The idea that you can retain the power to stretch your mind after you hit 60 and still have the ability to mentally defend yourself against the negative influences that often pervade your consciousness powerfully increases your sense of self and well-being.
Mind stretching is the process of teaching the brain a new way of thinking and, in doing so, connecting the right and left brain halves more effectively.
Each hemisphere controls certain functions and movement on the opposite side of your body. The left brain is more verbal, and the right brain is more creative. Although each hemisphere has its strengths, the two don’t work in isolation. Both sides contribute something to logical and creative thinking.
Life is an ongoing series of moments. How present you are for these moments determines your quality of life and the quality of your results.
When you are scattered, inattentive, and unfocused, daily life becomes stressful and frenetic, and you fall prey to reactive emotions and misguided actions that lead to unwanted and wasteful thinking.
When you live with greater awareness and presence, you act more deliberately, prudently, and effectively.
Discover the Skills of Mental Self-Defense
Unfortunately, few people learn to skillfully manage the negative responses that exist inside them. Parents, teachers, and schools did not provide guidelines or standardized tests for self-management.
No one told you about the need to manage your interior life, which can lead to positive change and practical action.
There are many and varied times each day that your mental self-defense mechanisms may be challenged:
- A friend leaves you out of the conversation or future plans.
- You go for your appointment at the nail salon and the person who does your nails isn’t in the shop – he left and forgot about you.
- A male dancer in your class passes you by and looks beyond your shoulder to another female dancer.
- An age-appropriate male makes suggestive comments about what you are wearing.
- A sales lady barely works up enough energy to help you in Lingerie.
- A family member is dismissive of you, doesn’t include you in events, is rude to you, interrupts your nightly dinner with a phone call, wastes time with unrelated issues.
- Someone cuts in front of you in line, and it triggers a negative emotional reaction and sparks verbal anger.
Consider the following 4 mental self-defense techniques:
Stop and Take a Breath
The first mental self-defense technique is to stop the thought and resist going into a negative defense position. Unfortunately, it is human nature to go to the negative. For every positive thought, you probably have at least 3 negative ones.
Train your brain to stop and take a few deep breaths before responding to a negative situation.
Change Your Reality Lens
Sometimes your internal state does not perfectly reflect your outside reality lens. That’s when you say: Something’s wrong with this picture. It creates a duality between internal/external reality and causes confusion.
Make a mental self-defense adjustment and correct your reality lens. Ask yourself what is real or not real; personal or not personal. Don’t be mentally immobilized by a suspicion or an opinion. Make good mental choices that reflect your reality lens.
Resistance is a mental trap that causes stress and is toxic. You see and hear resistance every day, in everyone you meet, and you probably don’t recognize it.
More importantly, you are not aware of your own resistance. When you resist you become immobile in mind, body, and spirit. Step away from yourself, step away from the limitations of others, and avoid falling into the mental traps that pose a threat to your well-being.
Meditate and Practice Daily Self-Reflection
Meditation allows thoughts to go by without judgment, slows down the mind, and increases your ability to stay present. The practice of meditation is crucial in helping you sustain mental self-defense techniques in situations which cause struggle or inappropriate behavior.
Staying present through a meditation practice will give you time and space to prioritize your responses and utilize techniques to strength your mental self-defense.
Meditate 10 minutes a day, and after clearing your mind, set your mental GPS to enjoy the present
Awareness of mental self-defense techniques is an integral part of your natural growth process and provides guidance and inspiration for stability, resilience, and balance. Healthy mental habits are responsible for clear thinking, better communication, and well-defined relationships.
By stretching your mind, you gain the advantage of exploring and understanding how we process a new idea and reframe our thought patterns.
This process will ultimately remove your limiting perspectives and keep past references to a minimum, thereby eliminating roadblocks to future thought and experience.