Choose Your Guests Wisely

General tips on metal health and thought patterns.

MENTAL HEALTH

Jota

5/17/20244 min read

Hello fellow readers, welcome to the blog. Today we'll discuss mental health and particularly our thought patterns. I like to use an analogy of our mind as a house and our thoughts as guests. You might be already seeing what I'm getting at. Some guests stay for a bit then leave, others come and go often, some are like "childhood friends" who we know since we knew ourselves, and who even have their own room. Now, independently of how long they stay, some of these "guests" bring gossip, some of them like to remind you of things you want to forget, some of them don't really like you at all or your family, some of them are friendly and encouraging, some warn you about potential dangers perhaps. Some bring food, others poison. Some fix windows and tables, others clog your sink and burn your bed.

Now, in the past, in my house there used to be an "open house" policy. I'd welcome any "guest" at any time, for how long that "guest" wanted to stay. Some would come at inconvenient times and overstay their welcome. Sometimes some of the "guests" would come and ruin my sofa, steal my car and computer, other times some would console me and remind me of happy times. Other times some would "empty" my fridge, other times some would bring me water and medicine.

As you can expect my house was not exactly in order. The state of my house depended entirely on the last "guest" I'd welcome in. No one can be expected to have a good house or call himself a good host if he welcomes everyone indiscriminately. It is exactly the same with our mind. Just like a homeowner, you have the power to decide who gets to enter, stay, or leave. This analogy isn't just a playful thought; it serves as a profound metaphor for understanding how our thoughts can shape our mental environment, affecting our emotional and psychological well-being. We cannot allow any thoughts to simply come and control our actions or how we think and feel about ourselves without any inspection and at any time. We will not have any consistency or control of our mood and character and it will be nearly impossible to achieve anything in our lives.

There must be filters in our mind as to what kind of thoughts are allowed to enter our mind and stay. For example, is what I'm thinking about true? Is it helpful to me, at this particular moment? Does it help me to complete my current task? Does it have a positive or negative effect on me? These are the sort of filters you must apply to your thought life. Proverbs 4:23 says:"Above all else, guard your heart(or mind), for everything you do flows from it."

Each room in this house represents a different aspect of our psyche—the kitchen might be where we cook up our ideas, the bedroom a place for our dreams, and the living room a space for everyday thoughts and activities. The doors to these rooms are our ability to focus and shift attention. Sometimes these doors are wide open, letting any thought enter, and other times they might be more guarded.

Many of our thoughts are habitual, entering our mental house on autopilot. Stress, anxiety, and negative thinking often don't even wait for an invitation—they just barge right in. However, we can stand at the door of our minds and decide if these are the guests we want lingering in the living room of our everyday thoughts.

How do we manage these guests? Here are a few strategies:

Awareness is the Keyholder: The first step in becoming a good gatekeeper of your mind is awareness. Meditation and mindfulness can help you recognize the nature of your thoughts. Are they constructive or destructive? Do they deserve your attention?

Setting Boundaries: Once aware, you can set boundaries. This might mean stopping a spiraling thought about past regrets or future worries. Visualize yourself closing a door on these thoughts gently but firmly.

Invite Positive "Guests": Actively invite more positive, constructive thoughts into your mind. This can be achieved through affirmations, focusing on gratitude, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and peace.

Regular Cleaning: Occasionally, it's good practice to do a mental cleanup. Reflect on the thoughts that have been occupying your mind, decide if they still serve you well or if it's time to let them go.

Repairs and Renovations: Sometimes, our mental house needs more than just cleaning—it might need some repairs or renovations. This could involve seeking therapy, re-evaluating our goals and values, or changing our life circumstances to foster a healthier mental environment.

Hosting a Gathering You'll Enjoy

Just as you would prepare your home for a pleasant gathering, prepare your mind for positive experiences. Cultivate a mental environment where thoughts uplift you and contribute to your well-being. Let your mental space be a place where you can retreat and rejuvenate, surrounded by thoughts that support and nurture you. Remember, you are the host of your mental house. The thoughts you invite in can either be guests that bring joy and peace or those that disrupt and dishearten. Choose wisely, for these guests determine the quality of your experiences and the outcome of your life. See you all soon!