Can walking help to restore your own mind to ‘factory settings’?

I once wrote a book. To my great delight it was very successful running to two editions and being sold all over the world and in numerous languages.

The various iterations of my Teachers Pocketbook ‘Learning to Learn’

What always surprised me though were the positive messages I received.

One young man called Tomas from Slovakia wrote to tell me that he read the book everyday at the bus stop and many teachers told me that they kept a copy on them at all times to dip into when needed.

I too have a book that I use the same way. It’s called ‘Quiet the Mind’ written and illustrated by Matthew Johnstone, and I go to it on a regular basis.

It is basically a book on Meditation but it has a number of real positives for me. It is short, instructive, humorous and brilliantly illustrated.

My well thumbed copy of ‘Quiet the Mind’

It is the introduction that I love the most. It describes what it is that can make us so gloomy explaining the fact that the brain never stops working doing what it does; thinking, 24/7 – even when we are asleep.

He describes how a lot of this thinking is dominated by our ‘eternal internal dialogue’ which, if left unchecked can turn to the dark side which is often loudest at night time.

These dark side thoughts can be more persuasive and dominant than the positive supportive kind of thoughts and may become:

1) Obsessive

 2) Intrusive

3) Stuck

4) Repetitive

This is largely due to the fact that within our ‘mental library’ there is a huge section dedicated solely to:

  • Complaints
  • Woes
  • Fears
  • Regrets
  • Hurts

Just like a computer your memory starts to fill with junk making it hard to concentrate or recall basic information. This kind of thinking leads to stress, anxiety then depression and eventually burnout. So what is the solution? Here is my top 10 list…

1) Do some Yoga, meditate (or learn to)
2) Remind yourself to breathe and observe that process
3) Do something to help others, cook someone a meal and get out of yourself
4) Do some form of exercise, get out in nature, dig the garden, plant some flowers
5) Dance, sing, make or listen to music
6) Phone a friend or arrange to meet up, preferably with someone you find positive and uplifting
7) Buy a copy of ‘Quiet the Mind’ and read it
8) Look through your old photos and write a list of the things you can be grateful for
9) Hug someone (you know) or even hug yourself, pat a dog, stroke a cat, hug a tree
10) Write a list of five new goals that make you grin e.g. to climb a mountain, to visit a city, to go to a pub

The best bit of the book for me though is the very first section which tells us about our ‘natural state’. The author does this with the use of a brilliant analogy which suggests that ‘behind the doors of our mind lies a city’.

In that city he suggests are a number of things just for you, such as cinemas screening any film you want, art galleries that are always open for inspiration, libraries full of memories and future plans, parks where the mind can roam free and vast factories where dreams and creativity are made.

Then most crucially the reminder that this city is a place where love, warmth and joy can abound (and this is our natural state).

After reading that bit I tend to always register a big ‘Oh, yeah, I had forgotten about that’.  It’s a bit like reminding some adults that a child’s natural default is to be happy and to play.

So remember that these are your ‘factory settings’ and that being unhappy or depressed is an aberration from that and that the ‘reset button’ is out there and it’s largely free!

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