Our thoughts shape our words and actions and thus our reality. Some of the ways that women over 50 play mind games include, problem-seeking, storytelling, and a judging mind. These mind games keep us anxious, depressed, and distracted from the things that really matter.
What’s getting in the way of your peace and happiness? Stressing you out? Creating a roller coaster of emotions, drama, and chaos? You might think your inner turmoil is directly due to what’s happening in the world around you, but the truth is quite different. It’s not what happens to you, but what you perpetually think and do in response. And that is due to the nature of your mind.
“There is not sufficient emphasis on western society placed on being aware of how our thoughts shape our reality.” Karen McGregor
The egoic mind of women of er50 is always engaging in problem-finding, judging, reacting, defending, and so forth—functions that are inherently at odds with happiness. The non-egoic mind, however, does positive things like creating, analyzing, and synthesizing. When we let the mind run the show, we stay anxious and depressed. Our negative thoughts keep us from being present. So often women over 50 misunderstand situations, blow small problems out of proportion, make bad decisions, and damage important relationships.
The solution is to accept and understand the nature of the personal mind. Only when we learn to distance ourselves from the thoughts it constantly produces can we begin to calm ourselves down. We need to learn to truthfully look inside and find peace and joy. Working toward becoming our best, most productive, influential, and successful self.
The mind is forever seeking problems
Unchecked, this natural tendency of women over 50 becomes your filter, the lens through which you see the world. Do you see the beautiful day and the opportunities it brings, or do you immediately go to what needs fixing? It’s true that we get better by noticing and assessing problems, but too often we don’t act to fix them. We just dwell on them, and they stay at the forefront of our minds.
It’s okay to observe a problem, but then you need to let it go. If not, the world just looks like a big pile of problems, and that impacts your mood and emotions.
The mind is a storyteller
One single thought can set off an entire narrative. I often find how a comment on social media upsets me. Before I know it, I have started to replay all the interactions with that person and created a whole story that didn’t exist before. In many cases, we are overreacting to the person’s comment. Chances are the commenter never gave it another thought. Meanwhile, in our minds, the story is growing and controlling your day, your thoughts, and your actions.
I have had dreams while sleeping that I was fighting with my spouse. I awoke in a bad mood and mad with them. This is a great example of how the onesided mind game impacts our days and emotions.
The mind is judgmental
Do you find yourself judging everything? For example, you might judge a coworker’s eating habits or a messy desk. You might judge a friend’s parenting skills. You might judge a family member’s financial decisions or relationships. In short, you get consumed with issues that should have no impact on you. (They are truly none of your business.)
We will always notice things other people do that are outside of our value system. Learn to laugh them off and don’t get mired in your thoughts about them.
The mind is reactionary
Do you have a quick trigger? Are you easily upset over things that aren’t really a big deal? Reacting in a disproportionate way eats up your day, controls your thoughts, and keeps you from accepting and receiving life as it comes.
If someone takes your parking space, does it plunge you into a bad mood for the rest of the day? Do you assign bad intentions to the person? Better to just brush it off or say, ‘Oh well, maybe I just wasn’t meant to park there today!’
The mind is easily distractible
Often we let small, insignificant things distract us from big, important things. Maybe you’re in a big work meeting and the muffins show up. Suddenly you can’t focus on what your boss or client is saying. Life is full of such “muffins”. It’s easy to let life’s trivialities distract us from writing a special note to a friend who’s moving or from cooking a meal for someone who isn’t feeling well.
We need to get better at staying focused on what really matters. Once we do, we can begin to act in ways that better serve us and those around us.
The mind is always looking to defend itself
We tend to protect our self-image and seek confirmation for what we think we know. This can make us wary of feedback. Yet people who give you feedback are often the ones who care about you the most. They want to help. How you receive what is happening or being said is everything—even if it’s hard to hear.
Often we retaliate to feedback because it impacts our feeling of ‘safety. Our egos get bruised and we feel vulnerable. We are all so invested in protecting this little box of who we think we are. Feedback makes us better and more aware, and people will continue to give it when we receive it the right way. But if we get defensive, not only won’t we hear what they’re saying, they may give up and not try anymore.
The mind clings to disturbances or initial impressions
The mind loves to fixate on initial thoughts, positive or negative. If someone says you look good in an outfit, you might start thinking you want to have a relationship with that person! If someone writes something in an email that hits you wrong, you may cling to the memory of it, despite what else is happening.
In both cases, we let what was likely a passing comment rule our thinking and define our interaction with that person. How often do we go in the wrong direction or cut off contact with someone who could have been a major positive influence in our lives because of our clinging mind?
Recognize yourself in any of these scenarios? Maybe even in all of them? It’s a good thing to be aware and vulnerable. Being aware of destructive thoughts is the first step toward distancing ourselves from them. If you can name it, you can tame it. And once you tame it, you will start to see major, positive changes in your day-to-day reality.
Karen McGregor is a thought leader and catalyst for influencers with a powerful global message and is the author of Wall Street Journal bestseller The Tao of Influence: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Leaders and Entrepreneurs. Karen has supported hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs over the past decade to create and deliver powerful messages. An inspiring international speaker who presents across all industries.
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