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Be Still: 12 Intuitive Signs of a Low State of Mind

Be Still: 12 Intuitive Signs of a Low State of Mind

    (Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Garret Kramer, author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life. Garret is the founder and managing partner of Inner Sports, LLC. His revolutionary approach to performance has transformed the careers of professionals athletes and coaches, Olympians, and collegiate players across a multitude of sports. Kramer’s work has been featured on WFAN, ESPN, Fox, and CTV, as well as in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other national publications. For more information on the author visit http://www.garretkramer.com, and you can follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.)

    Awareness. That’s the subject of many of the questions I’ve received lately. Readers are wondering about the signs of a low level of awareness, consciousness, or state of mind. As one reader recently asked, “If I’m not seeing life clearly and prone to making poor choices from a low mind-set, then how do I know when I’m low and, therefore, stillpower is the best option?”

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    Good question. Here are twelve intuitive signs that you’re making decisions, changes, or corrections from a low state of mind and it’s time to ease off the gas and let the mind settle.

    1. You notice your thinking.

    Productive states of mind are the result of fluent or undetectable thinking. Contentment, consistency, and excellence spawn from intuition or insight — never the intellect.

    2. You feel bound up, anxious, or angry.

    Feeling out of options, lacking confidence, and volatility are clear-cut signals that your viewpoint is temporarily blurred. Insecurity is a normal byproduct of the fact that you think (and thus, at times, will overthink) — it is not related to the events of your life.

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    3. You are judgmental of others.

    Judgment is the effect of a low state of mind; it has nothing to do with other people or their actions. From a high state of mind, you will have compassion and understanding for the same person whom you judge or disrespect from a low state of mind.

    4. You are blaming your circumstances for the way you feel.

    Whether you grasp it or not, all people discern the world from the inside out, not the outside in. The way you feel about your circumstances (past and present) is solely determined by the quality of your thinking — which is always changing. That’s why you’ll perceive the exact same circumstance differently from moment to moment.

    5. You keep looking outside of yourself for answers.

    If you are on a constant quest for fulfillment; jumping from relationship to relationship, team to team, school to school, city to city, guru to guru, self-help technique to . . . you get the idea, then you’re only preventing your mind-set from ascending on its own. Remember, if allowed to sit still, a glass of murky water always becomes clear.

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    6. You try to think positively.

    Negativity is a fundamental and necessary part of the human experience. Those who understand the arbitrary and meaningless nature of thought would never try to change or fix their thinking. If you combat wayward thoughts by trying to override them with positive ones, you will only energize and prolong the negativity.

    7. You are focusing on the illness and not your health.

    Waging a continuous battle to overcome your perceived deficits is like fighting a paper tiger. From a high state of mind, we recognize our innate health and empower it; from a low state, we detect illness, and, if we buy in, it becomes the standard.

    8. You take things personally.

    When in a low mind-set, we take things to heart; we’re sensitive and defensive. When in a high mind-set, outsiders can’t touch us. It’s okay to feel vulnerable; it will happen as you experience normal fluctuations of consciousness. But don’t forget, your feelings are a barometer of the quality of your thinking, not a barometer of the quality of your life.

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    9. You are intimidated or afraid.

    Fear is an intuitive signal. When fear is real, we instinctually respond in the moment — with no thought or tension. If you’re thinking about another person or situation and are intimidated, then what you’re thinking is a self-created illusion born from your momentarily low psychological perspective.

    10. You can’t find your passion.

    Passion is 100 percent an inside job. We are passionate when our consciousness is elevated; we are passionless when it’s deflated. So, when you lack drive or enthusiasm, don’t look for the explanation in your career or your life. Consider it this way: Young children are passionate and wondrous about everything. Why? Peace of mind and consciousness are their norm.

    11. You believe that you’ll feel better when…

    External events or milestones have no ability to regulate your level of satisfaction or joy. Your state of mind creates your experience; your experience (fortune, fame, health, or lack thereof) has zero effect on your state of mind.

    12. You are practicing awareness.

    Often, this final sign is misunderstood. If you practice awareness, you turn a built-in process into a forced strategy or technique. Thus, your thinking revs up, intuition is stifled, and your perceptual field (options, opportunities, hope) narrows. Understanding that there is a direct connection between your state of mind and your perceptions is the only key to productive decisions.

    (Photo credit: Woman Practicing Meditation via Shutterstock)

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      Last Updated on December 9, 2019

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

      Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

      Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

      Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

      1. Get Rationally Optimistic

      Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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      This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

      In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

      The result: no more mental stress.

      2. Unplug

      Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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      How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

      It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

      Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

      3. Easy on the Caffeine

      Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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      Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

      4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

      That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

      How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

      • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
      • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
      • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

      While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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      5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

      This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

      The result: mental stress will be gone!

      So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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      Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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