Your Most Powerful Underutilized Tool: Your Mind
Here are some steps to help you use it in important ways.
Posted August 6, 2020 | Reviewed by Ekua Hagan
The mind is such a powerful tool, and while neurosurgeons have debunked the myth that humans use only about 10% of its capability, you know you could be doing more than you are doing. Your mind is often underutilized because you aren’t focusing it on the right things, aren’t feeding it correctly, and aren’t using it the way nature intended it to be used. What does this mean? The mind can help you:
1. Become calm and centered
2. Learn new things
3. Investigate and explore
4. Accomplish tasks and goals
5. Direct you to beneficial outcomes and activities
6. Engage and delight you
But for many people, the mind stays stuck. It ruminates over negative events. It focuses on what should have been, could have been and wasn’t. It is self-defeating and self-degrading. The mind and the self-talk it offers is, for many people, its own worst enemy. This tool belongs to each and every person and can be changed and leveraged in more positive and beneficial ways, but like any muscle, it takes practice and persistence.
Let’s look at each of the mind’s areas and consider steps you can take to strengthen this important muscle so it becomes a tool for good in your life:
- To calm and center your mind, start a practice of mindfulness. At several points throughout the day, stop what you are doing and simply focus on your body. Turn your attention to what you are feeling, physically and mentally. Be aware of the thoughts going through your mind. Let them flow out and just watch them leave. Don’t judge anything; just be in awareness. If you need to set a reminder, do so, but make this a practice at least four to five times throughout your day. As you do this more and more, it will become more natural. This allows your mind to become calmer and more focused.
- To feed your brain, you need good food and healthy eating habits. There are many foods that are linked to healthy brain power; learn more here. The other type of “feeding” is continuing to learn and investigate. If you read an article and you aren’t sure whether you agree or not, or believe it or not, use that opportunity to investigate. Go to different web sources and read about the background. Talk to friends who might be knowledgeable in the area. Go to the local library and research background and ideas. Keep your mind open and learn new things at least a couple of times a month, if not once a week.
- Use your mind as the homing pigeon it was intended to be. In other words, your mind will go in the direction to which you point it. If you stay focused on loss, or what you can’t do or what won’t happen, your mind will stay there with you. However, if you set a clearly defined goal, and point your mind there, your mind will help you travel where you want to go. Make your goals very clear and precise—quantitative and qualitative—so they are measurable and your mind knows exactly where you want to go.
- Do something each day that brings you joy and makes you happy. Find something that fills your soul—it could be watching a joyful show, seeing birds at a bird feeder outside your window, laughing with a friend, volunteering somewhere with animals, children or the elderly, calling someone whom you miss in your life, righting a wrong, donating a small amount of money to an important cause, or simply being mindful and aware of your blessings. Whatever it is, do it! Your mind will reward you by being at peace or happy even for a small amount of the day. Again, this can carry over and help you to orient toward peace and happiness more frequently.
You possess a great tool that can be used for your advantage. Choose to use it in important ways—starting today!