Last updated October, 2018.
note: we link to our free guide to mindfulness and meditation at the bottom of the page (no email required).
What if you had someone following you around all day, chattering non-stop in your ear about everything that happens (or has happened, or could happen)?
When you are talking to others, this person is judging and commenting on the conversation. This person is telling you what you should say, or how you should react to what other people say. And, at times, this person is distracting you by talking about something completely unrelated to the conversation you are having.
When you are at the store or the coffee shop, this person is yammering on about everyone and everything around you (usually labeling and criticizing).
They offer a constant narrative on everything in your experience - people, places, things. And, if you are alone, they remind you of what you did (or didn't) do in the past. Or, they stress you out about things that may (or may not) happen in the future.
If you're working or studying, they talk to you about stuff not related to work or school. They fill your head with things that pull you away from the task at hand, limiting your productivity and focus.
If you're relaxing, they talk to you about work or school. They get you worried and anxious, which defeats the purpose of trying to relax in the first place!
Answer this: What would you think about this person that followed you around all day long and did these things? Would you be annoyed? Angry?
And, answer this:
How long would you let it continue before you took steps to change the situation?
Most of us wouldn't go long before saying "enough is enough!" Some of us wouldn't go more than a minute or two.
Being at the mercy of someone so pervasive, so intrusive, and so compulsive - someone who never stopped talking - would have dire consequences on our overall health and well-being.
The bad news is, this is our normal relationship with our minds.
We all have this voice in our heads. It's so common and omnipresent, many of us don't realize it's there anymore. We just automatically listen to it, and let it influence (and, oftentimes, dictate) our decisions, actions, and state of being. We live life on autopilot, being pushed and pulled around by our minds.
Being lost in this mental noise creates conditioned behavior that leads to the struggles we all face: from stress and anxiety to endless worry, low self-confidence, sleep problems...the list goes on and on.
What can you do about it?
Strengthen awareness of that voice in your head. And, stay aware of it as you go through your day, living your life.
What is it saying while you are working? Talking to others? Watching television? Playing with your dog? Walking around the block? Cooking dinner?
When you strengthen awareness, you cultivate mindfulness. When you apply that mindfulness, you develop the skill of not getting caught up in thoughts, emotions, urges, and stories. Instead, you learn to let it all be as it is, independent from you and your attention.
This is the essence of mindfulness and meditation. A consistent practice - and, consistent application of the skills you develop in that practice - helps bring an end to much of your daily suffering.
It's like telling that person following you around all day, chattering non-stop in your ear, to leave you alone.
Stop dealing with the symptoms.
Stress, anxiety, self-confidence issues, the inability to stop bad habits, problems with sleep and focus, and on and on and on.
These and the other things we struggle with every day are only symptoms.
The good news is, they all share the same root cause. The bad news is, if you don't address that root cause, the symptoms will keep coming back no matter what you do.
That's why we wrote "An owner's guide to the mind." For almost 20 years, people have been using it to address the root cause of their daily struggles.
Click here to view the contents and learn more.