How to Protect Your Peace of Mind

Category: Health and Meditation | How to Meditate | Meditation and the Brain

Image of beautiful clouds over the ocean, symbolizing how to protect your peace of mind

The Meaning Of Protecting The Mind (6 Encouraging Ways)

We all know that junk food isn’t good for our bodies, but it’s less well known that the same is true for the mind. Just as the mind’s habitual pathways change beneficially when we meditate, the mind can change in unhelpful ways when we feed it with violence, negativity, ill-will, gossip or idle chatter.

To protect your brain health it’s well known you should keep the body healthy, well-fed, well-rested and hydrated. Protecting the mind is a slightly more nuanced matter. It includes maintaining our physiological health, but also our mental, emotional and spiritual health.

To guard your mind spiritually, it helps to know what a healthy mind feels like. For example, if we eat high-sugar foods all the time, it’s hard to gain perspective regarding its impact. Abstain from sugar for 30 days, however, and we’ll be much more aware of its effects if we choose to indulge again. Likewise, if our minds are surrounded by noise, chaos, or drama more often than not, we may not have a good awareness of the impact it is having. To protect our peace of mind, we first need to know what it feels like when the mind is at peace.

One way to experience peace of mind is during meditation. With continued practice, this feeling becomes more familiar. Keep going, and we become better able to take this peace of mind with us wherever we go, even into challenging, triggering situations.

But until we’ve developed this unshakable non-reactivity, it helps to be selective about what we put in front of the mind. If health is a priority and we’re trying to abstain from too much sugar, why spend all our time in the candy shop?

Ways To Protect Your Mind

Protecting the mind begins with being more aware of what it is consuming. This includes what we watch (movies, television or social media), what we read (novels, newspapers or social feeds), and also the type of actions we engage in (gossip, ill-will, negative self-talk). There’s no neutral activity for the mind. Everything we do brings us either closer or further from spiritual health.

The following are just some ways to protect the mind. As you read through the list, notice what arises, especially if you experience aversion, resistance or defensiveness. We may not yet be ready to renounce each one of our unhelpful behaviors. But try the following in baby steps and observe how you feel. You might be encouraged to go further.

Limit Stress
Protecting your brain from stress includes physical factors such as getting enough sleep. A healthy, well-rested mind is more capable of coping. Setting boundaries can help prevent stress, while a regular meditation practice can help prevent us from making stress worse by reacting inappropriately.

Limit Violence
Be selective when it comes to what you label as entertainment and what type of news you need to know. Consistent exposure to violence changes our brains and has a negative effect on the mind and its coping abilities. Limiting violence may include minimizing harsh or divisive speech.

Limit Negativity
To protect your mind from depression it helps to limit negativity, whether it originates with others, or comes from your own inner critic. Set boundaries in conversations and do your best to avoid complaining, worst-case-scenario thinking and negative self-talk.

Limit Ill-Will
Ill-will is the act of wishing bad upon others. We may think our enemies deserve the worst, but this type of thinking, speaking or acting is unhealthy for the mind. One prevalent form of ill-will is finding entertainment in the suffering of others, so be aware of what you think is funny.

Limit Zoning Out
Sometimes we confuse resting the mind with numbing out or escaping. True rest is restorative, while scrolling through social media, binge-watching television or gossiping with friends often leaves us feeling worse.

Nourishment for the Mind

Protecting the mind does not only mean eliminating the bad, but nourishing our mind with the good. Decluttering our physical space, putting the mind outdoors in nature, and embracing quiet and solitude can all be helpful practices.

In a healthy environment for self-care we’ll also find plenty of space for meditation practice. Ultimately, developing greater wisdom and compassion is the best tool we have for ensuring cognitive, emotional and spiritual health.

About the Author: Sara-Mai Conway

Sara-Mai Conway writes articles about Buddhist meditation based on her practice and experience
Sara-Mai Conway is a writer, yoga and meditation instructor living and working in Baja California Sur, Mexico. Her writing and teachings are informed by her personal practice and Buddhist studies. When not at her desk, she can be found teaching donation-based community classes in her tiny, off-grid hometown on the Pacific Coast. Learn more about Sara-Mai Conway here.

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