Lost in the stress forest? Take a compass
6 february 2018
Imagine you are lost in the woods. Instinct prompts: “Move faster!” You are accelerating. Throwing about. And wander deeper into the thicket.
Our life is like a walk in the forest, only instead of trees – stress, bad habits, short bursts of pleasure and lingering disappointments. We are lost in this forest because our instincts are wrong. The best thing to do when you get lost is to stop. Take a deep breath. And then get out the map and compass.
This book is a compass that will lead you out of the thicket. The neuroscientist and psychiatrist Jadson Brewer has spent 20 years studying the brain to understand why it is so easily confused. And I came to a remarkable conclusion: untangling is also not difficult. You just need to know in which direction to go.
Are you ready to get out of the forest? Then take a deep breath and take a compass.
What is your “chocolate”?
The reason that compels us to delve deeper into the thicket is an ancient learning process. We feel hungry. We eat food. We feel good. We remember. We repeat.
One day the brain says, “When you have eaten, you feel good. And now it’s sad. Why not eat something delicious? ” We eat a chocolate bar and feel: hmm, easier. But chocolate did not eliminate the cause of sadness – it just “injected” dopamine. Time passes – everything repeats itself. Only more chocolate is needed. And not only him.
We get addicted to cigarettes and alcohol, likes on social networks, computer games, our own thoughts and even romantic feelings.
This is not our fault – this is how the brain works. But we can change that – get out of the rut that habits have dug.
Compass instead of a hammer
When we follow habits, life is like a knee jerk: stress kicks in with a hammer – we run for reward. But it is worth stopping – and we will understand that we are moving in the wrong way.
But when you see which stimulus causes an unwanted action, the brain will break the unnecessary chain. The recipe is mindfulness. It helps us notice how we “bury” ourselves in the hole, and put the shovel aside.
Mindfulness transforms the stress of a knee strike into a compass to guide us out of our forest of addictions.
Riding a wave of habits
Our desires are like waves: at first they overwhelm, but then they always recede. We can ride them like surfers. Here is the instruction.
- RECOGNIZE when the desire is coming.
- ACCEPT it; don’t try to ignore or be distracted. Say a code word like “this is it.”
- EXPLORE how desire grows: “What is my body feeling right now?”, “What are my thoughts?”, “What are these emotions?”
- OBSERVE until they subside.
Try to hold out until the wave subsides completely. And feel like a cool surfer!
In this book, neuroscience and Buddhist practices, research and reflection, tests and poetry are intertwined. But most importantly, there is a secret recipe in it that will help you defeat any habit that poisons your life.
Mindfulness helps in business development, parenting, love, spiritual practice, and a happy life. Activate it! Thanks for the photo @zekrinaelena
And also, flipping through the pages of the book, you will learn:
- Why we love selfies and likes so much
- Method of pumping “mental muscle”
- How to stop feeling like Sisyphus pushing a stone uphill
- What is love addiction
- How to get into the stream and stay in it
- What your boss and the sea slug have in common
- What Happens to the Brain During Meditation
Instead of trying to untangle the tangle of our lives from the inside (and confuse it even more), you can step aside and let the tangle unravel on its own. Rejoice, not overstrain. Walk in the forest, and not disappear in it.
All you need is a compass. And you have it.
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Post cover: pixabay.