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Why Do We Struggle With Our Minds So Much?

Melli O'Brien






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Why Do We Struggle With Our Minds So Much?

The way our minds evolved means that we naturally experience psychological suffering, but there is a way to train and transform it.

One of the things I get

asked very often is, why do I

struggle with my mind so much?

And I, you know, I often hear people say

to me, yeah, look, other people could

be mentally strong, but you don't know

what it's like in my mind, you know.

I know it can feel that way, like

you're the only one who has a mind

that's kind of, you know, really crazy

or tumultuous, but the reality is, is

that what your crazy mind is doing,

all of our crazy minds are doing.

Let me explain a little bit about

the human mind and why we do all

struggle with our minds so much.

So the human mind has evolved to

operate in such a way that it naturally

creates psychological suffering.

That's the bad news.

You see humans have been

evolving for about 200,000 years.

And, you know, for most of that time,

our ancestors lived as hunter-gatherers

or, you know, what we sometimes

refer to as cave men and women.

And their lives were very difficult

and dangerous, very different

to the lives we live today.

So in order to survive, really

their minds had to be constantly

on the lookout for potential

threats, for problems, for dangers.

If they were not constantly hypervigilant,

constantly on the lookout for

danger, they didn't survive long.

So the default setting of the human mind

is survival and safety above all else.

That's the way the mind is programmed.

So we in the modern world, even

though we live a very, very different

life to our ancestors, we still

have inherited this mind from them.

You know, 200,000 years of human

evolution, it's only been a tiny slice

of that time, a couple of thousand

years at best, that life has been

anywhere near what it's like today.

So even though we do live in a very

different world to the caveman,

our minds really still operate

like cave men and women minds.

So the modern mind is still trying to

warn us constantly about things that

could go wrong, threats problems, dangers.

In the caveman days, the mind might've

been saying, Hey, look out that

shadow over there could be a tiger.

Or, be careful there could be a rival

clan coming soon so sharpen your weapons.

Today, our mind still operates like that.

It still fixates on problems.

It worries, but instead of being

worried about rival clans or

tigers, we worry about other things.

We worry about our relationship,

our work, our finances, our health.

The mind says, Hey, what

if you lose your job?

Or, Hey, what if he or she leaves me?

So this pattern in the mind creates a

lot of anxiety, a lot of negativity.

This is what keeps us up

having these restless nights.

And it's also a mind pattern

that can really hold us back

from being our best selves.

Now in the caveman days,

humans only survived in tribes.

We just didn't survive alone.

So our survival really depended on

fitting into the group and having the

approval of other people in the tribe.

So because of this, the mind is

wired to constantly compare you to

other people in the tribe and assess.

Am I fitting in?

Am I contributing enough?

Am I following the rules?

Am I doing anything that

could get me rejected?

Because rejection is going to mean death.

Does this sound familiar?

Any of this sound like

how your mind works?

Now, even though we don't live

in tribes anymore, our mind

is still doing the same thing.

And now we've got a huge challenge

because the media and the internet

are now a part of our lives.

And that gives us this opportunity to

constantly scroll through all these

glossy and polished and airbrushed images

of people who look happier than us,

sexier than us, more successful, more

wealthy, more attractive, having more fun.

And the mind will compare

ourselves to all of those images.

And that ramps up the fear

circuitry in the mind.

So we start to feel more and more

like we're just not good enough.

We're not measuring up.

And the mind starts to

anticipate rejection.

This is probably one of the reasons

for huge surge in depression around

the world over the last decades.

So this creates a lot

of suffering, you know.

And another challenge with the mind,

the way our minds work is that in the

caveman days, resources were very, very

scarce and life was very, very hard.

So the mind would constantly

fixate on getting more resources

and improving life circumstances.

So the mind would say, you need more

food, you need more water, you need

better clothing, you need better shelter.

So unfortunately these days, this tendency

of the mind manifests as a constant

sense of dissatisfaction and craving.

No matter what we ever get, the mind

just keeps telling us it's not enough.

We want more, more, more.

And consumerism is having a seriously

detrimental effect on the planet that

is not really making us any happier.

Now, as if all this wasn't challenging

enough, these out-of-date patterns

in the mind are greatly ramped

up by the demanding busy and

complex nature of modern life.

So when your mind is doing all of

this unhelpful stuff, when it's

playing out these patterns, here's

a really important thing to know.

You are not alone.

This is just what the human mind does.

There's nothing wrong with you.

It's not your fault.

You just have a normal human mind.

And it's precisely because the mind is

wired this way, that it's so important to

train and transform your mind so that you

can unwind the stress, the negativity, the

anxiety, the unworthiness that can hold

you back from unlocking your potential.

So through these mindfulness

based practices in this

course, you can really do that.

You can unlock your potential and

become more of your best self, and of

course, enjoy your life more fully.

Included in

Q&A on Mental Strength null Playlist · 4 tracks

Q&A on Mental Strength

Playlist · 4 tracks4.9

More by this teacher

What Does It Actually Mean to Be Mentally Strong?Talk by Melli O'Brien
Melli O'Brien
Melli O'Brien

What Does It Actually Mean to Be Mentally Strong?

Talk · 3 mins4.6

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