Matter Over Mind: An Unconventional Approach To Being Happy

Feature image: Brian Kyed via Unsplash

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret here: your mind is not an all-seeing god. It can produce misinformation quicker than a QAnon quack — and, if you’re not observant enough, you’ll believe it. So, sometimes you need to look at the matter before you make up your mind.

As a writer, one of the greatest pieces of misinformation I deal with is not being good enough. At times I stupidly believed it, only taking in the immediate issues. A blog post fails to get one view or a reader voices their disgust. Or, worst of all, I get writer’s block and cannot conjure up any single idea. And then my mind ruminates and comes to the conclusion (without my consent) that I’m a failure and I should do something else.

But I’ve forgotten so much of my past successes. The articles that went gangbusters, the readers who professed their love for my work and my ever-growing followers. All the good things that prove my worth as a writer.

Because the best way to overcome negative thoughts is by thinking about what really matters.

You could wallow in self-pity, thinking about the awful things you’ve done — thinking that mind over matter would work. But mind over matter only works in situations where winning requires an empty mind. Forget about the pain and strive to gain.

There’s no point forgetting the pain if there’s nothing to gain — other than an empty mind. In all seriousness, it’s nearly impossible to tell your mind to stop thinking. So, rather than work against your mind, throw it a bone instead. Substitute your negative thoughts with something completely different. Go for a walk, listen to music, smell flowers or pig out on choc chip ice cream while bingeing Netflix. Focus on what really matters by focusing on actual matter.

Of course, sometimes misinformation is so strong that it cannot be ignored. You need to challenge it. You could find the truth like I did when my mind kept calling me a failed writer. Or you could flip it on its head and look at it in a new perspective. Does it really matter if you don’t have many friends? Does it really matter if you put on a few kilos? More often than not, it doesn’t matter.

So, stick to matter over mind whenever your feeling down to bring yourself back to reality.

Originally published at on February 10, 2021.

Just your friendly gay man setting the record straight.

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