Liberate your mind

Liberate your mind

By learning how to liberate ourselves, we can live with meaning and purpose, along with our pain when there is pain. Steven C. Hayes

Today, if we look fifty years back, we can see testimonials of incredible advancement of humanity in many areas of life. We see the technology progression, upswing economy, media-rich alternatives and entertainment, speedy communications, and many more, however behavioral science is yet about to answer: are we living happier?

Is it hard to make the case?
Depending from what we basically consider the success, happiness or wellbeing. Despite the astounding progress the world has seen in the last decades, in terms of our personal wellbeing we aren`t sure if we are doing better. Relationships, marriages, family ties, have taken a new “modus operandi”, by adapting behavioral patterns that are consistent with existing circumstances.

As a result of our technology, we are all exposed to a constant regime of pressure, drama, and judgment. In addition, many of us are left feeling overwhelmed and threatened by the rapid pace of change. This all adds up in our confusion of the mind and thus it makes it very difficult to break away from the vicious circle. And of all the elements that strangle us up, fear and attachments are two very common ‘enemies’ from within. They make us repeat doing things that we do not want to do over and over again. This is all down as a result of our unconscious patterns that create limiting beliefs and keeps sabotaging ourselves, therefore it is our duty to free our mind from the elements that imprison it, as if we don’t deal with that mission we can end up sabotaging ourselves over and over again.

There is an old saying, which implies that the hardest prison to escape is that of the mind. The good news is that behavioral science has developed a plausible answer to how we can do better. Understanding how human mind works is fundamental to our freedom and prosperity. Our minds play tricks on us, but once we know how the tricks work, we can’t be fully fooled so easily.

In over one thousand studies, a team of psychologist led by the famous Steven C. Hayes, found that a set of skills help determine why some people thrive after life challenges and some don’t, or why some people experience many positive emotions (joy, gratitude, compassion, curiosity) and others very few. They predict who is going to develop a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or substance abuse, and how severe or long lasting the problem will be. These skills predict who will be effective at work, who will have healthy relationships, who will succeed in dieting or exercise, who will rise to the challenges of physical disease, how people will do in athletic competition, and how they will perform in many other areas of human endeavor.

This set of skills combines to give us psychological flexibility. Psychological flexibility is the ability to feel and think with openness, to attend voluntarily to your experience of the present moment, and to move your life in directions that are important to you, building habits that allow you to live life in accordance with your values and aspirations. It’s about learning not to turn away from what is painful, instead turning toward your suffering in order to live a life full of meaning and purpose. Wait, turning toward your suffering? That’s right. Psychological flexibility allows us to turn toward our discomfort and disquiet in a way that is open, curious, and kind (Stephen C. Hayes, 2019).

Scholars and researchers have long believed that the way we formulate and express our thoughts is fundamentally symbolic and is linked to human language. Symbolic meaning gives words and mental images a reality that is virtually the same as that of physical objects and events in the external world. The relationships we make between words and what they stand for allow us to conjure up the thing a word is related to even when it is entirely absent. For example: when hearing the word coffee, it produces an image of the drink so vividly in our imaginations that we can recall the taste and smell. We will probably even salivate a little when we hear the word. This is why our memories of experiences can be so potent, carrying strong feelings of fear or pain or sadness or joy, sometimes much as we felt on the day events occurred.

The studies show that changing our relationship to our thoughts and emotions, rather than trying to change their content, is the key to healing and realizing our true potential. In other words, accepting this and understanding how to behave in this internal struggle of our mind, we can learn how to move forward and focus into doing the things we need to do in order to grow. And in this way, we will slowly walk towards true liberty, that of the mind.


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