The problem is that our brains tend towards the negative as a means of self-defence. The amygdala, that part of our brain that perceives threat, sets us up for a fight or flight response. We either brace for a fight (physically or mentally) or we plan our exit strategy (our flight path).
What appears as a threat to one person may be perceived as a challenge or opportunity by another. We perceive the same event differently because of what is going on in our heads.
This tendency to fear the worst can happen in the midst of our everyday lives – a call to the office of the boss, an interview for a job, a future encounter with someone in authority or a potential discussion with our partner.
We might be expecting a phone call and begin to anticipate the worst, so we get ready with our arguments to defend ourselves. So often our worst fears are not realised and we have exhausted our energy being unnecessarily anxious. Some wise person once said something like this, “I have lived many experiences, and only a few of them really happened.”
As we grow in mindfulness, we learn to manage our thoughts and anxieties and to develop calmness and the associated peace that comes with a still mind.
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