sources of stress. So it helps to stop resisting life on many levels. Some measure of stress is fine, but for the most part I don’t want it in my life.

So learning to focus on sources of stress has been a game changer for me. I think this will help you too.

2. Rampant Internal Drama

Drama is part of life. You can’t really avoid it. But the interesting part of drama is how we create it ourselves. Too much drama is unnecessary. If you’re interested in staying centered and grounded, it’s important to understand how drama can throw off your balance.

At a certain point, I realized that a certain way of thinking would create internal drama. Certain thought patterns would trigger strong emotional responses, and then I would dwell on those thoughts and stir the pot further, creating anger, rage, fear, depression, etc. I would ignite.

At a certain point, I realized that most of my bad moods were self-inflicted. Not all of them, of course. But I began to see how I was contributing to my own internal drama and how deeply it was pulling me out of myself. It was distracting and exhausting. And most of all, I really didn’t like that version of me.

Meditation and mindfulness can help you objectify these thought and thought patterns. They allow you to create space so that the choice to take that path becomes clearer and clearer. And it was priceless.

The thing about drama is that it steals your focus, determination, and personal power. Mindfulness puts this power back in your control.

3. Resting Power

meditation-389700_1920Do you relax consciously? I’m serious. Not everyone takes the time to really let go. But it’s more important than most people think. This is especially true at a time when many of us are stressed and abandon many of the rituals centered around relaxation. Big family meals, quiet Sundays, etc.

That’s the thing about relaxation. It is a simple and powerful mindfulness technique that can restore a sense of balance and equilibrium. And you can do it anytime anywhere.

I have been meditating for almost twenty years and it has been incredible. Meditation has allowed me to relax in ways I never imagined. There is a natural confidence that arises spontaneously from deep comfort. This confidence is your natural state—relaxed, self-possessed, and fully grounded in your life and yourself.

So one way to bring yourself back to center is to focus on relaxation. It’s as simple as taking a few deep breaths and consciously letting stress and tension melt away from your body. A few minutes of mindful relaxation can change your mindset and your entire day. Don’t underestimate him.

4. Stay Grounded and Centered

This is my favorite. Staying grounded and centered is a true art. But like most things, you can make it a habit.

Think for a moment about someone you know who is really centered. What are their characteristics?

This is what happened to me. He is relaxed and in control. He is not stressed. His words come from a deeper place. He is willing to make mistakes. And it has gravity.

These are just a few things that come to mind when I imagine deeply grounded and centered friends. But such reasoning requires real experience. For me, meditation and mindfulness have been important tools for learning to center myself and keeping my mind whole and healthy. Here’s how.

I saw how easy it is to be deceived by the opinions of others. I often value the words and opinions of others more than my own. But at a certain point, I saw that it had a great effect on me. It took me out of my center.

The practice of mindfulness helped me see this. It also helped me regain my center. It helped me remember that I was alone at the deepest level. I am a sovereign being. All of us. As Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted, I control what I put into my mind and what streams of thought I listen to.

So remembering that I am truly alone is deeply fundamental. It reminds me that after all, I came into this world alone and I will leave alone. This is the basic truth and it is fundamental. Brings me back to center. Like an existential reset button, it reminds me that my true north is within me. It is never beyond me.

Meditation is about being deeply alone. But it is the most nourishing solitude imaginable. Gives and does not take. It is generative and restorative. It grounds you in the here and now.

And perhaps most importantly, it helps you stay true to your true north. What exactly is this? Well, you are.

If you want to learn more about meditation and mindfulness, try free guided meditations.

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