The older I get (and yes, I realise that nearly-36 is not that old, but still!) the more I realise that most of my unhappiness is in my mind. I'd wager that about 98% of all my woes are mind-created, but who can really say for sure? And who cares? The fact is that if I didn't have my heavy "mind-stuff" I would be waaaaay more happy. Freer.
How do I know this? Well, I've done many little self-experiments where I catch myself in the midst of a miserable mind-stream (you know, where you are thinking of all the things you have to do, how little time you have, if only you were rich, if only you didn't have to work, why can't your child just be quiet for one second to let you think? Etc etc until you are so stressed out!) and I tell myself to just stop.
Stop all those thoughts. It's not easy. My mind LOVES to carry on and on, (not dissimilar to my four year old who chatters incessantly all day long, bless him) but I am able to stop it for brief periods. So I will catch myself in a negative thought-spiral, halt it, and instantly I find my shoulders relax. My neck un-knots. I look around. I check out the birds or the scenery if I am driving (and usually my negative, stressed out thinking comes when I am driving, for some reason) or I take a deep breath in and listen truly to my child. And that is where I teach myself that in the exact same situation, I can either be stressed Eric or I can be chilled Louise. Nothing in my life situation has changed, only my mind. Or rather, I changed from mind to lack of mind. Even if it is just for a few seconds. I give myself that mental space to unhook from my so-called problems (money, or more often, lack thereof, is my child really ok, am I being a good enough mother, are we eating alright, is enough work coming in? what if not enough work comes in? etc ad nauseam!!!) because thinking about them doesn't solve them. It only makes my present moment crap. And it makes me a shitty mother because then I end up shouting at my poor child who only wants to ask me yet another "why" question, which is natural at his age.
But when I shut my mind up, and try to stop thinking, everything feels better. And I actually operate better.
I hope I can teach my son this valuable little lesson. But maybe he won't need it. He may be different to me. And as he would ask me "But Mommy, why do we have our minds? Why do we need them?"