Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “People are not prisoners of fate, but only of their own mind.” This sounds very recognizable, especially if your thoughts keep spinning and you would like to experience peace in your head.
We’re going to look at the theories of Spanish psychologist Maite Finch to explain why this happens. The thing is, when you’re stressed or anxious, your brain’s neurochemistry changes .
When needed, your amygdala sends the right messages to the emotional system of your mind. But what happens if your stress or anxiety comes on when it’s not really necessary?
Sometimes your interpretation of reality and how you experience it can activate similar neurochemical patterns. It is often these thought patterns that put you in a constant state of distress and fear.
The reasons why you don’t experience peace in your head
Maite Finch says there are some specific reasons why you don’t experience peace of mind. Let’s take a look at exactly what these are so you can tackle them.
Avoid polarized (black and white) thinking
One minute things seem great, beautiful and spectacular. The next moment everything seems terrible, dark and extremely negative. That’s the basic concept behind black-and-white thinking. It means thinking in extremes, with no middle ground, with no shades of gray in between.
According to Finch, you only have two thinking patterns when you think in black and white. Everything is either very good or very bad. In other words, if something goes the way you want it to, everything is great! However, if this does not happen, everything is terrible and you hear a negative voice in the back of your mind that will not leave you alone.
Here’s another possible reason why you’re not experiencing peace of mind. What emotional reasoning means is that you don’t make decisions based on logic or intuition, but based on how you feel.
In other words, emotions, flowing unattended and uncontrolled, play the largest part in your perception of the world. If you feel bad, your judgment of the people and things around you is negative. And because your attitude and behavior is like that, those same people and things will usually confirm your judgment. This dynamic is like a self-fulfilling prophecy, an endless circle that feeds itself.
Finch says you start having tunnel vision when your thinking patterns are dictated by the most difficult experiences you’ve had in life. You associate your relationships and everything that happens to you with a specific moment. Usually this is a moment when you have suffered extremely.
What this means is that your mind is constantly on the alert. In your head you constantly anticipate negative people and situations. Most of your thoughts will be focused on protecting you from potential threats. Every ounce of your attention will focus on detecting danger, discomfort or stressful situations.
In short, your mind is constantly looking for bad situations or circumstances. This affects your perception of the world, your thoughts, and any attitude that doesn’t match what you consider safe.
Overly optimistic thoughts
Optimism can work against you if you use it to hide your problems. It can also be a bad thing if it keeps you from acting rationally, or if your optimism translates into sitting around waiting for happiness to come to you.
False or exaggerated optimism can make you think that everything will be fine, even if it isn’t. It makes you think that you have no plan B needed. It can even keep you from adapting to the circumstances when things don’t go the way you hoped.
The last reason Finch gives you for not experiencing peace of mind is that you are constantly personalizing things. What that means is that if something bad happens to you, you make it your fault. In this way you will be in a constant state of fear. The sad truth is that bad things happen all over the world.
However, according to Finch, you have to remember that not everything rests on your shoulders. You have to share the responsibility for things. Besides, if you let yourself pay for everyone else’s mistakes, you will face huge anxiety problems in the future.