I’m sure many of you saw that it was World Mental Health Awareness Day this week, and I wanted to share some thoughts that came up for me that day. Three different things happened, and it got me reflecting on how being in the flow could help with them all…grab a coffee, I’m heading into a ‘nudge’ conversation!

It’s all in a nudge…

It all started with receiving an email from an old family friend asking me if my ‘nudges’ were linked in any way to the work of the behavioural economist, Richard Thaler, who has just been awarded the 2017 Nobel prize in economic sciences. My friend’s timing was spooky as I had just seen that news in the Economist the previous night, which had made me think about way back when I started nudgeme in 2008.

I replied saying that ‘no’ my nudges are not connected. I set up nudgeme just before Thaler’s Nudge book came out the same year, and explained I’d had friends/colleagues at the time asking me a similar thing.

nudgeme for mental wellbeing…

Interestingly, I’d been planning to send out another nudge, and had been pondering all morning the link between it being World Mental Health Awareness Day, and the potential for linking my nudging around thoughts and mental wellbeing to the behavioural economics that Thaler’s pioneered.

That same day, the news then reported on low productivity levels, and the impact that has as a key driver on economic growth and the health of our economy! You see where I’m going with this…? I can immediately see the link between my work and the bigger economic picture, not least in the world of work and impact of workplace stress on productivity!!

Pointing people in a different direction…

Thing is, I’d also just been reading the news articles on Mental Health day, and so found myself sharing the following in my reply to my friend. Much as I’m all for raising greater awareness of mental health, and am very pro the “let’s get talking more” stance being championed by the Royals, for instance, I feel that this is still being innocently approached from an ‘outside in’ misunderstanding.

As you’ll know from my nudges, I’m all about pointing people in a different direction – ie, more to where an understanding of where our experience comes from in the first place, and the nature of thought. When I say ‘outside in’ misunderstanding, I mean the common belief that our experience comes from things that happen to us/outside us, rather than the simple fact that we’re all only ever experiencing the feeling of our own thinking in the moment and then innocently making up meanings about that.

It’s all in the flow…

As you might recall from my nudge about being in the flow, I see things very differently. That is, when we’re coming from that ‘flow’ feeling, when we have less on our mind, we’re tapping into our own innate wisdom, intelligence, knowing energy, creativity (call it what you will) that’s available to us at all times inside us. And that when people see that, it becomes much easier to quieten down their own ‘personal thinking’.

So, what am I saying? Let’s say, you cut your finger, you don’t spend all your time checking that it’s healed, you just know that it eventually will. You don’t spend hours worrying about the ‘how’ or mechanics behind that, you just see later that the cut has gone away.

Innate potential for wellbeing…

These days, my understanding is that our mind has the same innate capacity.

That thoughts are in fact more ‘neutral’ than they can seem, and, much like a cut finger, or even, say, the weather, thoughts come and go, and come and go. Fresh thought is always coming through in the moment, regardless of anything else going on around us. And it’s the simply knowing that, which leads to greater sense of wellbeing. Thus, to get caught up in the content of our thoughts, and then worry about finding ways or strategies to deal with them, entirely misses that point!

Personal thinking versus impersonal mind…

Interestingly, my friend responded saying that she really liked my reference to ‘the brain mending’, as she put it, which offers another interesting perspective! I guess the direction I’m pointing people towards has less to do with the brain (personal thinking as I refer to it), and more to the mind where’s there’s a never ending supply of fresh thought, which, I see, as our natural nature, innate wisdom, simply part of the system, and always working for everyone, regardless of their own personal thoughts. Put another way, it’s a bit like our individual brain is the personal computer, the mind would be the like plugging into the internet!!

Going with the flow evening…

I’m in the process of inviting a few people who are keen to live more ‘in the flow’ to an informal evening event I’m currently arranging. We’re getting together to have a conversation on ways to do that, and will be delving deeper into this ‘understanding’ then. So, if you have a tendency to over think, or would like to experience more peace of mind, do get in touch.

Meanwhile, I’d be fascinated to hear what comes up for you as you’ve been reading this nudge. My hope is that some of it resonates, and/or begins to percolate, even if it makes no sense at all in the moment! Try it out for yourself. Next time you’re getting caught up in your thoughts, try letting them go for a while, and see what fresh thinking comes through when you have less on your mind. For someone who has tended to live a lot in their thoughts, I can tell you, life gets so much better when I view them this way!

 

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