3 ways to slay the monsters of the mind

Frame your thoughts like this – you are an old person, you won’t let yourself be enslaved by this any longer, no longer pulled like a puppet by ever impulse, and you’ll stop complaining about your present fortune or dreading the future.
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

When I get overwhelmed I shut down.

I don’t get anything done and have absolutely no desire to do the things I must. I would rather wallow in my own pity.

The Monster in The Closet

I get so consumed in what I “have” to do and what “must” be done that I avoid tasks at all costs. Like a child cowering from an imaginary monster in the closet, I hide in fear – fear of imperfection.

I cower and beg those closest to me to slay my own monsters for me. I make excuses and the worst part? I believe the excuses I make.

The thing about being overwhelmed is that it is totally preventable and does not have to have the power to overtake my, and your, everyday thoughts.

Monsters feed on willingness to consistently give in – to look it dead in the eyes and submit to its will. To acknowledge and do nothing fuels its fire and gives it an insurmountable amount of power. But, to acknowledge and create action destroys the monster dead in its tracks.

We love the characters in fairytales that do the impossible – that slay the monster. But, what if slaying our monsters isn’t impossible?

What if destroying monsters was habitual?

What if we could daily harness the courage that we admire about our favorite fairytale heroes?

What if I told you that the greatest weapon to combat these monsters is your mind?

3 Ways to Train Your Mind to Slay the Monster

Training your mind to slay these everyday monsters is not easy and trust me, I do not have it all figured out. What I have found are three ways that do strengthen and focus the mind to combat these fears:

1.     Brain-dumping. Spend 5 minutes each morning dumping all your thoughts on paper. To-do’s, frustrations, things that make you happy, dreams you want to make happen, things that scare you. Take anything that comes to mind and put it on paper. It won’t make sense, it won’t be pretty, but it will be useful.

2.     Create an action plan. What needs to get done today and how will you accomplish it? Be realistic and honest with yourself. Make a plan, stick with it, but if something gets in the way do not resort back to frustration, rather adjust and reframe your thoughts.

3.     Meditation. Whether it is for 3 minutes or 30, focusing your mind and taking time to also de-focus is incredibly powerful. Meditation is very broad and looks different for everyone. Meditating can be a time of prayer, a time of worship, a time of rest, or a time of simple mindfulness.

Do not let yourself be enslaved to the monsters in your mind. Slay them by strengthening and reframing your thoughts. It takes daily action and commitment to the plan. These monsters are strong, but we are stronger.