“The kingdom of heaven in not a place but a state of mind.” ~ John Burroughs
Have you ever noticed that the way you perceive the world is largely dependent on your inner state of mind? Can you remember how disturbing or even alienating everything around you can be if you are in a bad mood? And how effective was what you did last time when you felt really drained of your physical energy?
On the other hand there is this state where everything just seems to flow, when it seems that you couldn’t do anything wrong and what you do seems effortless. All of this describe one thing: your state. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how to have full control over your state of mind?
Being able to change your state of mind proactively means that you are in control. You are in control of how effectively you function and more importantly, how you feel, regardless of the events around you. Because any emotion you have is a response to something. And if you are able to choose your response more carefully your emotional state wouldn’t be at the mercy of what happens in your life, and well… life just gets easier that way.
What is Your State of Mind, Anyway?
Your inner state is the emotional and intellectual content of your mind at this moment. In other words, it is what is going on inside, whether it’s predominately emotions or thinking (which are interconnected anyway). I would even go a little further and say it’s your whole mental setup you have at any given moment.
How Can You Influence Your State of Mind?
1. Get Aware
In order to get more conscious control of what goes on in your mind you need to develop an awareness for those processes. What helps is to hold still for a moment, take a deep breath and free your mind of all the chatter that is going on inside. This makes room for a change of state, for something new to enter.
2. Change What You Focus On
From your awareness of your thoughts and emotions you become able to direct your focus consciously. Maybe take it willingly away from something that drags you down, and put it to something that inspires you.
If you notice a situation that is just not helpful, take your attention away from it and direct your focus new. Don’t look away. If there is something you should go for, do it. That’s not what I’m talking about. But usually we have to make a choice what we allow to enter our mind. It is our responsibility.
3. Use Your Physical Body
The way we use our physical body can influence our state big time. Just imagine you’re sitting there really hung over, shoulders hanging forward, shallow breathing. Maybe just do it right now to experience how it influences your state.
And then do the opposite: stand up straight and put a big grin on your face. Take some deep strong breath and get energetic tension in your body. This changes your state. I actually learned this one from Anthony Robbins, so I can’t take credit for it, and it’s hard to talk about state without mentioning him. Quote:
“Take this vehicle that our creator has given us and use it. Your body is the tool for changing state the fastest. Trying to do it with your mind takes forever.”
Break Your Current State
The key to change your state is obviously to interrupt your current state. Interrupting your negative state needs to pull you out of your stream of negative thoughts and emotions. What I personally like to do is change locations, for instance I move to a different room or go outside to take a break.
Getting into a Peak State
How can we get into a really powerful state? A simple answer is movement. So to get into a peak state we make use of all 3 factors:
1. Clear your mind by getting aware of your thoughts and emotions at this very moment.
2. Refocus your mind on something empowering. Maybe something that you enjoy, a past success or people you love. Or just what will take you forward at this moment. The right thing for you to do.
3. Use your physical body by moving fast, stand up straight and tall, shoulders back. Head slightly up, looking straight ahead. Feel the energy raising inside yourself. Take a deep and confident breath.
Notice how your state is changing. Use this whenever you want to change your state.