By its very nature, our mood is highly volatile. And yet, brief
moments of negativity often end up going on for days, because of how we
deal with them. In fact, contrary to what we might think, as soon as we
feel a bit sad, anxious or irritable, trying to break free from this bad
mood or pushing ourselves to find out why it is happening, only makes
things worse; it is like being stuck in quicksand: the more you struggle
to climb out, the deeper you get pulled in. This happens to us because
our minds sift through our memories to find one that reflects our
current mood: for example when we are threatened, our brains will remind
us of other times we have been in danger, so that we can look for
similarities to find a solution. This is a survival mechanism, but
sometimes, a little sadness can trigger a cascade of unpleasant
memories, negative emotions and harsh judgements they provoke in us.
Mindfulness meditation, however, allows you to recognise harmful
thoughts as they arise, and to remember that they are not real and that
they do not define us. Observing negative thoughts the moment they
emerge, letting them sit for a while and simply watching them while they
evaporate before our eyes, can bring extraordinary results: the empty
space that they leave behind will be filled with happiness and peace.
Meditation helps to unlock a different way of relating to the world; it
removes the need for language, and therefore for analysis, because it
allows the heart, rather than the mind, to get to know – or to become
aware of - birdsong, the scent of flowers, and a loved one’s smile.