The city was humming in noise reminding me it's awake- and I couldn't even get out of bed.
I have been on a journey for self-discovery for a few years now, and bit by bit, training programs and courses later, many books later... I can tell you it is a never-ending journey.
Last year has probably been the year with the most growth for me. A true breakthrough, I might even say. And as you probably already sense...here comes a "but".
Yes, that came with a lot of losses, losing people, and losing my sense of self. Mid-year I have fallen into the dip of burnout. Initially, I didn't recognize it because I thought it was just a symptom of being in lockdown for months and just "tired of the whole world situation". It wasn't really the case as it was so much more intense.
Whilst there are many symptoms to describe burnouts, there was one that has overtaken most of all: my mind was NEVER resting, not even in my sleep. It was overloaded. And when you have hundreds of mental windows open, that creates an overwhelming amount of anxiety. I couldn't sleep because of anxiety. And when that happens month after month, it drains the last drop of life in you.
Here I was, feeling guilty I couldn't even get out of bed, with the city sounds humming at my window. I was resentful, constantly with headaches and feeling useless regardless of how much I did or didn't do on a given day.
I was lucky to be equipped with a healthy amount of knowledge around the mind and brain and, soon enough, I started reversing the process through conscious and subconscious work.
UNDERSTANDING MENTAL POLLUTION
One key teaching I pass to my clients, friends, and family is that "every thought creates an emotion and every emotion creates an action". The memories of our pasts and the memories of our days are loaded with emotions and feelings. The more thoughts you have- the more emotions- the more actions (and reactions in return) and the more you experience on a given day.
The anxiety I talked about above was the result of an overwhelming amount of thoughts, lists, courses, practice hours etc. My brain was overloaded with thoughts from very different fields, and as every thought creates an emotion, there I was mentally freezing in my bed more and more often.
Mental pollution is all the things we see, we taste, we listen to, we feel... It is whatever our mind keeps entertained with going back, forth, and sideways... It's whatever we focus on through our senses (whilst also hearing a song play in the back of our minds).
In the 21st century, the opportunities to being entertained, also known as stimulated, have dramatically increased. Instead of casually indulging in an article, a book, a course, a film, a video... we are constantly "gorging" on them. We are overstimulated!!! Our minds aren't only a space where only one pollutant gets thrown in. We have millions of visual pollutants, auditory pollutants, gustatory, olfactory pollutants.
As we evolve, instead of regulating the process of what we let into our minds- we instead increase the benchmark to our mental pollution tolerance at the exchange of our overall health.
When your head is buzzing is very hard to make sense of who you are. It puts the brain in a fight mode and it consumes you. It's very hard to stop your thoughts when the head plays like an orchestra and you are not the conductor but the spectator in the last row.
What you can do in periods of overwhelm is to take more control over what goes into your head.
HAVING A MENTAL DIET
If you go to a nutritionist- they will give you proper instructions on what is recommended and what it is not recommended to eat. It will focus on the nutrients and gut health, it will take into consideration your lifestyle, current situation, and goals.
I want you to think similarly about your mind. When you're trying to grow something in a garden don't just throw everything and anything in the soil expecting only one fruit or vegetable to grow. Because when you throw everything in these- you sort of get the same.
Think about where in life you are at the moment. What is your current mind and body situation, what are the symptoms that you would like to tackle, and what would help tackle them.
You need to have a clear understanding of what you are putting inside your mind at the moment. Be aware of what you dedicate time to, because the nature, quality, and quantity of those things are having a huge impact on your overall mind-being.
Now, figure out what makes you more irritated and stressed. Follow these emotions to realize what causes overall emotional distress. Give it another thought whether it's a combination of things or just one thing on its own.
Let's think a little further: think of all the news you read/watch or listen to, all the music you listen to (the genre and lyrics), the films and videos you watch, the type of books you read, the people you interact with, what you do or don't do for yourself. Which parts of these are overstimulating your brain?
Make your own mind diet by maybe not listening to as many podcasts during a day/week/month, cutting down on video consumption, stopping all notifications on your phone (as they are a very strong stimulant), setting news notifications only on what you're interested about.
As with diets, the process also entitles eliminating something and substituting something.
Eliminate what causes strong emotions such as anger, irritability, stress, resentment. Sometimes these can be specific things, sometimes these emotions will cut down as we start cutting down other things because they are connected.
Set some routines that keep you grounded. Our minds feel comfortable when we do familiar things. Do something pleasant and familiar that doesn't require a lot of mental capacity to do. Move your body, just walk...run even.
Is there something that you loved doing but stopped doing?
If you can still engage in that activity- DO IT! Do what makes you feel a little safer and surrounded by something familiar.
The formula is:
Become Self-Aware of your current situation - Stimuli Intensifying Your Symptoms/negative emotions + grounding practices + familiar comforting activities + physical movement= Clearing Out the Polluted Mind
I want you to work with your symptoms as they are INDICATORS. See them as a map to where the work on yourself needs to turn to. Look at the parts of you that are exhausted (and why they are exhausted), look at the angry, unfulfilled ones, hurt. These are not BAD sides by no means. These are part of your duality, something that we all have through our existence. Know that if you feel unwell, this is not your final destination and it is manageable.
YOU ARE THE GATEWAY TO YOUR SELF-HEALING AND WELLBEING.
Soon enough you will have some mental space to rewire yourself. You will have some white space within your head where the noise can't step in. You will feel the muscles relaxing and decompressing all the tension that was there as a result of a clouded mind. You will soon have better sleep, better food, and better relationships.
Our realities start in our minds. Dear reader, please take care of your mind!