This is a really interesting notion to consider. What is the climate of your mind?
While we all have our seasonal changes, it might be helpful to find a climate metaphor to describe your mind. I will offer some environments for you to consider:
- The Unforgiving Desert – This mind is in a constant state of consciousness always thinking, quick to come up with the worse case scenario. Events are often run through negative filters. Criticism is difficult to accept. This mind can’t really stop to rest because the sand storms of thoughts keep blowing, and there is no refuge.
- The Bermuda Triangle – While this isn’t really a climate, I liken it to those who are often lost in thought, not really living anywhere. They are not grounded in reality. They live in a kind of alternate reality. While they might be able to go through the motions of doing life, they are never really present. They are always elsewhere in thought. They often have their head in the clouds.
- The Sunny Caribbean – This mind consistently has a positive outlook, always seeing the good in people and situations. They tend to be very attractive to others energetically and love life. The glass is half full.
- The Arctic Tundra – Like many animals in the tundra, these people tend to be loners. They do not seek out connection. They believe the world to be a harsh and cold place. They tend to be vigilant, constantly looking for danger on the horizon. Trust is a problem.
- The Tropical Rain Forest – Think annoying bugs, heat, and humidity. These minds are generally uncomfortable. Given their mind has no air conditioning, their sensory overwhelm leaves them easily annoyed by almost anything, set off easily by small things. Because they are already overwhelmed in their own mind, anything that occurs around them can be too much.
- The Unpredictable Jungle – This mind is an anxious mind. A jungle can be a dangerous place full of dangerous animals. This mind fears the future always trying to prepare for a jaguar to cross its path. There is little time for fun or relaxation because, well, this mind really believes they are living in a constant state of threat.
Maybe you can relate to one of these climates, or you have thought of your own unique climate or blend of climates. Sometimes you are the sunny Caribbean and then you have your moments in the unpredictable jungle. If you can identify your mind’s baseline, you might want to consider if this climate suits you. Believe it or not, easier than in real life, if you don’t like the climate of your mind, you can change it without up and moving across the globe. We must add the caveat that if you are dealing with a neurosis or psychosis, you might not be at choice to make the type of changes we are discussing without the appropriate psychiatric care. However, once the disorder is under the appropriate control, these strategies can certainly be employed.
It is powerful to recognize your baseline state. Most of us walk through life not even considering our natural tendencies and personality. Take a step out of your body and look at yourself objectively (or if you are really bold, ask your spouse or parent). Are you happy with what you see? Is the climate of your mind making your life more difficult? If so, it might be time to make some decisions about putting some effort into modifying your environment.
Using myself as an example, I might want to consider if being in a constant state of hypervigilance really serves me. While I might not be able to control that fact that my brain is always conscious and active, I might be able to nudge it towards focusing more on the positive than fearing the unknown future or worst case scenario. I can calm the stand storms in my desert by focusing on gratitude for what I do have no matter how trivial. I can practice forgiveness. I can pull the energy from my brain and feel it in my heart. When my heart is energized, compassion and joy are much easier to find. My mind does not have to be a desert filled with never ending sandstorms of thought.
This takes daily effort. Make a habit to check in with your internal weather man. If you feel a hurricane building then take the time to calm yourself. If you feel lost in the Bermuda Triangle, ground yourself. Take a walk in nature or meditate. With consistent effort over a long period of time you can shift your baseline state which can result in radical, life altering effects. I do yoga to calm my overly active mind. I practice forgiveness to ease the harsh thoughts. The Emotions Workout mentioned in the previous blog is also an excellent way to alter your internal state.
Those who walk through life unaware of their impacts due to their internal unrest are typically frustrated, unhappy people. Many of us have crossed paths with these people, maybe have been these people at times. Do not judge them, but use them as a mirror to remind yourself of what internal strife looks like to the rest of the world. Having this type of self-awareness allows you to choose how you want to be in the world.