Read My Mind

Does Your Mind Mess With You?

by Dr. Robert Glover on Apr 11th, 2013.     3 comments

puzzled-manI will never cease to be amazed by all the interesting and amazing things the human mind can do. As a therapist, I am intrigued by how every individual’s mind works. I am amazed and amused by how my own mind works!

Here’s one of my mind’s favorite tricks. It suggests I do something, e,g., skip a workout, have an extra margarita, make a biting comment to a friend, etc.

Then, when my action has some negative consequence, that same mind tells me what a dumbshit I am for doing what it told me to do. Then it piles on guilt and shame.

Can you relate?

Here’s another one.

I know I need to take action on something, but my mind pulls a couple of different tricks. One is to convince me to do something else instead and promises me we’ll get to the other later. Then it repeats this little game until later becomes way too late.

The other trick is to convince me that what needs doing is going to be too complicated, time-consuming, or painful, and I believe what it tells me (the mind always believing what the mind tells itself is true). Then when I finally do follow through, whatever I was avoiding takes just a few minutes, isn’t hard, and has a positive outcome.

I wonder why in the world I stressed so much and put off doing it for so long.

Can you relate?

OK, fill in your own mind tricks here……….

Here’s another amazing thing I have discovered about the human mind: it doesn’t have to drive the bus of our life.

Even more amazingly, it can observe itself. It can catch on to its own tricks. It can call bullshit on itself. It can smile at its own silliness.

I have found two important processes for me using my mind rather than my mind using me.

The first is to become an observer of my mind. This means becoming conscious of what my mind is up to at any given time.

The second is redirecting my mind in productive directions. Left on its own, the mind will swing like a monkey through the trees, jumping from thought to thought, action to action. But when the mind is minded, it can be calmed, directed, and accomplish amazing things.

What are some of the ways your mind messes with you?

What are some of the ways you have learned to observe and redirect your mind?

Share what you have learned about your amazing mind by leaving a comment below.
While you are at it, check out my eight-week online course, The Ruminating Brain.



P.S., I am looking forward to spending the rest of my life becoming more aware of my mind and using its amazing power to keep creating an amazing life.


Brian says ...
Great message doc! Right now, I am waiting on test results for an ecg. My old mind would have just thought destructive things and went down the road of negative. My new way of thinking is to stick with the positive thoughts (the technician let me out of the room that day, previous clear health checks etc). I also believe that God will take care of me as well.
Brian C. says ...
Excellent post Doc!

I don't care who you are. We have ALL been in that situation of saying or doing something stupid, and then regretting it after the fact. I like the point you made about the mind calling bullshit on itself. I think we can only do that when we heed the advice of yourself, and Roger Nix - slow down. In your Webinar about Minding Our Monkey Minds, yourself and Roger make the point that we need to stop, relax, and get ahold of ourselves. It is easier said than done but it is wise advice.

For anyone who wants tips on minding your monkey mind, look at the final slide in the Doc's Webinar. He and Roger Nix list six or seven different tips for minding your monkey mind. Great stuff! Keep up the good work Doc.
Scott Bridwell says ...
After 22 years of marriage, I'm heading toward a divorce. It is not what I want.

Today, i jumped on your blog. Why? I was looking for something to help me to stop being mean, nasty and caustic toward her. My issue was just what you describe in this post, mind tricks. The pain associated with the rejection and loneliness and everything surrounding our situation often sends my mind to very dark places.


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