GATEWAY TO HAPPINESS
5. Try to have topics ready about what to think. Make a conscious decision, “Now I will think about this and now I will think about that.” (Rabbi Reuven Dov Dessler; Tnuas Hamussar, vol. 5, p.179)
6. When a number of thoughts about entirely different matters enter your mind, make an order. Decide what matters you will think about first. Only when you have finished the first matter, go on to the second matter, and when you finish thinking about that, go on to the third. This will train you to think in an orderly fashion and will prevent confusion. (ibid.)
7. Regardless of how you have viewed events in the past, you have the ability to learn to view things with a calm and peaceful attitude. Instead of looking at events and situations as overwhelming, you can look at them as interesting and challenging experiences. Give up your demands of how you would have liked anything to be and deal with what actually is.
8. The opposite of peace of mind is feelings of anxiety. It is a very uncomfortable feeling and in modern times more and more people try to drown it out with the use of tranquilizers and other medications. While in extreme situations this might be understandable, it is unnecessary and potentially harmful as a routine practice.
Our bodily reaction of anxiety is for our benefit. It serves as a warning of an impending danger and serves as a cue to keep away from harm. Anxiety is counterproductive if we feel it when there is not a real threat to our well-being. The first thing to do when you feel unnecessary anxiety is to accept it. The more you mentally fight anxiety, the worse you will feel. You can tell yourself, “Feeling anxiety is not very pleasant, but it is tolerable if I will decide to tolerate it.” When you accept your anxiety, it will usually become milder.
The next step is to try to figure out what worrisome thoughts you are telling yourself. You will find that you are usually telling yourself that some situation or the consequences of some action is very negative. If it really is, try to do something to solve it. If it is not really so awful (and usually it is not) or you cannot do anything to change the situation, then accept it. When you mentally accept the consequences of a situation, you will feel much calmer.
PEACE OF MIND